The manager of Chelsea football club, Thomas Tuchel has stressed that the presence of fans at Villa Park on Sunday, May 23, might work against his players when they face Aston Villa in their last league game of the season.
Recall that since the second half of last season, most football clubs in the United Kingdom have been playing their games behind closed doors due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, the UK government lifted the ban preventing spectators from gaining entrance into match venues. Hence, Aston Villa would host 10,000 supporters for the first time since March 2020.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, they will be the first club that will play against Aston Villa in the presence of their 10,000 supporters. Unlike Aston Villa that are placed on the 11th spot on the league table, Chelsea need a win against Villa to guarantee their place in the top four.
Thomas Tuchel and his boys are currently occupying the 3rd spot on the league table with 67 points in 37 games. Behind them, they have 4th placed Liverpool with 66 points in 37 games, and 5th placed Leicester City with 66 points in 37 games.
This means that any slip in Chelsea’s game against Aston Villa could see the club drop from the 3rd spot down to the 4th or even out of the top four entirely depending on the performance of the two clubs behind them.
Naturally, Aston Villa who have won 15 league games and drawn 7 are not an easy nut to crack. Hence, the availability of their fans on the stand at 16:00 on Sunday could be an additional motivation for them according to Thomas Tuchel.
He said: “They [Aston Villa supporters] will not be fans for us and they will have the effect for their side. It’s an advantage. It makes things absolutely more difficult, no doubt about it.
“But it’s so much nicer and such a different game to play with spectators. We know it increases the challenge and increases the adversity, but we are here to step up.”
Besides the distraction, Aston Villa’s supporters might produce during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Aston Villa, one of the distractions Thomas Tuchel would have to battle with is trying to know what is happening in other match venues.
Recall that all the last Premier League games of the season are scheduled to be played simultaneously on Sunday which means that as Chelsea are playing at Villa Park, Liverpool will be battling it out with Crystal Palace at Anfield, and West Ham United will be battling it out with Southampton at London Stadium.
Ahead of the must-win Premier League game against Villa, Thomas regretted that all the matches in the league would be played at the same time and revealed that his eyes would also be in the games involving Liverpool and West Ham United.
Tuchel said: “For a long period of the game I want to be in a bubble. “If in the end, we have results that influence the amount of risk we should take – because we are not leading or whatever – then we need to know.
“We need to be professional. I prefer not to know, but if it’s necessary, we need to know to adapt our risk management during the game. I think this is quite normal.”