Why Reece James Played at Centre-Back for Chelsea During FA Cup Final Defeat to Leicester City

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Thomas Tuchel has revealed why Reece James played at centre-back over Cesar Azpilicueta for Chelsea during their FA Cup final defeat to Leicester City.

When the teams were announced, with both James and Cesar Azpilicueta in the starting eleven, it appeared James would be playing wing-back, with Azpilicueta at right centre-back. But as soon as the final got underway it proved not to be the case, their roles had switched.

Despite this, James proved himself in the right centre-back role. Pretty much flawless all game at the back, dealing with Jamie Vardy, however did make a big passing error in the build up to Leicester's opener, which proved to be the difference and match-winning goal - an outstanding strike from Youri Tielemans. 

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After the match, in down mood Tuchel explained his reasoning and thinking behind playing James at centre-back and hailed his contribution despite the defeat.

What Thomas Tuchel said 

"Reecey played in the back three and we put Azpi up higher. They changed the position because we know about the favourite position of Jamie Vardy in transition and we wanted to have Reecey’s power, Reecey’s acceleration, and top speed against him to eliminate this threat. He did fantastic today. Very very happy.

"On the same side, we wanted to have Azpi a bit higher because with his experience and his character he takes a bit more risk than Reecey in the last line. If Azpi could have scored the first goal and it was not deflected before him, it would have been a great decision.

"Now it is a normal decision, but it is a decision for tactical reasons and for Reecey’s top speed and I’m very happy how we defended in general today."


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