CHELSEA’S fringe players gave the first-team regulars little to worry about as the Blues scraped through against Southampton.
The likes of Saul Niguez, Ross Barkley, Malang Sarr, and Hakim Ziyech all got the nod to start as the home side needed penalties to reach the Carabao Cup quarter-final.
But unfortunately all they really managed to do was to prove that the gap between these guys and Chelsea’s first team, as things stand, is really quite large.
I don’t remember watching a Chelsea team give the ball away as much as this team did.
And it just goes to show that although the Blues do have good strength in depth, a number of these players are either far too average to step up, or not good enough to do so just yet.
Thomas Tuchel was even forced to bring on a number of his senior players in the second half as he tried to get a hold of the game and a hold of possession.
At times Mateo Kovacic, one of the few senior players to start the match, was on a one man mission to keep the ball and not give it away.
But you felt for him as those around him were more often than not passing to Southampton players rather than those in blue – especially Hakim Ziyech, who was particularly poor.
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I never understand why fringe players getting a rare chance to play are not totally up for it when they are picked.
Why are they not doing their absolute all to stake a claim for the next match and give the manager something to think about?
If you want to play for Chelsea then you have to prove you are good enough.
And far too many of these players did not do that and you could once again see the clear frustration from Tuchel.
Ziyech is certainly not a young player, which means even more questions will be asked regarding his future at the club and whether he is good enough.
I’m afraid all too often he is showing that he isn’t good enough for Chelsea when called upon, and that is concerning.
It’s great to have squad depth and it’s good to use it, but we need to see far more from this second string side when they are asked to step out onto the pitch, because the season is long and we will be playing many games.
The bottom line though is that Chelsea go though to the next round of the Carabao Cup, winning the tie on penalties.
But if you are Tuchel right now, you will be wanting much more from your squad players moving forward.
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