Merson claims Chelsea are ‘missing’ one of two Prem stars

Paul Merson thinks Chelsea are “missing” a player like Wolves star Ruben Neves or Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

After an amazing start to the season under Thomas Tuchel, the Blues have dipped in recent weeks, losing their place on top of the Premier League table.

Two wins in their last five league matches has seen Chelsea slip down the Premier League table to third, three points behind Liverpool and a further point adrift of leaders Manchester City.

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Tuchel’s side have been missing N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic in recent weeks but Merson still thinks Chelsea are short of a player “who sprays the ball around”.

“I think Chelsea are missing a Neves. I think they’re missing a player who can spray the ball round the pitch,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“Kovacic likes taking players on, Jorginho won’t kick the ball further than 10 yards, just keeps it going, Kante’s an all-around-the-pitch kind of player.

“They’ve got no one who sprays the ball around, like a Ward-Prowse or a Neves.

“The amount of times the other night [against Everton] when they made runs, the front three, where they ran and then they spun, and no one’s hitting them, no one’s hitting them.

“That’s the problem for me, Chelsea need someone who’s spraying the ball about. Kante’s not going to hit that ball.”

“I think they’ve got to get back in the [Covid] bubbles…”

Paul Merson and the rest of the Soccer Saturday crew share their thoughts on the ongoing coronavirus crisis in the Premier League

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 18, 2021

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel has vowed not to take Chelsea fans’ frustrations personally as the boss bids to lift the Blues out of their mini slump.

“I refuse to take it personally, these things happen and I can just tell everyone that we need the support,” Tuchel said on Saturday.

“We need the players at the top level and we need the supporters at the top level. Especially when things get a bit tough and a bit tight.

“OK… booing happens but I don’t think it was for the performance. The people were disappointed.

“They came to support us and in the end they were disappointed and we were as well.

“In our statistics and everything it should have been a clear win. The feeling would be totally different if we sat here now after a 3-0 win and we would be praising the players, how they dealt with the situation having five or six players out on the matchday and still producing a performance like this.

“Who do we blame now? Mason Mount for not scoring in the first half or Reece James for not scoring? I will never, ever do this.”


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