Isn't the English top flight supposed to be the toughest league in the world? Going from coaching in a 'farmer's league' to our elite division was going to ensure Thomas Tuchel was found out, right?
Instead the German is making life in England look very easy indeed, as he steered Chelsea to a 2-0 win over Everton on Monday night to stretch his unbeaten run since taking over from Frank Lampard to 11 games. Tuchel has also become the first manager in Premier League history to see his side keep a clean sheet in each of his first five home games in charge in the competition. So far: a breeze.
The turnaround at Chelsea is no coincidence. The positive results are no fluke. The Blues' improvement is down to Tuchel's meticulous planning and tactical curveballs that have transformed his new side, at both ends of the pitch.
Premier League
Mourinho admits 'emotional connection with Newcastle' but remains committed to Roma
17/10/2021 AT 10:56
Defensive solidity is the obvious starting point to analyse this new-look Chelsea.

Der FC Chelsea jubelt über den Heimsieg gegen den FC Everton

Image credit: Imago

Even without N'Golo Kante as a midfield anchor, the protection Tuchel's team now give the backline has increased, tenfold. Regular watchers of the Bundesliga are relishing this "double six" coming into the footballing vocabulary in England. It Germany it is common place for teams to set up with two holding midfielders - the number six position - in front of the back four, to provide a solid base.
In Lampard's last league game in charge, Leicester bypassed the Chelsea midfield as if it wasn't there. Fast forward until now, and Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have been moulded into an effective extra line of defence, with Kante a more than able replacement kept in the wings.
Everton's attacking players could barely get a look in as Jorginho, not universally popular among Chelsea fans, continued to show he is capable of running the game, at his pace.
Then, on the few times Everton broke through the first Blues' barrier, a reborn Andreas Christensen was there to deny the Toffees time and again. No player on the pitch won possession on more occasions.
This is what differentiates the good coaches from the great ones. Many a manager can get results if they are given £300m to spend, but the very best coaches can improve the players they inherit when taking a new role, and get every inch out of all the personnel at their disposal.
Christensen was as good as finished at Chelsea under Lampard, but he has been brought back in from the cold, and looks like a different, assured player. On the face of it, a back three of Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Cesar Azpilicueta doesn't immediate fill you with confidence, but entrusted by Tuchel, they are becoming something special, in a short space of time.
In attack is where Tuchel has got even more creative. Callum Hudson-Odoi, another player left out in the cold by Lampard, has been brought back into the fold, one week as a wing-back - a innovation nobody saw coming - the next as a wide forward.
And it is on that left flank that Tuchel has fashioned a real monster. Everton were undone just when they were looking comfortable by another player reborn, as Marcos Alonso overlapped Hudson-Odoi out of nowhere, before squaring for Kai Havertz to open the scoring and set Chelsea on their way. The Toffees were well organised, and took some unlocking, and in that one move, Chelsea set themselves up for a crucial win. And that was all down to work on the training ground with Tuchel.
Havertz was given more freedom to roam, with Tuchel keen to keep the faith. Man management is something else Tuchel excels in.
The list of innovations could go on, and there is more to come. Tuchel is yet to be able to eek the best out of Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic, with Timo Werner still not firing on all cylinders. When all these parts click into gear, and Tuchel finds new ways for Chelsea to kick on, a top-four finish should be in the bag.
Premier League
Alexander-Arnold ruled out of Man City match by Klopp
30/09/2021 AT 20:15
Premier League
'The situation has changed' - Tuchel backs Chilwell after 'mentally tiring' summer
14/09/2021 AT 09:40