ESPN pundit Steve Nicol believes Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel chose the wrong attackers to start in their narrow 2-1 win over West Ham on Saturday.

Instead of the usual 3-4-3 formation, Tuchel decided to use a 3-5-2 system using Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic up front at the weekend.

Given Chelsea’s poor goalscoring record this season, it is easy to see why the manager wanted to try something different.

Unfortunately, it did not work quite as hoped, as Chelsea failed to convert their ball possession advantage into goalscoring chances, especially in the first half.

It was not until Tuchel introduced several substitutions, particularly Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, and Armando Broja, that Chelsea looked more threatening.

Nicol insisted that Tuchel should have put more faith in his only available natural striker in the squad, Broja.

Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

“He [Tuchel] just picked the wrong team,” the former Liverpool defender told ESPN FC.

“When you’re two frontmen are Sterling and Pulisic, who don’t like being centre-forwards, and [you have] Reece James who is your weapon in whipping the ball in, but don’t have anybody who looked like a centre-forward…

“Why don’t you play Broja?

“You just gave him a new contract, play him, get him some time on the field. Then you can start using the qualities you have with [Marc] Cucurella on one side and James on the other.

“He [Tuchel] just got his starting line-up absolutely wrong.”

Chelsea FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Nicol made a very good point that the lack of presence in the penalty box when using these false nines actually hinders the effectiveness of James and Cucurella.

For the majority of the game, West Ham were very comfortable defending tight and narrow since they were confident that they could beat Chelsea forwards to any dangerous cross.

As a result, this also made it even harder for the likes of Pulisic and Sterling to play through central areas.

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