Thomas Tuchel must translate what he’s learned from Chelsea’s bout with Real Madrid into practice ahead of the Blues’ FA Cup bout with Crystal Palace on Sunday. The west London side, who are now armed with revised tactical invention, will be hoping to book a successive place in the final.
Andreas Christensen struggled to cope with Vinicius Jr’s artistry in the first leg and, consequently, was pulled from proceedings at the halfway mark. The Brazil international’s lavish technique, snappy feints and electric pace left the Denmark international chasing his tail.
Reece James replaced the 25-year-old on the right of a back-three in the return fixture, arming Tuchel’s side with an exciting dynamic that offered a threat going forward while still being resolute at the back. The England international neutralised Vinicius Jr to near-perfect effect and the Chelsea boss should look to implement a similar plan against Palace.
With the threat that the Eagles pose in mind, Tuchel should look to hand Trevoh Chalobah a long-awaited start. The combination of flair and aerial prowess in the Patrick Vieira’s side could see Christensen ‘bowled over’ again.
The Dane has been criticised before for his fragility by Ian Wright. Speaking on Match of the Day in July 2020 following Chelsea’s loss to Sheffield United, the former Arsenal striker claimed that Christensen got roughed up.
“Well the thing about it is, I think that’s what’s happened to him a couple of times, Christensen. He’s just absolutely bowled him over,” Wright said. “I think that he got a little bit roughed up today.”
Not only will Chalobah seamlessly make up for for Christensen’s playmaking, the 22-year-old will also bolster Chelsea’s defence off the ball too. Tuchel has a track record of opting for the former England youth international against opposition with a far greater physical presence.
Chalobah performed well against the Liverpool’s Sadio Mane in the Carabao Cup final, passing the ultimate test. And, of course, the Cobham graduate was excellent in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season.