Tuchel 'not aware' Stamford Bridge would not be full for Chelsea vs Arsenal

21:21 EAT 19/04/2022
Thomas Tuchel Chelsea Champions League 2021-22
The Blues boss insists the team will not be negatively impacted by the empty seats caused by sanctions on Roman Abramovich

Thomas Tuchel admits he was not aware Stamford Bridge will not be full for Chelsea’s match against Arsenal on Wednesday, but believes the fans who will be present will make up for those who cannot attend.

The Blues are unable to sell match tickets because of sanctions placed on the club’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich last month following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

That means only 25,000 season ticket holders will attend Wednesday’s game in a stadium that holds more than 40,000.

What did Tuchel say?

Although he admitted not knowing about the restricted crowd, Tuchel was insistent it would not prove to be an advantage to the Gunners.

The German cited last season's win at home to Leicester, which was played in front of a limited crowd because of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

“It's not an advantage. We want to play home matches in front of a full stadium. The game is for the spectators and supporters so that’s bad news actually. I was not aware of it,” he said.

“Maybe someone told me and I forgot it, this is possible, but let's turn things around on it.

"Maybe everybody [the supporters] are aware of this and push a little bit more because we lack quantity but should not lack quality of support. I can only remind everybody of the match against Leicester last season of the Covid situation – it was first occasion spectators were allowed at the Bridge.

"There was like 15,000 and all the players said it felt like a full stadium. Hopefully, we can be the spark to bring everybody into that kind of mood to give a little bit more than normal.”

The bigger picture

The inability to sell match tickets was just one of a wide range of sanctions imposed on Abramovich by the Unied Kingdom government in March.

This will be the first time that sanction will directly impact a home game, as tickets for matches before now had already been sold.

Abramovich has also since put the club for sale after 19 years in charge of the Londoners, with a decision on who takes over the club expected by the end of the season.

Further reading