Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he has plans to nullify West Ham's 'real threat'
Thomas Tuchel has warned his Chelsea team about West Ham’s “real threat” and, interestingly, shared his plans to negate those threats on Saturday.
The Blues are going to visit the London Stadium tomorrow for a crucial game against West Ham.
The London rivalry aside, a top-four spot will be at stake tomorrow.
The two sides are level on points (55), with Chelsea currently ahead of fifth-placed West Ham on goal difference.
Ahead of the game, Tuchel has already had a clear strategy in mind on how to deal with the “counter-attacking” West Ham side.
“Clearly we expect a tough match,” the Chelsea manager said in his press conference on Friday.
“West Ham are a team that relies strongly on counter-attacks and their discipline in defence — which is the basis for a very dangerous counter-attacking side.
“And they’re relying on their set-pieces which is a real, real threat.
“So the challenge is clear; to control the match.
“We want to reduce critical ball losses to a minimum and close the spaces intelligently before their counter-attacks can even start and give as few set-pieces as possible.
“That’s the plan and there are a lot of things to do.”
Obviously, Chelsea expect to dominate the possession tomorrow.
They have had 58.9% possession per game on average which is the third-highest in the league, far above West Ham’s average of 43.5% (15th in PL).
But as Tuchel pointed out, West Ham are one of the best teams in the league in terms of counter-attacks and set-pieces.
According to Opta (via Whoscored), David Moyes’ men have scored five goals from counter-attacking situations (third-best in PL) and 15 goals from set-pieces (best in PL).
Given the numbers, it would not be a surprise if Kurt Zouma starts ahead of Antonio Rudiger or Thiago Silva because of his aerial abilities.