Football

Tuchel’s Chelsea seeking to add to Man City’s blues

European champions Chelsea take on English Premier League title holders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge tomorrow in a rematch of last season's Champions League final.

When Chelsea triumphed in Porto against Pep Guardiola's team in May, the result was considered an upset with City heavily backed to win their first Champions League.

But four months later, Thomas Tuchel's west London side find themselves many pundits' favourites to win the EPL title after an impressive start to the campaign.

Chelsea have won four of their opening five matches, with a draw coming after a 10-man rearguard action against Liverpool at Anfield earned them as many plaudits as their victories.

They also have a 100 per cent record against City since Tuchel took charge at Stamford Bridge in late January - winning in the FA Cup, the EPL and the Champions League final.

City's start has seen them lose at Tottenham Hotspur, with a draw at home to Southampton last week leaving them three points off the leading trio - Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Romelu Lukaku's arrival from Inter Milan for £97 million (S$178.9m) has given Chelsea an extra dimension they lacked last term - a scoring threat.

With the Belgian coming on only as a 76th-minute substitute in their League Cup third-round tie against Aston Villa yesterday morning (Singapore time), German striker Timo Werner bagged his first goal of the season.

The 25-year-old, one of 10 changes made by Tuchel, headed Reece James' cross past Jed Steer in the 54th minute. The visitors equalised through striker Cameron Archer to send the game to a shoot-out, which Chelsea won 4-3 to set up a fourth-round tie with Southampton.

Tuchel, who was sweating over the fitness of first-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, was heartened by the form of his deputy custodian Kepa Arrizabalaga, who saved Marvelous Nakamba's effort from the spot after Ashley Young hit the bar.

James then scored the winning spot-kick after Ben Chilwell failed to convert his.

At the Molineux, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane also ended his domestic scoring drought. The England captain made it 2-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers after Tanguy Ndombele's opener.

But Spurs allowed the hosts to come back through goals by Leander Dendoncker and Daniel Podence, before winning 3-2 on penalties. They will meet Burnley in the next round. - REUTERS

 

Football