'They were flying': Paul Merson says two players made Chelsea 'unstoppable' earlier in the season

Paul Merson claims that Chelsea looked “unstoppable” earlier in the season when Reece James and Ben Chilwell were in full flow together in the same XI.

The Blues made a razor sharp start to the Premier League season, which saw them top of the pile after a few months.

However, they’re now looking to consolidate third in the standings, while the top two juggernauts of Liverpool and Manchester City fight it out for the league title.

For certain, Chelsea’s early season dominance was largely down to the form of their wing-backs.

James, 22, has had another excellent individual campaign where he’s kept improving. The right wing-back was a huge loss at the start of 2022 when he was sidelined with a hamstring problem, though.

James Officially Returns To HITC!

Similarly, Chilwell’s absence at left wing-back has left a huge hole since he was injured in November. The Blues were top of the league at the time of the 25-year-old’s injury, too.

Unfortunately, the Blues fanbase are still waiting to see him return from his long-term problem.

Merson has pinpointed the injuries to Chelsea’s star wide players as massive blows in their season.

“They are 12 points behind the leaders Man City with a game in hand, but it all went a bit pear-shaped for them when Reece James and Ben Chilwell got injured within a week or two of each other,” Merson wrote.

“They were flying at that time. They were unstoppable when those two were playing, ripping through teams.

“You’ve got to look at that when you look at their failed title bid. It was a big moment losing those two players.”

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Chelsea will look different next season

It’s a completely different proposition when you’ve got to play against a Chelsea XI with England internationals James and Chilwell in either full-back/wing-back role.

Thomas Tuchel will hopefully be able to really build his side next season with the aforementioned duo as nailed-on starters.

Also, it would be great to see if the new ownership grants him some funds to design his team.

It’s been reported that Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is Chelsea’s number one midfield target for the summer.

The heart of defence may need prioritising, too.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.