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Chelsea's quest to secure a Champions League finish took a hit as they were held by Leeds United 0-0 in a bore draw at Elland Road.
The hosts thought they had taken the lead just minutes into the first-half when Patrick Bamford found Tyler Roberts to tap into an empty net.
Unfortunately for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, Roberts had strayed offside with the flag correctly going up.
Minutes later, the Blues almost went out in front in bizarre circumstances as Luke Ayling’s clearance cannoned off Diego Llorente, only for the ball to loop over Illan Meslier and hit the crossbar.
Leeds then hit the woodwork themselves after Edouard Mendy somehow got to Roberts’ dipping effort.
Chances came and went for both sides in the second period, but neither really deserved a win, with the stalemate the fairest result.
Dropping two points will come as a blow for Tuchel and his side, giving the initiative to the pack of teams chasing the top-four.
On a frustrating afternoon, there will be some decisions the Chelsea boss is regretting on his journey back to the captial.
For the first time under Tuchel, the Blues lined up with what appeared a more traditional, four at the back.
Ben Chilwell managed to get forward, but on the other flank, Cesar Azpilicueta appeared reluctant to regularly offer support to Christian Pulisic.
It left Chelsea looking a little flat at times and they missed the direct running of Callum Hudson-Odoi in a laboured first 45.
There was also some hairy moments with Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger as a central defensive pairing. Without Azpilicueta’s steadying presence, they looked far less comfortable, particularly against Leeds’ high press.
Tuchel has made 39 personnel changes since replacing Frank Lampard, but his first formation one didn’t reap immediate benefits.
Ziyech’s struggles go on
It’s just not happening for Hakim Ziyech.
The Moroccan came to Stamford Bridge with an impressive reputation, for not only scoring plenty, but for creating even more.
In his final two seasons with Ajax, he registered 74 goals contributions in just 84 games with many of those coming in the Champions League.
But for one reason or another, he is still yet to find his best form in a Chelsea shirt.
Playing as a No.10 behind Havertz, he failed to make a real impact on the game, with the majority of their attacking play coming through Pulisic.
Playing Hudson-Odoi out wide and the American central could be a better long-term option for Tuchel.
The glaring transfer need
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Tuchel opted to start Kai Havertz as a solo striker at Elland Road, but failed to take his major chance on another frustrating afternoon for the summer signing.
Timo Werner came off the bench in the second half to provide his compatriot with some welcome support, but on his own, it looked a struggle.
Olivier Giroud still struggles for regular minutes under Tuchel, but on his day, he is still the best centre forward at the club.
Werner's confidence does look to be improving, but can hardly be described as an archetypal striker himself.
Reports of Erling Haaland have emerged in recent weeks and while that may prove optimistic, it is clear that for the next stage of their development under Tuchel, a new striker is required.
- Premier League
- Chelsea FC
- Leeds United FC
- Thomas Tuchel
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