Four things Thomas Tuchel learned about his Chelsea team in UEFA Super Cup win
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Chelsea came out on top in their Super Cup showdown with Villarreal on Wednesday night, getting the better of a tense penalty shootout at Windsor Park.
The Blues locked horns with Unai Emery's side in the annual showpiece between last season's Champions League and Europa League winners and got off to a flying start, with Hakim Ziyech firing them ahead after 27 minutes before being forced off with a shoulder injury.
Nevertheless, Gerard Moreno levelled proceedings with 17 minutes remaining to ensure another half-hour of extra-time and then the lottery of penalties were required in Belfast.
Kai Havertz and Aissa Mandi fluffed their lines early in the shootout, but it was Raul Albiol's miss which handed Chelsea the trophy, with Thomas Tuchel's decision to bring goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on late in extra-time proving a masterstroke.
But what did the Blues boss learn about his side in the victory?
Since taking the Stamford Bridge reins Tuchel has preferred to use Callum Hudson-Odoi as a makeshift right wing-back, which doesn't exactly come naturally to the wide forward.
Hudson-Odoi failed to impress while operating in that position on Wednesday night, with his best moments in the game coming when driving at opposition defenders in the final third.
Given he is the only credible backup option to first-choice right wing-back Reece James, Tuchel may now be tempted to dip into the market for a reinforcement and deploy the 20-year-old in his favoured position.
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Chelsea's biggest problem under Tuchel has been breaking down sides who intend to sit deep and frustrate them before hitting on the counter-attack.
That was evident once more here, particularly in the opening 30 minutes and large parts of the second half, making Romelu Lukaku's impending arrival from Inter Milan all the more crucial.
The Blues are in desperate need of a natural, powerful centre-forward who can use their strength to create openings out of nothing when up against teams set up in a low block.
Thus, it may even be wise to keep Tammy Abraham around as a backup option to Lukaku, despite reports suggesting he could be on his way to Roma or Arsenal.
The most surprising name on Chelsea's team sheet in Belfast was 22-year-old Trevoh Chalobah, who has produced a string of impressive displays in pre-season.
While he did endure some hairy moments, the Blues youngster generally put in another tidy performance against Villarreal, not looking at all out of place despite never featuring in the Champions League or Europa League.
Tuchel may have decided a move for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde is no longer necessary, with Chalobah a promising defensive option already at his disposal.
It certainly wasn't a poor display from Antonio Rudiger on the night, but he was perhaps fortunate to avoid a red card in the first half before gifting the ball to Villarreal for their equaliser.
The German defender first picked up a yellow card for a crunching tackle on Yeremi Pino which could arguably have been punished more severely by a stricter referee.
And with 17 minutes remaining, he then gave the ball away on the edge of Chelsea's penalty area and left a gaping hole at the back for Moreno to exploit for the leveller when attempting to win it back.
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Rudiger's error will not cost him a place in the side after his impressive 2020/21 campaign, and he still enjoyed a solid game on the whole.
However, Tuchel will hope for a more complete performance free of any mishaps when Crystal Palace visit the Bridge on Saturday.
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- Chelsea FC
- Thomas Tuchel
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