Chelsea weren’t at their best as they lost 1-0 to Leicester in the FA Cup final on Saturday. It was a poor showing from Thomas Tuchel’s side, with the German making several mistakes. So Express Sport will now take a look at the errors made by the 47-year-old as his side failed to lift the trophy.
Reece James’ positional change
This season, Reece James has established himself as one of the best right-backs within world football.
The England international’s attacking nature means there’s a big clamour to see him start at the upcoming European Championships, especially given the inconsistency of Trent Alexander-Arnold over the course of the campaign.
But, for the FA Cup final, Tuchel decided to tinker.
He deployed the 21-year-old at centre-back and while James barely put a foot wrong, it was his error that led to Tielemans’ stunning strike.
James was unable to make his mark on the game from an offensive perspective and that meant Chelsea were far less threatening than usual.
It should really have been Cesar Azpilicueta who started in a back three instead, especially given the Spain international’s vast experience.
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Timo Werner over Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic can be frustrating. There’s talent there, but it clearly needs harnessing.
And Tuchel, it seems, doesn’t trust him.
One thing that can be said for the 22-year-old is that, when he plays, he always looks a threat. His speed, in particular, is a fantastic asset to possess.
Compare that to Timo Werner, who looks lost out on the field these days, and it’s clear Pulisic deserved to start the final against Leicester instead.
Werner’s confidence is shot to pieces and he’s becoming a liability.
The more Tuchel perseveres, the more he risks the Blues missing out on the top four and the Champions League trophy.
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Choosing Kepa Arrizabalaga
Chelsea decided to start Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks.
And though there’s an argument that no goalkeeper would have been able to stop Tielemans’ goal, Edouard Mendy may think otherwise.
For cup finals, you need your strongest XI.
So the decision to leave the former Rennes goalkeeper, who has enjoyed a positive first season at the club, on the bench backfired spectacularly.
Kepa didn’t have much to do but Mendy is the better shot-stopper and, at 12 inches taller than the Spaniard, may have stood a better chance of keeping the effort out.
Rodgers speaks out
While Chelsea boss Tuchel lamented bad luck after the defeat, Brendan Rodgers was buzzing.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” he said.
“I wasn’t aware before I came to Leicester that they’d never won the FA Cup, they’d lost in four finals previous so to be able to give that to the owners and the fans, so special.
“So proud, the board players staff, supporters, an amazing day for the city, so proud for everyone.”
On the goal, he added: “Youri Tieleman’s goal was like an old school FA Cup winning goal but also Kasper Schmeichel’s save, those are the special moments you need in games.
“Overall we were the better team, super aggressive, pressed well, we were always a threat with the ball. Chelsea are an amazing team, that’s why they’re in a Champions League final but I thought we deserved it.”