Goals, contracts, and a quiet star: What Thomas Tuchel must sort out at Chelsea during the international break

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Goals, contracts, and a quiet star: What Thomas Tuchel must sort out at Chelsea during the international break
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Chelsea are top of the Premier League and looking good to qualify in Europe, but that does not mean Thomas Tuchel’s inbox will be empty during the international break.

A 1-1 draw with Burnley going into the fortnight off reminded the Blues that they are not impervious to upsets, having also squeezed past Malmo in the Champions League.

There are also matters off the pitch to contend with as a number of Chelsea stars head towards the end of their contracts.

Here, Standard Sport’s James Robson details where the German should focus his efforts in the coming days.

Sharpen the cutting edge

Thomas Tuchel was sarcastic when asked about Chelsea’s failure to kill off Burnley last week – but it has been a common theme of his time in charge at Stamford Bridge.

For all of Chelsea’s control in the majority of their games, there is still a wastefulness in front of goal that cost them two points against Sean Dyche’s strugglers.

Tuchel was understandably defensive of his team, given their outstanding start to the season – but he is still to find the right balance in attack.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

He has bemoaned his side’s finishing enough since taking over in January and it would be strange if he was completely unconcerned by the chances that continue to go begging.

While he can expect Romelu Lukaku back after the international break, the Belgian has had his own problems up front – failing to score in his last seven games before suffering his ankle injuries.

The frightening prospect for Chelsea’s rivals is just how much more of a threat they will be if Tuchel can solve the problems in attack.

Key players’ futures

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

With January approaching, the futures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in particular will come sharper into focus.

Chelsea have been in negotiations with the pair since the summer in the hope of tying them down to long-term deals, but with each week that passes without a new contract being signed, the greater the chance of them walking away for nothing.

They can talk to suitors from abroad in January, with interest in both already high.

Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta are also out of contract at the end of the season – but the priorities will be Rudiger and Christensen.

Get Saul going

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Saul Niguez’s biggest impact on Chelsea so far has been his effect on Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley, who have reacted to his arrival by resurrecting their Stamford Bridge careers.

But his current status behind both of those players in Tuchel’s pecking order points to his struggles since his deadline day move from Atletico Madrid.

It was believed the extra competition would also drive on Mateo Kovacic, but Saul was signed primarily for his performances on the pitch.

Chelsea have seen little of the player who was once considered one of the best midfielders in Europe. More time on the training pitch during this international break might just see him make an impression on Tuchel.

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