Chelsea grabbed a 2-1 friendly win over Arsenal on Sunday– but there were still a few problems that Thomas Tuchel might want to solve before the new season kicks off.
It was a pre-season game, indeed. But the fact remains that Tuchel will only have two weeks to prepare before the Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.
Tuchel would be relieved that Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham’s goals were enough to secure the win. As he pointed out last week, a win is important for team morale, even in pre-season.
The German might not be as satisfied with a few other things, however.
Christian Pulisic still not comfortable with wing-back role
It was a bold line-up from Tuchel who deployed Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi as his right and left wing-backs, respectively.
This would likely have not been the case had Reece James and Ben Chilwell been available, obviously.
But this is not the first time the two wingers played in deeper roles, suggesting that Tuchel has always wanted to have more attacking wing-back options.
Unfortunately, while Hudson-Odoi looked dangerous at times on the right flank, Pulisic found it very difficult to make an impact from the right wing-back position.
The American clearly still lacks the positional awareness needed from a wing-back, although his pace bailed him out on a few occasions.
Thus, Tuchel might want to reconsider the idea of using Pulisic in this position.
Werner’s poor scoring form continues
His pace and runs caused a lot of problems for Arsenal defence in the first half, and he managed to register an assist for Havertz from a counter-attacking situation.
That being said, he still did not look like the goalscoring machine he was at Leipzig.
At this point, it is safe to say that this is not only about his lack of confidence.
Most returning loanees failed to impress
Trevoh Chalobah was arguably the only returning loanee that looked convincing in this game.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek made several good runs in midfield but lost possessions in dangerous areas as often.
Tuchel understandably wants to give these players opportunities to prove themselves. This, however, also limits the minutes that could be spent on preparing players that would actually be in the squad next season.
Will the likes of Danny Drinkwater, Baba Rahman, or Davide Zappacosta be in the squad for the new season? Very unlikely.
(Note: Tuchel said after the game that the players are not at their freshest state physically after hard sessions in training — which explains some of the disappointing performances).