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5 Top Key Chelsea Players Under Thomas Tuchel Era

Thomas Tuchel has been nothing short of a revelation since joining Chelsea just over a year ago. In January 2021, the German mastermind was named head coach of the London giants, who were struggling in ninth place in the Premier League rankings at the time. 

Tuchel guided the club to a fourth-place finish and a sensational 2021 UEFA Champions League victory. Chelsea also won the UEFA Super Cup in 2021 and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2022 under the German’s direction. 

They lost the EFL Carabao Cup final to Liverpool on penalties this year, but they are through to the FA Cup semi-finals and the 2022 Champions League quarter-finals. 

Tuchel’s tenure at Stamford Bridge has been marked by defensive tenacity and consistency. Chelsea’s offensive under the German has been brutal and wasteful at times, but their defense has been unbreakable. The Blues had the league’s second-best defensive record in the 2020–21 season (36 goals conceded).  

So far this season, the third-placed squad has conceded 19 goals in 28 games, only one more than Manchester City. For the second year in a row, the Sky Blues are on track to boast the best defense in English football. 

As a result, it’s no surprise that our selection of five Chelsea stars who have thrived under Thomas Tuchel is dominated by defenders. 

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  • Mateo Kovacic

Mateo Kovacic, a Croatian midfielder, has created a fantastic connection with N’Golo Kante for Chelsea, despite not being the most flashy of players. Since coming from Real Madrid, the 27-year-old midfielder has made 175 appearances (four goals, 12 assists). 

So far, Kovacic has appeared in 53 of Tuchel’s 78 games as Blues manager, scoring twice and assisting five times. Kovacic, like his countryman Luka Modric, is a versatile midfielder who can win the ball back and play a pass. 

But it’s his ability to move forward with the ball at his feet that makes him so essential, as Kovacic’s penetrative dribbles allow the Blues to get up the pitch swiftly. 

  • Edouard Mendy

Mendy, 30, was signed by Stade Rennais for £21.5 million in 2020 and has risen quickly under Thomas Tuchel. The Blues were under pressure to sign a world-class goalkeeper after spending £72 million on Kepa Arrizabalaga, who turned out to be a massive disappointment. 

During his tenure at Chelsea, the Senegalese goalkeeper has evolved into a top goalkeeper. Under Tuchel, Mendy has appeared in 58 games, maintaining 32 clean sheets and surrendering only 34 goals. 

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At FIFA’s “The Best” awards earlier this year, he was named the best goalkeeper in the world for 2021. 

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  • Kai Havertz

Kai Havertz, a German attacking midfielder, had a rocky start at Stamford Bridge after coming for £72 million from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020. The 22-year-old, on the other hand, continues to excel under Tuchel and is a bright spot in a Chelsea attack that is otherwise lacking. 

Havertz has appeared in 55 games for his country, scoring 15 goals and assisting on eight occasions. He is the club’s second-highest scorer, with 11 goals in all competitions so far this season, only one behind Romelu Lukaku. The German international is best known for scoring the game’s only goal in the 2021 Champions League final, giving his club a 1-0 victory over Manchester City. 

  • Reece James

The value of wing-backs in Thomas Tuchel’s system is well-known. Reece James and Ben Chilwell has prospered under the German manager, which comes as no surprise. 

In particular, James, in particular, has risen from a promising academy product to one of the top wing-backs in the Premier League in the previous 12 months. 

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With his crossing ability, pace, and power, the 22-year-old Englishman has caught the eye. James has been remarkably effective in attacking areas under Tuchel, with six goals and eight assists in 55 games. 

His strength, stamina, and quickness of recovery make him an excellent defender. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the young star’s performance improve in the coming months. 

  • Antonio Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger’s departure from Stamford Bridge appeared inevitable during Frank Lampard’s final months as Chelsea manager. Tuchel’s arrival triggered a spectacular turnaround after the 29-year-old German center-back made just four league appearances in the first half of the 2020–21 season. 

Rudiger has now grown into one of the most sought-after defenders on the planet. With 66 appearances under Tuchel, he is undoubtedly the most important Blues player. 

Rudiger’s raw pace, ferocious aggression, and intimidating size make him a difficult customer to deal with on both ends of the field. 

He’s a tremendous threat from set-pieces, with four goals and five assists under Tuchel’s tutelage, while also being one of Europe’s most reliable center-backs. He has a contract expiring this summer, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the continent’s top clubs made enormous wage offers to keep him.

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