EPL

Tuchel 'would be very angry' if Chelsea rivals are exploiting Premier League rules

By Sports Desk January 14, 2022

Thomas Tuchel declared he would be "very angry" if any of Chelsea's rivals unjustly take advantage of the Premier League's COVID-19 emergency postponement rules.

The Chelsea head coach was left frustrated in December when an application to have the Blues' game against Wolves postponed after a rash of positive cases in Tuchel's squad was turned down.

On that occasion, a weakened Chelsea team battled to a 0-0 draw at Molineux, and Tuchel insists he has always made every effort to field a side during the pandemic.

At his news conference on Friday ahead of a trip to Manchester City, the German coach was asked whether he felt others team might be looking to bend the rules, taking into account players unavailable through injury or Africa Cup of Nations involvement when seeking postponements.

"I strongly, strongly hope that's not the case," Tuchel said, "because otherwise I would be very, very angry, because we are doing everything to make games happen.

"We were made to play when we thought we should maybe not, so I can only strongly hope that the rules are the same rules for everybody."

The Premier League has mapped out guidance for clubs to follow when it comes to requesting a postponement for COVID-19 factors.

It states that when a club cannot field 13 outfield players from its squad list – or by using "appropriately experienced" under-21 players – a match will be postponed.

Chelsea possess formidable resources, even with injuries, illnesses and AFCON absences.

They have also recalled Kenedy from a loan with Flamengo, offering the 25-year-old winger a chance to reignite his Stamford Bridge career. He last featured for the Blues in the 2017-18 season and has since had loan spells at Newcastle United, Getafe, Granada and Flamengo.

With Ben Chilwell injured and an absentee for the foreseeable future, Tuchel needed extra options on the left. He believes Kenedy, despite playing much of his career as an attacking player, can prove adept as a left wing-back.

"Kenedy is back and I'm very happy about it," Tuchel said. "it's a huge opportunity for him to make his mark at this club and in this team.

"We cannot say Kenedy is the solution. He can be the solution, but the situation has not changed, we have long-term injuries with the wing-backs."

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    Arsenal were looking to move level to go fourth in the Premier League by overcoming a Burnley team that had lost their last two away games 3-1.

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    Arsenal have also failed to win any of their first five games in a calendar year for the first time in 27 years, while it is the first time since October 2008 that they have not beaten a team at the bottom of the league at home.

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    For all their possession (75.7 per cent), Arsenal only created one big chance against Burnley, defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would be expected to score, though they finished with an expected goals (xG) of 1.4, suggesting their finishing was below par.

    Pope made two excellent saves to deny Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe, who subsequently turned provider for Arsenal's best chance, only for Lacazette to prod wide of an open goal from the midfielder's cut back. 

    With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future uncertain – albeit he was unavailable for health reasons on Sunday – Arsenal are reportedly keen to bring in a striker this month, and it would seem it is a vital need if they are to secure Champions League qualification.

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    Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin has also been linked, while Arteta has previously said he would like to bolster his midfield, but asked about Arsenal's transfer plans for the remainder of January, he replied: "In this market things are complicated."

    Burnley did offer a threat of their own, with Dwight McNeil particularly dangerous on the counter. No player had more than his four attempts, one of which almost caught Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale cold early on.

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    Virgil van Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain offered the Reds control with goals in the first half at Selhurst Park, but Odsonne Edouard's second-half strike teed up a nervy ending on Sunday.

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