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Sky Sports expert wonders at Mike Ashley choosing John Carver ahead of Thomas Tuchel

1 week ago
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Thomas Tuchel has now been at Chelsea for exactly 19 days.

The 47 year old already having taken the West London club into the FA Cup quarter-finals and from ninth to fourth in the Premier League, if the blues beat Newcastle United on Monday night.

With four wins and a draw in five Chelsea games so far, plus only one goal conceded in eight hours of football.

Thomas Tuchel is already making his mark at Stamford Bridge but could it have been at Newcastle United instead?

The excellent ‘Jones Knows’ column on Sky Sports has been considering the ‘sliding doors’ moment back in January 2015 when John Carver took charge at St James Park as Newcastle United boss, Mike Ashley deciding on going with Carver when Alan Pardew walked away, rather than going for Thomas Tuchel.

The rest is history…

John Carver almost relegating Newcastle United from what looked an impossible position, in his first 19 games in charge picking up thirteen defeats, four draws and only two wins, before on the very final day of the season Jonas Gutierrez inspired Newcastle to a 2-0 win over West Ham that ensured NUFC weren’t relegated.

As for Thomas Tuchel, he then stayed at Mainz before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2015 and then PSG, before this latest move to Chelsea.

The Jones Knows column on Sky Sports gives excellent previews of Premier League matches from a betting perspective and even though he thinks Chelsea will eventually win 2-1 on Monday night, he doesn’t expect it to be easy.

In particular, he points to the potential of a match up between Allan Saint-Maximin and Cesar Azpilicueta, the Chelsea defender having a history of struggling against quick players who run at him, often / usually leaving to the Chelsea player being put under pressure and getting booked.

Here’s hoping Newcastle United get high enough up the pitch for pressure to be exerted on Monday night at Stamford Bridge.

The Jones Knows column on Sky Sports talking about Chelsea v Newcastle on Monday night:

“Newcastle and Thomas Tuchel had a big sliding doors moment in 2015. Tuchel – then manager of Mainz – was linked with the vacant Newcastle job in January 2015.

“But the decision-makers decided to appoint John Carver until end of season. Newcastle were subsequently relegated and Borussia Dortmund came calling for Tuchel. The rest is history.

“Six years later and Tuchel now faces Newcastle as Chelsea boss with a squad packed with quality and one that may have title ambitions this time next season. I’m yet to be fully convinced though as they’ve yet to face an attack capable of asking them severe questions. If Callum Wilson was fit for Newcastle, I’d probably have had a swing at the 12/1 for an away win. Chelsea shouldn’t be touched at 1/5 with Sky Bet but the match result and correct score market represent no strong betting angles in this one as I’m not convinced Newcastle will be ruthless enough with their finishing without Wilson.

“I certainly think they’ll give Chelsea a scare though playing their new-found brave pressing game that allows their defence to push up the pitch.

“Since switching to this diamond-like formation halfway through their defeat to Leeds with Miguel Almiron playing in the pocket, Newcastle are averaging nearly two goals a game and 14 shots a game. This makes the 5/4 for them to have nine or more shots at 5/4 very interesting and even the 12 or shots line at 11/2 should be given consideration.

“Another betting angle to consider is Cesar Azpilicueta to pick up a booking. He’s been an ever-present for Tuchel in the Premier League on the right of a back three but is prone to a late challenge on a speedy opponent. Eberechi Eze, Ademola Lookman, Anwar El Ghazi and Son Heung-min have all drawn bookings off the Spaniard this season and here he has to deal with the frightening prospect of keeping a lid on Allan Saint-Maximin.

“Since the start of last season, no player to have played more than 800 minutes averages more dribbles per-game than the winger (9.14) with 14 opposition players in that time picking up a booking for fouling the flying Frenchman.

“At 11/2 Azpilicueta looks ripe for a card.

“JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: Chelsea 2 Newcastle 1.”

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