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Tuchel relieved as ‘lucky’ Chelsea get Baled out by Tottenham

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Story of the season

Aston Villa v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea lost for just the third time in 19 Premier League games since he took over at the end of the January from Frank Lampard, but the timing of this loss (as well as the Arsenal loss just a couple game prior) couldn’t have been worse. Chelsea needed to win or at least match the result of either Liverpool or Leicester on the final day of the season, and for most of the day on Sunday, things were looking rather tragic.

Liverpool were taking care of business against Crystal Palace without much trouble, while Leicester City got a couple penalties to maintain a 2-1 lead heading into the final quarter hour of the 2020-21 Premier League season. Meanwhile, Ben Chilwell had finally got Chelsea on the board halfway through the second-half, cutting our deficit in half, but we still would’ve needed two goals to win and ensure a top-four finish.

But then, FA Cup hero Kasper Schmeichel palmed a cross into his own net before Gareth Bale struck twice late on to complete a stunning, and almost incomprehensible Spurs comeback win at the King Power. While the 4-2 win earned them a 7th-place finish, one ahead of Arsenal, and a place in the newfangled Europa Conference League, those were dubious accomplishments, especially the latter. (Harry Kane did score Spurs’ first goal, to give him the Golden Boot.)

In any case, Spurs did us a massive favor — a most amusing development after 2012, 2017, Willian, Modrić, etc, etc, etc — but maybe we can repay them by taking out the “We hate Tottenham” shout from The Liquidator sing-along, which really shouldn’t be in such a prominent position anyway.

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Obviously, this isn’t the ideal way of reaching our main goal for the season, and finishing in the top-four, but at the end of the day, what matters is that we did. How we got there is of little consequence beyond the immediate analysis. And let us not forget that there were 37 other games before as well that got us into this position in the first place.

Thomas Tuchel certainly won’t be looking this gift horse in the mouth.

“We are lucky that Tottenham did the job for us and finished the job for us today. Like I said, we came to win and to pout any doubts to the side but it was not possible. [We were in a position that] it was possible to end in the four even with a defeat and that was possible because of the team’s hard work and consistently good results.

And obviously, this isn’t exactly ideal preparation for next weekend’s Champions League final, especially as Chelsea have now lost three of four in all competitions.

The issues that have plagued us during this recent run aren’t new, and they aren’t likely to be magically solved in the next week. But we only need one more good performance now.

“The target was to win the match and I think that, again, we are absolutely able to win this match. It is normally so, so hard to create chances and to score against Aston Villa but we created a lot, many deliveries.

“They are still a young team and we try to evolve and to make them better, learn from every game but it has been our story throughout the season. We needed many clean sheets to overcome this lack of composure and precision, today we conceded two goals from set pieces and it was hard to come back but we had enough chances to turn it around.”

[...]

“We need to adjust details and we need to be spot on on Saturday as we want a positive outcome.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

Onwards and upwards!