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Chelsea back on track but Tuchel may rue Lukaku selection


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fter complaining about the number of games being heaped upon his players, this was a cruise for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

It was too easy for the European champions, who will surely expect another three points when they go to Sweden next month for the return fixture.

Perhaps then Tuchel will name a much-changed side to the one he sent out here, which smacked of a manager refusing to take any risks even against such limited opposition.

Defeat to Juventus last time out meant Chelsea could not afford any mis-step in back-to-back games against the Swedish champions, if they are to have any chance of topping Group H and there was no danger of that from the moment Andreas Christensen fired them ahead after nine minutes.

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In the end a 4-0 score-line flattered the visitors. This could have been anything – and if not for first half injuries to Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, perhaps the margin of victory would have been even greater.

The loss of the two forwards could well be the biggest takeaway from this game, with Chelsea now having to assess both players ahead of Saturday’s game against Norwich.

Lukaku looked in a lot of discomfort as he limped off the pitch with a twisted ankle, while Werner was left clutching his hamstring after pulling up sharply.

At least Kai Havertz was back among the goals – coming on for Lukaku in the first half and finding the back of the net after the break with a smart finish. The German has been warned he faces a fight to force his way back into Tuchel’s first team plans – but fate may have just handed him his chance. Should Lukaku fail to recover in time for the weekend then Havertz is sure to lead Chelsea’s attack.

The decision to play Lukaku was a peculiar one from Tuchel, having claimed the Belgian was physically and mentally tired, as well as complaing about the strain being placed on modern-day players. Yet here he was starting his 11th game of the season, and his ninth from a possible 10 since joining Chelsea in the summer.


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