Thomas Tuchel discovers his own Bruno Fernandes solving Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah transfer mistake

Reece James has been ranked as the Premier League’s second best goal creator so far this season behind only former Blue Mohamed Salah.

Reece James has marked his fantastic start to the season by ranking among one of the Premier League’s most fruit-bearing goal creators.

The 21-year-old right-back has flourished under Thomas Tuchel’s revamped utilisation of wing-backs, directly contributing towards six goals so far this campaign, averaging 1.47 contributions per 90 minutes.

Ben Chilwell, his wing-back counterpart, has enjoyed as much success as James under the German boss’ new tactical regime, finding the net three times already this season adding to the twelve scored by Chelsea’s defenders in the Premier League.

While Tuchel’s back-line has reaped success in the final third, the rest of the west London side haven’t quite been able to follow on in the same vein – taking the saying, ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ too literally.

Chelsea’s midfielders and forwards have netted just twelve in the Premier League thus far as well with the primary source of goals coming from Mason Mount (three) and Romelu Lukaku (three).

But, as Tuchel continues to shift his front-line into gear, the Blues boss has been able to rely on one of Europe’s best creative forces per 90 minutes –

Only Mohamed Salah has a better average goal contribution per 90 (1.60) in the Premier League this season than Chelsea’s right-back.

James sits beyond his positional competitors, leaving them scrambling in his wake; Manchester City’s Kyle Walker (0) and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (0.39) both trail.

The Cobham graduate has etched himself into a league of his own beating some of the Premier League’s best performers this season to the silver medal.

Neither of Bruno Fernandes (0.74), Michail Antonio (1.00), Gabriel Jesus (1.00), Sadio Mane (0.66) or Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy (0.85) have managed to emulate the same consistency James has and much of this has to be credited to Tuchel.

Speaking earlier in the month the Chelsea boss labelled his wing-backs as ‘midfielders’ rather than defenders, detailing the freedom his system has offered James and Chilwell on the wings.

“I think the statistic [goals scored] will look a bit different if you interpret the wing-backs more as midfielders,” he said, despite the notion still ranking his right-back above United’s Fernandes.

“If you play in a back three it is not really a full-back position, more a midfield position. I would not call them defenders.”


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