West Ham United stunned Chelsea 3-1 at London Stadium in a Premier League match last Sunday. They bounced back on Friday; granted they played the newly promoted Luton Town at Stamford Bridge. Their 3-0 win against Luton was their first of the season. Still, Chelsea’s 2022-23 struggles persist.
The loss to West Ham came as a shock to Mauricio Pochettino’s team after the huge spending they have done in the ongoing Summer Transfer Window. The problems evident on the day carried over to Friday, despite the three points.
Chelsea Have Some Big Problems to Sort
Raheem Sterling and Enzo Fernandez impressive for Chelsea
Chelsea dominated ball-possession in both matches. From the very beginning against West Ham, a flurry of short passes worked all around the park. They finished the match with 76% possession and completed 716 passes, which was more than thrice the number of passes played by West Ham. It was much the same against Luton Town despite the visitors putting up a valiant attempt.
Nicolas Jackson once again impressed with his tenacity, work rate and speed, but was contained by the pair of the West Ham centre-backs. Luton town also were able to frustrate for large periods, limiting Chelsea especially in the first half (1-0 at halftime).
Enzo Fernandez’s long deliveries into the box and Sterling’s runs to breach the West Ham defence. Fernandez reminded one of Andrea Pirlo with his chipped through passes and long deliveries, but was guilty of missing a penalty in the first half.
However, the player who stood out for the Blues was Raheem Sterling, who kept making marauding runs into the West Ham box through the inside-right channel repeatedly. He gave a torrid time to West Ham’s left-back Emerson in the first half. The home side gave special attention to Sterling by employing Paqueta to drop down and help Emerson tackle the threat posed by him.
Luton Town didn’t do much better, as Sterling made good to open the scoring in the first half. Sterling scored a brace against Luton Town to mark two successive very impressive performances, which will ease some of Pochettino’s worries.
Sure, there were positives, but there are also some important problems to address. Namely what to do with the newcomers.
New Signings Collectively Failing to Impress
Concern for Axel Disasi?
One thing of concern for Pochettino should be the disappointing performance of his new signings. Axel Disasi was responsible for West Ham’s second goal, as he gave away the ball softly and then failed to match Michail Antonio’s speed.
Moses Caicedo: too early to judge?
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Then, the new transfer Moises Caicedo came in as a substitute in the second half and gave away a penalty with a clumsy challenge inside the box. It was a forgettable debut for the Ecuadorian midfielder for the Blues. Moreover, youngsters like Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke also failed to have the impact that was expected of them.
Enzo Fernandez’s quality passing notwithstanding, the Blues also a lack a proper creative player aside from Sterling, which makes them sort of predictable in their attacks. Moreover, they looked vulnerable against counter-attacks and set-pieces, which will make their upcoming opponents take note.
It is undoubtedly too early to judge the new players, but a defeat like the one on Sunday would not have done their confidence any good. Perhaps the Luton Town game left some reason for optimism, but the fact remains that Chelsea are too much dependent on their full-backs to launch their attacks. Their absence or lack of form can seriously affect their chances in a match when faced with stiffer competition.