Almost two months into his tenure, Thomas Tuchel has yet to lose a game. Chelsea have won nine and drawn four in all competitions under the 47-year-old pseudo-interim appointment. We’ve managed to climb back into the top four in the league, have advanced to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, and, after last night, into the quarterfinals of the Champions League as well, and that for the first time since 2013-14.
Safe to say things have been going pretty well. And it’s safe to say that there’s certainly plenty of room left for improvement, too. We’ve yet to score more than two goals in a game, and that has maybe held the team back from winning all fourteen of his games. But perhaps I’m being greedy.
Meanwhile, at the other end, we’re seeing a defensive record on par with José Mourinho’s famous 2004-06 teams. We may not have scored more than two in any game under Tuchel, thus far, but we’ve yet to concede more than two goals ... in total! ... during that same time. And still half of those conceded was an own goal by Antonio Rüdiger, recently seen dabbling in a bit of gamesmanship as well. Truly throwback days!
Unsurprisingly, Tuchel’s excellent record is getting close to rewriting some of Chelsea’s record books. His 10-match unbeaten start to Premier League life is second best in club history (behind Sarri’s 12-match start in 2018-19) and third best in league history (Frank Clark didn’t lose the first 11 to begin Nottingham Forest’s 1994-95 season). And his 13-match unbeaten start in all competitions is second best to Maurizio Sarri’s 18-match run.
Of course, if you count the Community Shield as an actual competition, which we don’t, then Tuchel already has the record, now one ahead of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s start in 2008-09.
13 - @ChelseaFC are unbeaten in their 13 games under Thomas Tuchel in all competitions, the longest ever unbeaten start by a manager for the Blues in the club's history. Methods. #CHEATM pic.twitter.com/uq5EO4GAdB— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 17, 2021
Such statistical markers may carry little significance in the end. Sarri lasted just a year, Scolari not even that long, and Forest never won anything with Clark.
What has been perhaps most impressive for Tuchel is that he’s doing all this as a mid-season appointment, and relying on a fair number of younger and still-acclimatizing players, not just experience or established habits and well-worn patterns.
However long this run might go on after getting to lucky No.13 last night, we can only hope that the groundwork he’s laying lasts well beyond it as well.
“From the very first moment, I felt part of a family and a well-structured club that thinks every three days about what is needed to win games. Everybody in this club thinks about football and from the first day the support was amazing. I feel part of it. A true part.
“I feel like part of the team also. The input of the players, the approach to the game is outstanding. What the Premier League demands and what they are used to putting into their performances is fantastic to see.
“It is from here we go. We take it step by step.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London