Thomas Tuchel handed new transfer dilemma as forgotten Chelsea man receives mixed reviews

 

Thomas Tuchel led his team to a 2-1 victory in their first pre-season match against Club America. The Blues were favourites to come out on top in the friendly, but a Reece James own goal made their job much more difficult. It was a rusty performance based on high expectations and there was a lot to learn within 90 minutes.

The Blues were stacked with options for their midfield. The first half saw Ross Barkley and Conor Gallagher take the main stage, whilst Jorginho and Mount covered the second. The different selections dominated in midfield, but it was Jorginho who came out on top of the rankings with an unusually attacking performance.

With an array of attackers, and Kalidou Koulibaly to join the defence, attention was turned to Tuchel's wing-back selection. Kenedy was called upon to play as right wing-back whilst Marcos Alonso occupied the left in the second half.

As the game progressed, it became a question of whether the Blues actually need cover for their wing-backs or is what they have enough?

Alonso is tipped for a move to Barcelona this summer. The Spaniard has reportedly decided that it is time to leave after five successful years with Chelsea. Last season saw Ben Chilwell injured for the majority and Alonso having to step up despite the hiccups in his relationship with the fans.

There was a difference in quality between Chilwell and Alonso but each player brought something different to the team. What the 28-year-old lacked in pace, he made up for it with a sharp eye for goal.

With his departure pending, the Blues will need to figure out how to fill the void or how they can keep him. Reece James had a difficult 45 minutes of football.

Despite showing glimpses of quality, he made a costly error in a pass back to Marcus Bettinelli. Anticipating that the goalkeeper would be guarding the goal, the 24-year-old sent the ball back, however, Bettinelli was late to recover and the ball ended up in the back of his own net.

James has been an incredible asset for Tuchel's wing-back system. He is fast, recovers well and in the boss' own words "shoots like a horse". He is everything a manager needs in a full-back.

Kenedy was asked to play James' role in the first half and there have been some mixed reviews. Whilst the Brazilian played his best, some fan reactions suggest that he was far off the pace of Reece James.

Kenedy has naturally played a winger so the wing-back role is still relatively new for the 26-year-old - it may take some time to get used to.

With the season starting in just three weeks, Thomas Tuchel will need to assess whether Kenedy has what it takes to step up and become the right wing-back to challenge for James' spot in the squad.

Injuries to both Chilwell and James last season, arguably cost the Blues a title challenge. A repeat of this could cost them again and with both Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta linked with a move to Barcelona, it could turn out worse for Chelsea next season.

The Blues have been linked with Lens defender Jonathan Clauss. Reports suggest the French full-back could be available for £8million. With Presnel Kimpembe and Jules Kounde still on Chelsea's radar, will Thomas Tuchel have enough time to find replacements or will he have to stick with what he already has?

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