Thomas Tuchel waits on major Premier League decision as Chelsea title charge threatens to derail



Chelsea have lost just one of their last eight games – the wild 3-2 reverse to West Ham – but four draws have seen them fall six points behind relentless leaders Manchester City at the summit of the table.

Heading into that West Ham matchup in Stratford, the Blues were top of the Premier League. Now, they are only four points ahead of Arsenal, who have made their way into the top four with three wins on the bounce.

Thomas Tuchel’s side are in a bit of a funk and the wheels are in danger of coming off and their title bid derailed as City romped to an eighth straight win on Sunday, defeating Newcastle.

Tuchel and Chelsea wanted their game with Wolves, which ended in an entirely predictable 0-0 draw, on Sunday postponed as the Blues arrived with just 14 outfield players able to take part.

Covid has swept through Cobham and decimated Chelsea’s squad. Kai Havertz and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were the latest players to test positive, with an inconclusive result for Jorginho meaning he was also kept away from the squad.

One of those who did play, N’Golo Kante, shouldn’t have played 90 minutes on his return from injury but had to to help his depleted team out. Mateo Kovacic, off the back of one training session according to Tuchel, played 25 minutes of the second half.

Trevoh Chalobah and Hakim Ziyech both had to be replaced through injury at Wolves and Andreas Christensen was already ruled out with a back problem.

It was no surprise that Chelsea wanted the game off, but the Premier League denied the request on Sunday morning, effectively saying the visitors to Molineux had enough players to fulfil the fixture so the show must go on.

On Monday lunchtime, the Premier League and its 20 clubs will meet to discuss a potential halt to the season as Omicron rips through the UK and through football as well. Six matches fell this past weekend alone with clubs unable to fulfil their games.

One of the arguments set to be discussed is moving the games between Boxing Day and the New Year back to give players some time to recover. Also, there will be some hope that the current Covid situations will have eased somewhat to prevent too many further postponements.

That would see Chelsea’s home game against Brighton on December 29 moved to give the players a much-needed break. The Blues have played six games already this month and have three more to go, if the schedule remains as is.

The positives of a stoppage for Chelsea? It will give some overworked players a much-needed break, even if it only for a couple of days but that is better than nothing.

It could also give the Blues a little time to regroup after a poor run of form which has seen them win three of the last eight matches. Tuchel can get back to the drawing board somewhat to try and figure out where it is going wrong at the moment for his players?

The negatives? It would mean another fixture being moved later to the schedule and with the Club World Cup just a couple of months away, and Chelsea still in five competitions this season, a possible pile-up could be on the cards especially if more games fall victim to Covid.

A longer break would be of benefit to get cases under control in the Premier League, a week stoppage may not make much difference considering how rampant the Omicron variant is spreading.

Essentially, Chelsea find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. They needed Sunday’s game called off but were denied. They have a Carabao Cup game at Brentford on Wednesday they can’t rotate the squad for because of players stuck in isolation.

Four days later is the traditional Boxing Day fixture at Aston Villa, which is seen as such a huge part of the season so stripping a midweek set of fixtures after it seems a better proposal on paper.

The Blues need to get back on the wagon and into some form before City and Liverpool stretch away in the title race – but Chelsea don’t have many players available to try and catch up.





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