Thomas Tuchel discovers his own Bruno Fernandes solving Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah transfer mistake.
So far this season, Reece James has been named as the Premier League’s second top goal creator, trailing only former Blue Mohamed Salah.
Reece James has made a strong start to the season by establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s most productive goal makers.
Under Thomas Tuchel’s new wing-back system, the 21-year-old right-back has prospered, directly contributing to six goals so far this season, averaging 1.47 contributions per 90 minutes.
Ben Chilwell, his wing-back opponent, has had as much success as James under the German manager’s new tactical system, scoring three goals already this season to add to Chelsea’s Premier League tally of twelve.
While Tuchel’s backline has been successful in the final third, the rest of the west London side hasn’t been able to continue in the same spirit – bringing the phrase “singing from the same hymn sheet” to its logical conclusion.
Chelsea’s midfielders and strikers have scored just twelve goals in the Premier League so far, with Mason Mount (three) and Romelu Lukaku providing the majority of the goals (three).
Tuchel has been able to rely on one of Europe’s top creative powers per 90 minutes, James, as he continues to push his front-line into gear.
In the Premier League this season, only Mohamed Salah (1.60) has a higher average goal contribution per 90 minutes than Chelsea’s right-back.
James sits ahead of his positional rivals, causing them to scramble in his wake; Manchester City’s Kyle Walker (0) and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (0.39) are both trailing James.
The Cobham graduate has established himself in a league of his own, winning silver against some of the Premier League’s greatest players this season.
Bruno Fernandes (0.74), Michail Antonio (1.00), Gabriel Jesus (1.00), Sadio Mane (0.66), or Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy (0.85) have all failed to match James’ consistency, which is largely due to Tuchel’s efforts.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho referred to his wing-backs as’midfielders’ rather than defenders earlier this month, describing the flexibility his system has given James and Chilwell on the wings.
“I think the statistic [goals scored] would seem a little different if you interpret the wing-backs more as midfielders,” he added, despite the fact that his right-back is still ranked higher than United’s Fernandes.
“Playing in a back three is more of a midfield position than a full-back one. They are not defenders, in my opinion.”
When storming forward into the final third, Tuchel explained how his formation relieves James and Chilwell of defensive responsibilities.
“They must defend at times, and as defenders, they have more freedom to attack and a shorter distance to the opponent’s box than full-backs.
“They must be included, and we must get them to the box at the conclusion of our assaults to boost the goal danger.