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Friday, May 20, 2022

Thomas Tuchel has already found Chelsea's next Eden Hazard following Leicester draw

  Reece James registered his eighth assist of the Premier League season on Thursday night, equalling a record set by former Blues winger ...

 

Reece James registered his eighth assist of the Premier League season on Thursday night, equalling a record set by former Blues winger Eden Hazard.

Chelsea drew 1-1 with Leicester City on Thursday night in their penultimate home game of the Premier League season as James Maddison opened the scoring before Marcos Alonso equalised before half-time, volleying home James' cross.

The England international took his assist tally for the season up to eight in the English top-flight , matching a record set by Hazard nine years ago.

Thomas Tuchel's side confirmed their third-place finish with the point against the Foxes due to the Blues' significantly better goal difference over Tottenham in the league table, having secured Champions League football for next season after results went their way last week.

James will be part of a new defensive unit next season with the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen set to leave once their contracts expire at the end of the season.

James' assist for Alonso's equaliser saw the Chelsea academy graduate take his Premier League assist tally to eight, the most by a player aged 22 or under in a single campaign for the Blues since Hazard in the 2012/13 season.

The England international now has the second-most combined goals and assists for a defender in the division with 13, sandwiched between Liverpool pairing Andy Robertson (12) and Trent Alexander- Arnold (14).

James has shown he can perform at the highest level on a consistent basis this season and continues to be a brilliant outlet for the Blues, picking up clever positions when roaming forward to make the difference with his delivery or finishing ability.

England are blessed with talented right-backs, with James fighting Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker for a starting spot in Gareth Southgate's team. The 22-year-old has shown throughout the season that he can influence games at both ends of the pitch, having the energy to continuously get up and down the right flank to defend and attack.

Tuchel will need to rebuild his defence this summer, but with James on the right and Ben Chilwell to return on the left next season, the German manager can solely focus on strengthening the heart of the defence knowing he has quality for years to come at either wing-back position.

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