What Romelu Lukaku requested from Antonio Rudiger as Chelsea summer move choice is made

 What Romelu Lukaku requested from Antonio Rudiger as Chelsea summer move choice is made


What Romelu Lukaku asked Antonio Rudiger when the decision was made for Chelsea's summer transfer

Hakim Ziyech's 89th minute goal proved enough for Chelsea to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park when they return to the Premier League matches.

Tuchel defends his players

Chelsea weren't at their best against Crystal Palace. In the same way, they were not against Palmeiras during the FIFA Club World Cup Final. Or in the semi-finals against Al Hilal. Or in the large number of matches the Blues have played in the past two months.

In December, infections and positive cases of Covid were blamed. Meanwhile, a modest performance in January was hampered by team fatigue, which was accepted given what came before.

February was supposed to be different. Not only did the majority of Chelsea's first-team members enjoy a week off due to the oddly timed international break, but they then traveled to Abu Dhabi for six days of warm-weather training as well as competing for the honor of the world. Champions.

And before the trip to Selhurst Park, the Blues had enjoyed a full week of training at Cobham, so there was an expectation that Chelsea would finally rediscover their spark.

It did not. Christian Pulisic and N'Golo Kante had first-half chances while Antonio Rudiger came close from 25 yards, but that was Chelsea's lot in the first half.

Things didn't improve after the break until Thomas Tuchel rolled the dice and Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marcos Alonso came off the bench with 18 minutes remaining.

Kovacic's first act was to pass a pass behind the palace defense to Romelu Lukaku, whose powerful shot was pushed only by Hakim Ziyech. The VAR saved the Eagles on that occasion - Lukaku was caught offside during construction - but nothing was protecting the Eagles in the 89th minute.

Alonso was given space for a cross to the back post and there was Ziyech, who directed a ball past Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland. It wasn't a landslide victory and a snatch, but few people could have grumbled if Chelsea got just one point.

After the win, Tuchel was asked if he was concerned about his team's performance. The German launched into a solid defense of his players and insisted that preparation for the competition was far from ideal.

He said: “How does a week like this work, we come from a temperature difference of 30 degrees, we have six players who catch a cold from the air conditioner in the plane, we have jet lag from Abu Dhabi, and we do not have a player who sleeps well. In Abu Dhabi because of the time difference and temperature So it's the same here.

"If you think we have a normal week to get ready, I can just tell you it's not like that. We're trying to survive right now and you can see.

“There is a lot of pressure if you go to the World Cup and want to win it with Chelsea. The players put a lot of pressure on themselves and then we haven't played in the Premier League for four weeks. It's huge and fantastic. A strange combination of many reasons why I personally haven't I wasn't expecting a lot from today's performance."

Tuchel added that his players looked "tired and exhausted" against Palace. It was hard to argue with that assessment. However, with the intense and fast matches progressing in the coming weeks, there will be no respite. The Chelsea manager has to find a solution.

He touched the ball only seven times in 90 minutes at Selhurst Park - and one of those was his kickoff. But amazingly, since Opta began collecting data in 2003, no player who has completed a full Premier League game has scored fewer touches than Lukaku against Crystal Palace.

The 28-year-old is partly to blame; He could definitely have made sure he'd participate more. However, contrary to social media opinion, Lukaku wasn't just attending a statue against the palace.

There were several occasions throughout the match when the striker slashed the Eagles defender's shoulder as the Chelsea player unchallenged possession of the ball. However, not a single pass over the top occurred despite Lukaku claiming a special pass from Antonio Rudiger in the opening period.

The only time a pass was passed to Lukaku was 16 minutes before play. He came from Kovacic and led to Belgium's all-time leading scorer to stop Butland well before Ziyech took advantage of the rebound. Naturally, the VAR overturned the goal.

"I'm not sure if I have a good answer," Tuchel answered frankly when asked about Lukaku's ineffectiveness after the match.

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