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Tuchel's Chelsea suddenly sitting on a fine line between success and failure after FA Cup loss to Leicester

21:52 GMT+3 15/05/2021
Mason Mount Thomas Tuchel Reece James Chelsea FA Cup 2021 GFX
The German has done an incredible job since taking over in January but Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Wembley has left the Blues' season on a knife-edge

Chelsea 0-1 Leicester City: Match Statistics

Thomas Tuchel’s winning machine has ground to a halt at the worst possible time.

Chelsea have now suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time during the German's short tenure and the effects could be catastrophic.

After a self-inflicted 1-0 loss at home to Arsenal on Wednesday night, which cast doubt on their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four, the Blues were beaten by the same scoreline in Saturday's FA Cup final with Leicester.

Youri Tielemans decided a dramatic encounter with a stunning strike from distance that will enter into Foxes folklore, as they lifted the trophy for the first time in the club's history.

Chelsea had dominated possession yet couldn’t create any clear-cut openings until a frantic finale.

Indeed, Leicester, roared on by a raucous atmosphere generated by those few fans lucky enough to gain entry into the stadium, grew into the game and were good value for their goal, which arrived in the 63rd minute.

With his team looking mortal again, Tuchel had no choice but to abandon his principles and go for broke in the closing stages.

Reaching deep into his squad, he made five substitutions, with Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell all coming on.

The latter looked to have rescued the game against his former club, as the full-back surged into the area and forced an own goal from Wes Morgan in the final minute of normal time.

However, VAR intervened, ruling that Chilwell had been offside when he received the ball wide on the left-hand side.

That disallowed goal only intensified Chelsea's frustration and disappointment. They have been buoyant, strong and relaxed in recent weeks, after a sensational run of form which propelled them both up to fourth in the Premier League and into the final of the Champions League.

Now, after this nightmare week, they look vulnerable again. And they will need to quickly shake off their misery ahead of a crunch Premier League clash with third-placed Leicester at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.

Champions League qualification was the bare minimum as far as the club was concerned at the start of the season and it was Tuchel’s mission statement upon replacing Frank Lampard at the helm in January.

However, this FA Cup defeat has simultaneously devastated Chelsea and boosted the Foxes' confidence ahead of their trip to west London. 

The hope must be that it will refocus Chelsea. The players were forced to watch Leicester celebrate wildly at the end of the game, so they should, in theory, be gunning for immediate revenge on Tuesday.

It would be hard to criticise Tuchel for allowing his side to come unstuck this week, after taking the club from 10th place to fourth since his arrival, as well as reaching two finals.

However, the ownership could look unfavourably on him if the former Paris Saint-Germain coach fails to get Chelsea into next season's Champions League.

Chelsea need to ensure they don’t go into their next final, on May 29, needing to win it just to qualify for next season's competition.

How they respond to this double setback, then, is crucial because Tuchel's team is suddenly sitting on a fine line between success and failure.