Chelsea lost the FA Cup final to Leicester City thanks to their ineffiency in attack, something they must sort out sooner rather than later.
Chelsea entered their name into unwanted history on Sunday (May 15), becoming the first side since the turn of the century to lose back-to-back FA Cup finals. Leicester City were the better side on the day and deserved the title. Yes, Chelsea would have felt aggreived at VAR decisions going against them – once in the build-up to Youri Tielemans’ goal and once when Ben Chilwell’s equaliser was ruled out. Yet to focus only on that would be to ignore the fact that, for large stretches of the game, the Blues were poor. As such, there can be few complaints over the result.
A quick look at the stats showed that Chelsea dominated in the key metrics. They kept more possession (63.9%), took more shots (13 total, 3 on target) and created better chances (xG of 0.78 to Leicester’s 0.32).
Yet they failed to take their chances – something that has been a theme of Thomas Tuchel’s time in charge.
When Tuchel was placed in charge, he inherited a squad that was bloated and disjointed. They didn’t score a lot and were leaky in defence.
To his credit, Tuchel instilled a level of defensive solidity into the side. His move to a 3-4-3 formation gave the side a solid defensive base. Clean sheets were aplenty, and the wins also began to pile up.
However, the side lacked a cutting edge in front of goal. This is best exemplified by Timo Werner’s struggles but it isn’t just him. Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech have impressed only in phases.
Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud barely get a look-in. Yet a look at their inconsistent form makes it hard to see how their addition to the playing XI would bring significant improvement.
This goal-shy nature hasn’t affected Chelsea in the Champions League. They beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 in aggregate in the round of 16, before dispatching Porto 2-1 on aggregate.
But it was against Real Madrid where their wastefulness was evident. Both in Madrid and London, the Blues created a number of good chances but only ran out 3-1 aggregate winners. They could have easily had 4 at Stamford Bridge alone.
Clearly, such an approach works in European competition where the margins are fine. But Leicester are a different proposition.
They handed the initiative to their opponents and Chelsea seemed lost. It is telling that their best chances came later in the game, when the Foxes were hanging on to their 1-0 lead.
Ahead of the game against Leicester, few would have bet against Chelsea finishing outside the top 4. Now, however, the shoe is on the other foot and the Blues lack winning momentum.
Their 1-0 Premier League loss to Arsenal came in similar circumstances: plenty of possession but no cutting edge. Their last two league games are against Leicester and Aston Villa.
Brendan Rodgers’ men already know how to beat Chelsea. Villa, for their part, will most likely try a similar approach on the final game day.
With Liverpool, West Ham, Tottenham and Everton all hot on their heels, Chelsea cannot drop more points. But in order to win their next two games and guarantee a top 4 finish, Tuchel needs to find a new approach – or hope his misfiring forwards find form soon.