Chelsea Team News vs Watford: Tuchel, Kante, Pulisic

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Coming off the score draw with Leicester City today Chelsea FC have no new injury concerns. The team fitness situation remains unchanged from prior to the 1-1 result with Leicester. However, there were still plenty of team news items emanating from this match, starting with what manager Thomas Tuchel had to say about N’Golo Kante:

“I think he is our key, key, key player but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch and if he plays only 40% of the games, it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place.”

Chelsea vs Watford FYIs

Kickoff: Championship Sunday 2022, May 22, 3pm

Chelsea Preview Content: Team News   Starting XI Prediction

Premier League Form Guide: Chelsea DWDLD   Watford LDLLL

Premier League Position:  Chelsea 3rd, 71pts   Watford 19th, 23 pts

Google Result Probability:  Chelsea 83%  Watford 5%   Draw 12%

After Extra Time Podcast:  Apple Podcasts    Spotify

“He is our Mo Salah, our [Virgil] van Dijk, our [Kevin] De Bruyne.

“He is simply that player. He is our Neymar, our Kylian Mbappe, he is the guy who makes the difference and if you only have him 40%, it is a huge problem.

“It is maybe a miracle of how consistent we produce results and puts everything into perspective because I saw Liverpool last season without Van Dijk and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player but he needs to be on the pitch.”

Kante has indeed suffered an injury-riddled season, and there have been rumors linking him with a move away. Tuchel was asked if he thinks the club can find a solution to Kante’s injury problems, to which he replied:

“Hope so. It is hard to live with because it is important to be there to have the rhythm. I thought he played OK [against Leicester] but he can play so much better but when was his last game when he started?

“It was weeks ago so he constantly starts getting rhythm and when he has rhythm comes a little injury and he is out again.

“Imagine last year: he was in the last five matches of Champions League, he got the ‘man of the match’ trophy.

“They handed him the trophy before the match, it was clear and this guy who gets man of the match in every Champions League game, he is only here for 40% of the matches, this is huge for us.”

“We do everything to solve it, of course, him as well. I don’t blame him. It is a concern and a fact we miss him a lot because he brings something that is unique in world football and he has that ability to lift everybody up and make the difference.

“This is the challenge for him and for us.”

Elsewhere, Christian Pulisic missed a golden scoring opportunity today, and Tuchel made it clear that he thought the American should have scored a goal today.

Tuchel was asked about Pulisic’s father’s tweet, and the controversy it recently caused.

“I am not concerned if the player’s father says he does not love me [on Twitter],” the German responded.

“It’s a normal thing [for a player to be frustrated]. We have our reasons to go for players in the first XI. You will never see happy faces from players who are not selected.

“With me and Christian, there is zero problem.

“The players are responsible for being in the team and staying in the team. Am I always right? For sure, not. Is it always fair? For sure, not.”

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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