HONEYMOON PERIOD OVER: ARE TUCHEL'S CHELSEA ABOUT TO COLLAPSE AT THE CRUCIAL MOMENT?
The most surprising result this weekend saw Chelsea get blown aside 5-2 by West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge.
No one was expecting this score line, with many assuming it would be a comfortable win for the hosts given their unbeaten run since Thomas Tuchel arrived at the club.
This was not the case however, a red card to returning centre back, Thiago Silva, obviously damaged their hopes, but this does not excuse how poor the performance was.
After going on a ten game streak without a loss in the league, only conceding twice in this period, they looked to be changing into a very solid side defensively.
There was of course the expectation that this run would eventually come to an end, but for it to happen in the fashion it did, was frankly rather embarrassing for the blues.
It has left many wondering where do they go from here?
With one of the biggest games in the club’s recent history later today in the quarter-finals of the Champions League against FC Porto, how are they going to recover?
Tuchel will be ensuring his players not to panic after the shock defeat to West Brom.
This of course currently can be considered as an anomaly of a result given from what we have seen so far from this team under Tuchel’s management.
It will obviously worry Chelsea fans, but this one-off game should not be too much cause for concern.
On Monday night they dropped to 5th in the table, following West Ham United’s victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, but there is only a one-point gap.
They are obviously still in a good position, and it will be crucial for them to secure that Champions League spot despite the tough competition around them.
As well as being in the race for top four, as previously mentioned they have the Champions League to focus on.
With a lot to play for, in the closing games of the season, they will be hoping that this is not a time where their form drops off.
It appears there are still players in the squad who are not reliable enough to consistently perform week in week out.
There will probably have to be some tactical changes from Tuchel, as although it has worked up to now, the loss to West Brom singled out a lot of weaknesses within the squad.
This does not mean he needs to panic and change the entire system, but perhaps make a few rotations in the team.
For the upcoming fixtures, it would not surprise me to see Tuchel lean upon some more experienced players in the squad, and a key man who I think deserves to be starting more would be Olivier Giroud.
He is a huge threat, and in the Champions League he is going very well at the moment, scoring six goals in the competition, and of course he scored that vital overhead kick against Atletico Madrid.
Another crucial part in the reformed team with Tuchel at the helm, is the importance of N’golo Kante in the midfield, who was a massive miss at the weekend.
Porto is a favourable draw for Chelsea, but it by no means is it a walkover, as they previously knocked out Juventus and will be hungry for the opportunity of advancing to the semi-finals.
If they can step up, and make it through this round, they of course stand a great chance at making it all the way to Istanbul.
It would be fantastic to make it to the final, but they have another possibility of silverware in the FA Cup.
Taking on Manchester City in the semi-finals later this month, Chelsea also could succeed domestically.
It has been a relatively easy run in the cup so far, and this will be the first big challenge, but if they make it through, they will be finalists in back-to-back seasons.
When you consider the position Chelsea were in before the arrival of Tuchel, he has done a fantastic job to keep them fighting on all fronts.
If they can manage to avoid an end of season slump, they could easily end it with a trophy and a spot in the top four.
The recovery is going to be tough after that damaging loss, but it is vital to stay calm and look at how the positives have outweighed the negatives.
We are certainly reaching the most important phase of the year, and depending on the form here, it will be judged whether this season was a success or not.