Capital gains key to Chelsea's title bid as Tuchel plots clean sweep of London derby wins against West Ham

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Capital gains key to Chelsea’s title bid as Tuchel plots clean sweep of London derby wins against West Ham
© Chelsea FC via Getty Images thomas tuchel chelsea dec 21

If Chelsea are crowned Premier League champions this season, it will owe much to their capital gains, with Thomas Tuchel aiming to make it a full house of derby-day wins against West Ham on Saturday.

The German has so far proved himself the undisputed king of London by overcoming Arsenal, Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Brentford already this term. He threw in victory at Watford as well on Wednesday to keep up his formidable record.

Now just West Ham stand in his way of making it a perfect record against teams from the capital in the first half of the season. And those 15 points picked up along the way have proved the platform for Chelsea to get their noses in front of title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.

The old adage of form going out of the window in derbies has not stopped Chelsea from turning London blue.

Tuchel has relished the local rivalries and has come out on top on each occasion.

Be it Romelu Lukaku overpowering Arsenal in August or a half-time tactical switch outfoxing Tottenham a few weeks later, the German has come up with the answer to give Chelsea fans the bragging rights.

Even when Brentford threatened to cause a major upset in their west London showdown at Griffin Park in October, Chelsea rode their luck to come away with a 1-0 win. It was a similar story at Watford on Wednesday, with Tuchel admitting his side “stole” the points.

If the Premier League leaders are anything like as sloppy at the London Stadium on Saturday lunchtime, their proud record will be in serious jeopardy against David Moyes’s Champions League-chasing side.

Tuchel was heavily critical of his players at Vicarage Road, but also refused to dwell too long on arguably their poorest display of the season because he wanted to immediately switch the focus to West Ham.

Capital gains key to Chelsea’s title bid as Tuchel plots clean sweep of London derby wins against West Ham
© Provided by Evening Standard (Action Images via Reuters)

His main concern will be what team he can field, with a much-changed line-up contributing to the disjointed midweek display. Trevoh Chalobah damaged his hamstring to add to a growing injury list, but Jorginho is set to return after being rested against Watford.

Tuchel is hoping Reece James is fit enough to be involved after the late decision to leave him out on Wednesday after feeling the effects of the 1-1 draw with Manchester United, while N’Golo Kante is continuing his recovery from a twisted knee.

Romelu Lukaku could make his first start since spending a month on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Tuchel has been careful to manage the striker’s minutes since his return, using him as a substitute in the last two games.

Timo Werner is also in contention to start after being rested against Watford.

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