April 14, 2024

Chelsea’s early goalscoring issues are the focus despite heavy spending


LONDON– Chelsea may be an ever-changing entity these days, but Sunday 1-3 defeat at West Ham United stressed that their inability to take risks remains a worrying constant.

The last forward to score more than 20 goals in a year premier league The best season for the Blues was Diego Costa in the 2016–17 season, which was not coincidentally the last league win.

More recently, Thomas Tuchel has inherited the problem from former head coach Frank Lampard and has tackled it by making the Blues the strongest defensive team in Europe and securing an unlikely 2021 for himself Champions League The triumph rested on defensive solidity.

The blues brought in Romelu Lukaku this summer to solve the problem. While expected goalscoring should always be taken as a guide and not gospel, Chelsea’s waste has been evident for some time: in the 2020-21 league season their xG was 62.9 but they only scored 58 goals – in comparison to master Manchester City83 goals (of 68.9), Manchester Unitedis 73 (60.9) and Liverpoolis 68 (68.3).

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Under Tuchel’s successor Graham Potter, Chelsea stayed 7.4 below his xG during his tenure – the worst margin of any side since his appointment last September (21 goals at 28.4 xG).

The solution to the problem now lies with Mauricio Pochettino, who received a crash course on the details here at the London Stadium. Although West Ham manager David Moyes admitted that “[Chelsea] “Were the better team for long stretches,” said the Blues in their first defeat of the season.

They held the game firmly 1-1 after recovering from a poor start and dominated most of the first half. After Nayef Aguerd had given West Ham the lead after seven minutes and Carney Chukwuemeka He equalized with his first senior goal and the game turned Enzo Fernandez‘s missed the penalty two minutes before the break. Hammer’s goalkeeper Alphonse Areola flew to the right to ward off a weak Fernandez try and after Chukwuemeka limped away, Chelsea never regained control of the game in the second half.

Pochettino opted to replace Chukwuemeka with Mykhailo Mudryk instead of New British record deal worth £115m Moises Caicedowho was probably not fit enough for a longer than 30-minute mission due to his substitution Ben Chillwell on the hour mark. At this time Mikhail Antonio showed Chelsea what clinical finishing looks like when collecting James Ward-ProwseThe £30m Southampton man’s pass provided two assists for the £30m man before slinging a shot wide Robert Sanchez from the edge of the box.

Aguerd was rightly sent off due to a failure Nicholas Jackson after 67 minutes which meant Chelsea continued to dominate possession but then they had managed to do that all afternoon anyway: they had 78% possession in the first half when Aguerd left it was still over 70% and the final Value was 75%.

Still, they failed to translate that superiority into the result. Chelsea had 17 shots and West Ham 12, but managed a shot on target after Fernandez missed a penalty – as a substitute in the second minute of added time Noni MaduekeThe shot was deflected.

The chances dried up, but they had already created enough threatening moments long before that to decide the game beyond West Ham. Instead, this became one of those structured, resilient defensive plays that Hammers boss Moyes has made his career off of.

“With teams like us we have to find the right balance,” said Pochettino. “I think today there were a couple of actions that we didn’t handle well and we conceded goals. We create a lot of chances and did well in the first half. We should have won the game with our first half.”

“In the second half with another individual action we collect again. To find the space to create clear opportunities.” [is difficult] But overall it’s this type of game that’s hard to explain. You had the ball, you make it and maybe you were the better team, but in the end you lose.”

Last season there were rumors that Chelsea’s problems in front of goal had turned into a psychological one, but Pochettino insisted he didn’t inherit a collective mental block.

“No, I certainly can’t see anything like that. This is a new team, new players. I don’t feel what has happened here in the last few years,” he said.

It is of course inevitable that Chelsea will need time to become a cohesive team. While £850m (just over $1bn) can be signed a multitude of talented peopleOnly time and work can form a team. These components must eliminate errors.

Fernandez, signed for £105.8m in January, looked unconvincing from the penalty spot while Caicedo, who replaced him as England’s most expensive player, marred his debut by conceding a late penalty Lucas Paqueta converted, which triggered a mass exodus of the Chelsea fans who had traveled with them.

However, Chelsea cannot escape the problems in front of goal, nor can Pochettino, despite the dramatic and profound personnel change. The team can count more captains (three) than goals (two) this season: ReeceJamesDue to an injury, Chilwell had to take the armband before it was passed on to him Thiago Silvawho also captained the draw against Liverpool last week.

In a sign of how bizarre this game was, Nicolas Jackson led the line with a tinge of quality and purpose, working diligently without pressing the ball, Pochettino style. Raheem Sterling was a regular threat causing panic in West Ham’s defense on numerous occasions and yet they needed a midfielder to score here after the defender Axel Disasi scored their only goal against Liverpool.

“To dominate a game at a stadium like West Ham’s, you have to take your chances. This is the Premier League and they will come back to haunt you,” Sterling told Sky Sports.

Cynics will argue that Chelsea could simply sign another striker, but that’s a thorny issue given what Jackson and Jackson say Christopher Nkunkuwhose season is expected to start in the new year after knee surgery.

Pochettino suggested that on Friday Armando Broja could fill the gap but he has been out of action since December with knee surgery and despite all his promises the 21-year-old has only scored seven league goals so far. But somewhere in the midst of all the upheaval, Chelsea’s ability in front of goal has yet to change.

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