Thomas Tuchel had barely put a foot wrong since succeeding Frank Lampard, but defeat in the FA Cup final was a reminder that nobody is infallible.
Certainly, Tammy Abraham’s girlfriend Leah Monroe thought the striker, who will finish the season as the top goalscorer in the FA Cup after netting four times in the competition, should have at least been on the substitutes’ bench against Leicester City.
In a message posted on Instagram shortly after Chelsea had failed to score in what was a toothless performance, Monroe wrote: “How on earth do you make the decision to leave your top goalscorer out of the squad for a final!?!
“The same person who even scored the goals to actually qualify for this competition? It’s not making any sense to me whatsoever.”
She also added: “Not even the bench?! This has to be a joke.”
The post was deleted, but Monroe was not alone in questioning why Abraham was not involved in the squad as Tuchel maintained his policy of preferring Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud.
Werner largely had a day to forget, while Havertz and Giroud made little impact from the substitutes’ bench as Chelsea failed to hit back from a stunning striker from Youri Tielemans.
Chelsea thought they had equalised at the death, but Var ruled that substitute Ben Chilwell had been offside before delivering the cross that saw Wes Morgan bundle the ball into his own net.
Chilwell also had a header touched on to the post by Kasper Schmeichel and Chelsea clearly carried more attacking threat after the introduction of the former Leicester star against his old club.
Tuchel claimed that his decision to start with Marcos Alonso had been based on the Spaniard’s greater experience and his aerial ability, but the move proved to be a negative one.
Alonso did not do too much wrong defensively, but he did not provide Chelsea with the same kind of threat that Chilwell can offer.
For all his brilliance as a coach and an innovator, Tuchel has faced accusations of not being positive enough in finals at his previous clubs and this may have been another example of it.
Given the quality of the strike from Tielemans, it would be harsh to blame Leicester’s goal on Kepa Arrizabalaga and yet it is a fact that Edouard Mendy is taller than him and may have been able to get a fingertip to the ball.
Mendy has been outstanding for Chelsea this season, but Tuchel played Kepa in two of the club’s most important games of the season, against Arsenal and Leicester, and the Blues lost both of them.
Schmeichel proved crucial for Leicester, saving from Mason Mount and Chilwell, and it remains an oddity when managers and coaches favour their deputy goalkeepers for finals for no other reason than they had played in the previous rounds.
Having not won a trophy last season, Chelsea are not currently in a position to start picking and choosing their cups so starting the first-choice goalkeeper would have surely sent out a stronger message of intent.
Tuchel, of course, has enough credit in the bank to be allowed to get a few decisions wrong, but he will know that he must get Tuesday night’s re-match in the Premier League, with a top-four place at stake, spot on.