Todd Boehly and Thomas Tuchel left with many questions as Chelsea stumble over the finish line

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helsea will finish third – but they will have to wait until the last day of the season to confirm their position as best of the rest behind Manchester City and Liverpool.

A 1-1 draw with Leicester means Tottenham would need to close an 18-goal difference to see them overtake their fierce rivals on Sunday.

It represents progress for Thomas Tuchel in the Premier League, at least, after fourth place last season – but there’s no denying that his side are stumbling over the line.

Failure to beat Leicester takes them to just three wins from their last nine league games as a grueling campaign has taken its toll.

It’s a legitimate factor in their season-ending slump – having played 62 games this term – but it should also be noted that Liverpool’s four-time pursuit have been involved in one less and are still aiming for an unprecedented trophy sweep.

These are the levels Chelsea must aspire to if they are to mount a proper title in Tuchel’s second full season in charge. And the brutal truth is that they feel far from it.

Especially considering the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, as well as aging members Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.

The bottom two of that trio have struggled for much of this campaign. Can we really expect them to lead the charge over the next 12 months?

These are questions that Tuchel and Todd Boehly need to discuss. And the new owner must know that improvements are needed after failing to see Chelsea win in person since launching their bid to buy the club.

Not much can be gleaned from this game, which has had the distinct feel of an end-of-season affair throughout.

With Champions League qualification already secured for Chelsea, it lacked any sense of danger and felt like one game too many in an arduous campaign.

Combined with the fact that the sanctions meant only season ticket holders were allowed inside, the atmosphere was flat.

Still, Tuchel had spoken of the need to show progress, year after year – perhaps in a bid to sharpen his players’ minds.

He also showed his intention by naming a strong squad, with Mason Mount being the only one of his fully fit players to be left out of the starting XI.

But Chelsea’s hopes of victory were dealt an early blow when James Maddison opened the scoring after six minutes.

It was a quality finish from the England international – curling a shot from outside the box – but defensively it was sloppy.

New owner Todd Boehly has yet to see Chelsea win in person

/ Getty Images

Marcos Alonso allowed Timothy Castagne to break his blind side to play the ball for Maddison, whose flurry from midfield was not followed by N’Golo Kante.

Thiago Silva – albeit exposed – then stood on the sidelines for too long, inviting the Leicester man to shoot.

Chelsea were off the pace in a decidedly one-paced affair.

But one player who seemed determined to shake things up was the exceptional Reece James.

He finished the match in a virtual free role – swapping between the front three and midfield – after dominating throughout.

And it was a quality moment from him who leveled the score after 35 minutes.

Advancing down the inside right channel, he sent a perfect cross to Alonso, who made up for his share in Leicester’s goal by flying from close range.

That should have allowed Chelsea to go on and take the three points – but they lacked the energy and inspiration to take advantage of it.

They dominated possession after the break but rarely created any serious openings.

Christian Pulisic was guilty of wasting his best chance when he only needed to push Romelu Lukaku’s cross into an empty net. But with the gaping goal, the American managed to shoot wide.

Tuchel made changes – largely giving James increasingly free license to find areas to hurt Leicester – but a share of the points was probably a fair result.

The top three are all but sealed off, but there’s still a long way to go to threaten the top two.


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