Leicester City barely touched the ball in the first five minutes of last night’s game at Stamford Bridge. Then they got a bit of luck thanks to a miscommunication at the back and a lucky bounce, which gave James Maddison a chance to produce a world class finish. Leicester City then proceeded to barely touch the ball the rest of the 90 minutes. And yet, they still went home with a share of the spoils, with Chelsea spurning multiple chances (including an open net tap-in).
That’s as familiar a story as any for this season. In fact, it’s happened so often, it’s hardly worth getting all worked up about it, especially now with just one game left and third place secured with the point still gained.
It’s a broken record to be sure, and one that needs fixing. We know this. But for now, Thomas Tuchel, like Bizarre’s least bizarre line, is just fine letting the record skip, letting the record skip, letting the record skip...
“We were the better team [and] we did what was needed. We needed a point, and we got a point. We didn’t allow anything, no chances. We got punished by a shot from outside the box and created enough to win. We didn’t allow transition or chances for Leicester, so I am fine with the performance. It’s a bit of a broken record: we did not take what we deserved. I think that was ok what we did.”
In his pre-match press conference, Tuchel reflected on the unfulfilled ambitions of the season, committing himself publicly to leading the rebuild and the improvement necessary to close the gap to the top. We can play to “their” level, but we cannot yet do so consistently.
That’s the big hurdle that we have to overcome.
“It’s the story of the season, we need an assist from a wing-back and a goal from a wing-back.
“[But] today is the day that we secured third place. We have been the whole season in the top three, and when we keep in mind where we came from last season — ninth place and securing fourth place with the help of Tottenham in the last ten minutes of the season — this time, we took ourselves.
“[And] we had some obstacles to overcome and circumstances around the club that wasn’t easy, so full credit to the team. It was a huge step inconsistency for us.
“Maybe it does not feel 100% like this because the gap is so big to the top teams, but ok, we have stuff to improve. We are the first to admit, and from here we go.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
After Chelsea equalized in the first-half, a telling stat made the broadcast and social media rounds: not once in the 37 Premier League games were we behind at the half. And the same time, we’re now up to 22 points (or thereabouts) dropped from winning positions.
The gap to the top of the table right now is 19 points.
From here we go.