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  • Tuchel defends his selection choices

    Chelsea's Tuchel explains why he continues to overlook young striker

    April 9, 2021 By Michelle Bonsu
    Topics: Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel, Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner, English Premier League
    Despite Timo Werner's inconsistent form, Chelsea's new manager continues to have faith in the expense, perhaps, of his younger colleague.

    Since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel has really seen a remarkable turnaround in Chelsea's results.

    Barring a shocking 5-2 loss last weekend to relegation-threatened West Brom, the Blues have gone from strength to strength, and are looking good not just to secure a top four spot for next season, but are in pole position to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League after a 2-0 road win over Porto.

    However, one nagging question that has some fans concerned is Tuchel's general refusal to give striker Tammy Abraham more game-time. The young English international enjoyed an excellent relationship with Frank Lampard during the Chelsea legend's time in charge at Stamford Bridge, but since Lampard's sacking, has been largely restricted to cameo appearances.

    The reason? Tuchel's preference, mostly, to give big money signing Timo Werner a chance to sign. Yet, despite his insistence on fielding Werner, it's Abraham who still has produced more goals. Werner has scored just five times in the league, versus Abraham's six, and it's the Englishman who's netted 12 times across all comps, as opposed to Werner's ten.

    The one area Werner does boast the better stats is on the assist front, but his seven isn't significantly better than Abraham, who has chipped in with four.

    And unfortunately, Werner's problems in front of goal aren't only restricted to club duty. Over the international break, his struggles really came back to haunt him as Germany ended up suffering an embarrassing and very confidence-sapping defeat to Eastern European minnows Macedonia at home in a 2022 World Cup qualifier. Of course, die Mannschaft should nonetheless book a spot at the tournament, but losing to a team like that isn't something that a team of Germany's caliber should have to endure!

    So far, 22-year-old Abraham has only featured for the full 90 minutes once since Tuchel's arrival. In addition, he's been hauled off twice at half time, and suffered an ankle injury against Newcastle that kept him on the treatment table for several weeks.

    To complicate matters, Tuchel has opted to convert another big money signing, Kai Havertz, into a sort of central striker, which blocks Abraham's chances of getting time on the pitch as well. 

    Still, the fact that Abraham still has posted better numbers than Werner has led to some major questions being asked of Tuchel's methods, and it's not surprising, then, that the former PSG manager has had to explain himself. Especially as the buzz continues to grow as to whether the promising youngster may end up having to find another place to play his club football once the summer transfer window opens.

    "Tammy has had a bit of a rough time. He started twice or three times and was twice substituted for tactical reasons at half-time. Then he was injured and lost a bit the connection and possibility to fight for his place in the squad. The squad has played very well without him, we've had a lot of results without him", he noted prior to Chelsea's upcoming clash with fellow London side Crystal Palace on Saturday.

    "Now we're in the decisive part of the season where it's not so easy to bring players who [were] injured [and are now back] into the [team]. We have a full squad now. We have 22 players on the training pitch and it's very, very hard to select the 18 players for Premier League matches.

    "Nothing has changed. We demand a lot of Tammy, he demands a lot of himself, and he is using every minute to convince us that he needs to be on the pitch. [So], hopefully, he stays fit and [will be able to] play a key role at the end of the season."

    Does Tuchel's explanation sound plausible? Or is is just a bunch of, well, talk in circles? Will we end up seeing Abraham in a Blues kit next season, or will he opt to play his football for another team?

    With the end of the season around the corner, and the transfer window about to open pretty soon, we won't have to wait too long to find the answers to those questions, that's for sure.



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