In the twelve months and change since Thomas “Trophies” Tuchel took over Chelsea, we’ve made the final of every cup competition we’ve been involved in, and we’ve won three of the four finals we’ve played, including the last three on the bounce.
But yesterday’s historic Club World Cup triumph has also drawn into focus our relative struggles in the league, with miserable curmudgeons like former Chelsea choke artist Craig Burley for example taking great delight in pointing out that we return to England with a 16-point gap to runaway leaders Manchester City. It’s unlikely we’ll overhaul that gap, even with a game in-hand.
We were doing much better in the league earlier this season of course, leading for most of October and November before the campaign ran off the rails slightly once winter hit.
But there is an understanding from the club that injuries, COVID, and fixture congestion have played a massive role in that regard, and go a long ways towards explaining said struggles. As reported by the Telegraph’s Matt Law, the Chelsea hierarchy agree with Tuchel’s assessment in that regard and are “confident the Blues would still have been battling with City for the title in different circumstances”.
The report then goes on to add that barring “any sort of slump” the rest of the way and maybe another cup win or three, the club will be looking to “strengthen the squad” in the summer and back the head coach for a “sustained title bid” next year — that is to say, we’ll be expecting Tuchel to challenge for the title not just for a few months but the entire season.
To that effect, the likes of Jules Koundé, Aurélien Tchouaméni, and Declan Rice get mentioned, though the latter may depend greatly on West Ham’s willingness to play ball. We’re also working hard to find a contract extension agreement with Antonio Rüdiger.
So all that sounds pretty good, and as far as job security goes for a Chelsea head coach, it’s about as solid as you can get.