Chelsea played a third away game in seven days, drawing 1-1 with deceptively tough Brighton & Hove Albion. The scoreboard and the performance on the pitch were both rather lackluster, to say the least. Chelsea are now winless in four Premier League games, and have just one win in our last seven league games, though obviously we’ve been playing in a few other competitions between those games as well.
That fixture congestion, combined with the various injuries and absences, have stretched the team to our limits, and that mental and physical fatigue certainly showed tonight. Obviously, the result is not great, and Tuchel will be under pressure to turn things around — even if we’re not really in the title race anymore — but we do have to acknowledge the factors that play into results like this, even if they might sound like excuses (especially when you wait to use your subs until the last ten minutes, which Tuchel explained as a reactive measure — i.e. playing not to lose).
“We are tired. We are mentally tired and physically tired. You can see it in our performance. It’s as easy as that. [...] You can say it is an excuse or whatever but it’s like this [...] since November. We are the team that plays and plays and plays.
“We need to recharge the batteries, disconnect. This is my feeling and it’s why I give the players two days off [now]. We will prepare for two days, use Friday and Saturday to prepare for Sunday because we have a game against Tottenham.
“[We] demand a lot from us but it is not the moment to be too harsh with the team. [We] want to do more and do it better, but in the end we have to accept it. We take a draw and we go. We tried everything, tried hard, but there is a certain level of fatigue we can feel.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Tuchel’s of course right, and a winter slump is hardly a new phenomenon. We’ve played more games than probably any team anywhere in the world since November, and even with a fully healthy team, that would’ve been a great challenge — let alone with multiple key injuries, absences, and poor form from a certain few.
We’re very much in survival mode, but not even the 4-2-2-2 could prove the lifeline tonight.
We do get a brief break after the weekend, so here’s to a good result against Spurs, and then perhaps some fresh legs and a bit of new hope to spring forth from there.