Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is one of the greatest coaches in the world right now. He took over as Chelsea’s manager in January 2021 and immediately transformed them into one of the most defensively formidable units in Europe. Tuchel was able to guide the Blues to Champions League glory in his first half-season as their manager.
Thomas Tuchel’s first full season as Chelsea manager has had its highs and lows
Chelsea got off to a great start to the 2021-22 season as well and they were at the top of the Premier League table in the first few months of the campaign. However, they have suffered a dip in form since and Tuchel’s side have not been exactly as dominant as they were in the second half of last season.
Tuchel has proven his mettle as a coach in every team he has been in charge of during his managerial career. He has improved players and got the best out of youngsters as well. However, there are also players whose fortunes Tuchel hasn’t been able to turn around.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at five Chelsea players who have failed under Thomas Tuchel.
#5 Callum Hudson-Odoi
It would be reductive to file Callum Hudson-Odoi as an abject failure under Thomas Tuchel. The winger has shown flashes of his quality but has suffered from a lack of game time in the second half of the ongoing campaign.
Due to the three-at-the-back system that Tuchel uses, figuring out the right position for an out-and-out attacking winger like Hudson-Odoi was always going to be difficult. He seems to have fallen down the pecking order in recent times and has been played across multiple positions to varying degrees of success.
An injury to his Achilles tendon has kept him out of action for the past two months. Hudson-Odoi will find it hard to break into the starting lineup again. Reece James has nailed down the starting berth at right back.
With forwards like Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic vying for starting roles as well, Hudson-Odoi is no longer indispensable either. In 28 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea so far this season, the 21-year-old has scored three goals and provided six assists.
#4 Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic has had his moments for Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel. But for a player of his quality, they have come too far and few in between. The US international has failed to nail down a starting berth at Chelsea and has started just 10 Premier League games this season.
An ankle injury and a bout of COVID-19 has certainly not helped, but Pulisic has also failed to maximize the opportunities he was presented with. He last played a full 90-minute match all the way back in March against Burnley.
Pulisic has scored seven goals and provided four assists in 34 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea so far this season. It is starting to look a lot like Pulisic’s future may lie away from Chelsea the way things are going.
#3 Ross Barkley
At this point, it doesn’t look like Ross Barkley is capable of reviving his Chelsea career. He has become a peripheral figure at the club and it’s rare to even get a sighting of him these days.
Barkley has made 12 appearances for Chelsea so far this season, out of which only four have been starts. He hasn’t scored a goal or provided an assist or done anything of note in the very limited time that he has featured for the Blues this term.
Barkley is almost certain to be offloaded at the end of the season but it remains to be seen who will come forward to sign such an out-of-form player.
#2 Saul Niguez
Saul Niguez’s fall from the status of one of the best holding midfielders in the world has been rather abrupt. The Spanish midfielder played a key role in Atletico Madrid’s La Liga winning team last term.
He joined Chelsea on loan last summer but the move has not worked out to anyone’s liking. Although Thomas Tuchel publicly backed Niguez just last week in a press conference (via The Metro), there’s no denying the fact that he is a transfer flop.
The 27-year-old has scored one goal and provided one assist in 24 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea so far this season. Apart from a couple of good performances against the likes of Brentford and Tottenham Hotspur, his Chelsea stint has been quite lackluster.
#1 Romelu Lukaku
Chelsea have spent a fortune in recent times trying to find a reliable striker. With Timo Werner failing to fulfill the role of a prolific goalscorer last season, Chelsea forked out £101.7 million to sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan last summer.
Lukaku had just fired the Nerazzurri to their first Serie A title in 11 years. He looked like a safe bet after having scored 30 goals and provided 10 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions for Inter Milan in the 2020-21 season.
However, Lukaku has failed to hit the ground running at Chelsea. In fact, he has only gone on to prove once again that he is a poor fit for teams that rely on a possession-based system.
The Belgium international has scored a total of just 12 goals and provided two assists in 40 appearances for the Blues so far this term. He has fallen down the pecking order as well and it will be interesting to see whether or not Chelsea offload him this summer.
He also fell out of favor with the Stamford Bridge faithful after publicly flirting with his former club Inter Milan and undermining Chelsea. Lukaku did this in an interview with Sky Sports that came out in January 2022.