Arsene Wenger makes Thomas Tuchel prediction as Chelsea face Champions League battle
Chelsea: Tuchel not worried by lack of goals
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Legendary former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes that Thomas Tuchel will fail to secure a top-four finish with Chelsea at the first time of asking. The 47-year-old is yet to taste defeat since taking the Blues job last month, but was left frustrated on Saturday as his side dropped two valuable points against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium.
Mason Mount’s second-half penalty rescued a draw for the west London club, who fell behind before the break when Takumi Minamino’s outside-of-the-foot shot found the back of the net.
The Blues managed nine attempts on goal and enjoyed 72 per cent ball possession, but could not seal what would have been an important victory, leaving the club fifth in the Premier League table and two points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham United.
Wenger, who led Arsenal to the title in 2004 without losing a game all season and sealed 18 consecutive top-four finishes with the Gunners, has predicted that Tuchel will fall just short of Champions League qualification this season despite his promising start to life at Stamford Bridge.
The Frenchman also slated Chelsea’s performance against the Saints, suggesting that improvement is needed in all areas of their game in order to stand any chance of troubling those at the top of the division.
“I would say it’s a fair result with one team happier than the other one, Southampton certainly the happier after stopping their losing slump,” Wenger told beIN Sports after the final whistle.
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“What’s a bit worrying for Chelsea is they were not at their best, which happens in this league, but you don’t feel a huge potential in there, not on the tactical side nor on the physical side nor on the aggressive side nor on the organisational side.
“So I looked just at their number of points, on that run they will make 63 points. That could be a fraction short of top four.
“I just think they made 43 points out of 25 games and on that average it gets you to 63, and 63 usually you’re out.
“They can of course have a great run, but today their game was a bit frustrating for them. They didn’t find the fluency to put Southampton under pressure.”
Chelsea’s last failure to finish in the top four was three years ago, when they ended the 2018/19 campaign in fifth and five points adrift of Champions League football.
Tuchel claimed earlier this month that his side can achieve their goal this season, as long as they can maintain their upward trajectory throughout the remainder of the campaign.
“The guys put themselves in the situation where we are the hunters for the teams in front of us,” Tuchel told reporters after the win over strugglers Sheffield United.
“We are close. For us it’s clear. We are responsible for a situation where we are close to where we want to be.
“We want to try everything to be top four and we said this very clear when we started.”
Chelsea are preparing to head into a tough period of fixtures that could easily define their season.
Atletico Madrid, one of the dark horses for the Champions League title, lie in wait in the competition’s round of 16 on Tuesday before Tuchel’s side face a tough test against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge five days later.
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