Thomas Tuchel

'Tuchel's Chelsea Are A Formidable Side'

Simon Johnson, from The Athletic, believes any side who finishes above Chelsea will probably be crowned Premier League champions this season.
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- Leicester City host Chelsea at King Power Stadium on Saturday (12:30pm kick-off)
- The Athletic's Simon Johnson has previewed the clash from a Blues perspective
- Thomas Tuchel's men are top of the Premier League standings
- Johnson was speaking to LCFC Radio's Matchday Live show, which starts at 11am on Saturday

The Blues visit King Power Stadium on Saturday to tackle Leicester City on matchday 12 and Thomas Tuchel's side currently sit atop of the Premier League standings. They've won eight of their 11 matches in 2021/22 so far, but did drop two points against Burnley before the international break.

Johnson, who covers Chelsea regularly, is excited by this weekend's showdown with the Foxes, who have shown in the recent past how they can cause problems for the west London outfit. City, of course, defeated Tuchel's outfit in the final of the Emirates FA Cup last season too.

"The mood in the camp is very upbeat, although they did have an unusual slip up going into the international break, the 1-1 draw with Burnley," Johnson said. "Few people saw that coming, but it wasn't an indication of a bad performance. They actually played very well and should have won by four or five.

"They just didn't have their shooting boots on. There's always a question mark with Chelsea when they come back after an international break. Their performances do tend to be a little bit less convincing. Inevitably, because they have so many players away, Tuchel can't train them as much.

Not only did Leicester beat them in the FA Cup Final just six months ago, but even the game Chelsea won a few days later at Stamford Bridge... while Chelsea were the better side that night, they were still making them work hard to get the result in the end.

Simon Johnson The Athletic

"Although because of the nature of this international break, players have been able to return a bit early. He would hope there isn't a repeat of some of their less convincing performances. They'll be going into this game knowing full well, of course, how good a side Leicester are.

"Not only did Leicester beat them in the FA Cup Final just six months ago, but even the game Chelsea won a few days later at Stamford Bridge... while Chelsea were the better side that night, they were still making them work hard to get the result in the end. 

"They will be under no illusions about how difficult this game will be, even though Leicester are not in the most consistent run of form and are without the likes of Youri Tielemans, who Chelsea will have sour memories of at Wembley."

The acquisition of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan, for a reported fee of £97.5M, has elevated Chelsea's already lofty ambitions this term, according to Johnson, who expects the Blues to be right in the fight to win the Premier League title later this campaign. 

Expand photo
Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku's return to Stamford Bridge has enabled Chelsea to strive for further silverware.

"The moment they signed Lukaku, the expectations were obviously to challenge for the Premier League," he added. "Not necessarily to win it, but certainly to really be up there with Manchester City and Liverpool, who have been the two clubs competing for the title, generally, since Chelsea last won it.

"Chelsea haven't lodged a title bid in that time. This is the first season where they've been title contenders. The Lukaku signing, on top of what has been a real wave of momentum built up under Thomas Tuchel since he took over in January... Leicester was the last game of Frank Lampard's period.

"Leicester won and the gulf between the two sides was enormous that night. Tuchel has turned them around. This is 10 months of consistency which has made them genuine contenders. If you finish above Chelsea, you could make the argument that you will probably win the Premier League.

"Chelsea are that good. With the size of the squad, they've had quite a few injury issues and yet you wouldn't know. Also, the defensive record and the way they're organised, they all know their roles. That's what makes them such a formidable side."

All times GMT.

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