Chelsea’s disappointing start to the season continued with a goalless draw at Bournemouth. Here’s four interesting talking points from the game…
Same old problems
Chelsea’s biggest issue last season was a lack of goals scored, and that has continued into this season despite another summer of change and a new manager in Mauricio Pochettino. They failed to score in the defeat to Nottingham Forest in their last game and again failed to find the net against Bournemouth, spuring several good opportunities to do so.
Raheem Sterling went closest with his second-half free-kick which struck the woodwork and was unlucky not to find the net. But too often Chelsea either chose the wrong option in the final third which saw their chance of scoring vanish or decrease dramatically, or poor finishing let them down. Nicolas Jackson struggled up top, hitting the post in the first half with a decent strike but too often his shots were wayward and off target.
Two sides of MudrykEmbed from Getty Images
Chelsea’s injury crisis presented several players with the opportunity to impress from the start, including winger Mykhailo Mudryk. The 22-year-old has struggled to live up to the pressure of his £88.5m price tag since joining the club in January and his display against Bournemouth perfectly summarised his time at the club so far.
There were glimpses of brilliance going forward, especially his link-up play with Jackson in the first half which resulted in the striker hitting the post. There were other occasions where his speed and direct running caused huge problems for Bournemouth and there is no doubting the threat he poses when running with the ball.
But there are problems when it comes to his ability to retain possession. Too often the Ukrainian loses possession far too easily, which was reflected in a spell at the end of the first half when a loose touch presented Bournemouth with a good chance before another minutes later saw him make a late lunge and receive a yellow card. The potential is frightening, but he has to cut out the errors and be more reliable if he wants to establish himself in the first 11.
Enzo strugglesEmbed from Getty Images
Another of Chelsea’s big money January additions, Enzo Fernandez, has impressed this season in his more advanced role but struggled to have any sort of impact against Bournemouth. The midfielder was marked tightly by Lewis Cook, who made a point of aggressively pressing him whenever he got on the ball. He looked tired at times, perhaps a result of travelling to play with Argentina during the recent international break, and did not do enough for his team.
Palmer’s promiseEmbed from Getty Images
New signing Cole Palmer again came off the bench for Chelsea, replacing Mudryk, and showed real promise. He looked calm and composed on the ball, consistently picking the right option, and posed a threat down the right and while drifting into the middle when the opportunity arose. It surely isn’t long before we see him starting a game for Pochettino’s side.