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Comment: Kai Havertz & Hakim Ziyech Need to React to Tough Selection Lesson Handed By Thomas Tuchel

After two defeats in five days, Chelsea needed to wake up, Thomas Tuchel needed to wake up. Change was needed. Changes were needed to freshen the team up, and to hand out stern reminders that below-par performances wouldn't be accepted.

Lacklustre 1-0 defeats to Manchester City and Juventus were that wake up call, for both Chelsea and Tuchel. 

Southampton arrived in west London on Saturday and were without a win in the Premier League this season. What could possibly go wrong? 


Tuchel was bold with his team selection. The likes of Trevoh Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi were all handed starts, rewarded for their performances in midweek against Juventus in Turin. 

Five changes were made, several made way, including Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech. Deservedly so too. The duo haven't been good enough this season. It was time for Tuchel to tell them how it was. Benching them was his way of sending a clear message to the pair. Even more so because they were both unused substitutes on Saturday. 

Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners against the Saints. Chalobah got on the scoresheet, Loftus-Cheek grabbed an assist, and Timo Werner scored his first goal in the league since April. There were plenty of positives for the Blues and Tuchel heading into the international break. 


Havertz and Ziyech would've been hurt by their droppings at the weekend, but they have no reason to complain. Their performances in recent weeks justified Tuchel's selection. 

Tuchel was extremely honest post-match about the German and Moroccan. They haven't been decisive enough. It was time for others to get a run out. Havertz has one assist and one goal in nine games this season, while Ziyech has scored one this season in six which came back in August against Villarreal in the Super Cup before going off injured. 

"We always try to do our best to get the players in the best shape but at some point, after a lot of chances, we have to admit that Kai and Hakim are not in their very best shape," Tuchel said in his post-match press conference.

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"That may not even be their fault it's just like this at the moment. They struggle at the moment to be decisive.

"But we had a period after pre-season when Kai and Hakim were very decisive for us.

"Hakim was a key player throughout our preparation and in his first game against Villarreal in the Super Cup. Kai also delivered the assist for Hakim's goal."

Tuchel will continue to back his attackers but told the pair they have to prove themselves to get back in the side, otherwise they will continue to be on the bench.

He added: "They have maybe lost a bit of belief, confidence, whatever. We will not stop trying to boost them. Nobody is angry at them and nobody has major concerns, but we have to pay attention to the actual form."


Ziyech was unfortunate with injury against Villarreal. Havertz hasn't kicked on since the Champions League final goal against Manchester City in May.

Something has to change. Sooner rather than later too. 

Ziyech has to start becoming more creative for Chelsea. He looks a shadow of his Ajax form, which hasn't really been seen since his switch to Stamford Bridge. If he can't rediscover that form, he will continue to fall down the pecking order should other players' form continue to rise, with Christian Pulisic also yet to return from injury.

Tuchel's decision to drop the pair entirely has to serve as a wake up call. He's called them out publicly, and most likely spoken to them privately, that they have to improve. Chelsea have a deep enough squad to cope without them. That was shown on Saturday with Hudson-Odoi's performance on the left-wing. 

Werner could be revitalised following his first league goal since April. Mason Mount is a guaranteed starter under Tuchel in the attack. Places are limited in the Chelsea side, and chances will continue to be at a premium for Havertz and Ziyech if they can't reward their boss when the chance comes to shine on the pitch.

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