Chelsea’s woes in the English Premier League continued on Sunday evening, when they failed to even get out of first gear against Nottingham Forest, stumbling to a point..
The Blues took the lead early in the game thanks to a bizarre goal from Raheem Sterling. Forest grew into the game and deservedly scored just past the hour mark through Serge Aurier.
Both teams had chances, but the Blues can thank their lucky stars for escaping with a point from The City Ground. And the Daily Star Sport is looking at what Graham Potter got right and wrong.
RIGHT – Trusting Denis Zakaria
Denis Zakaria was expected to be one of the Premier League season’s flops when even Chelsea fans forgot he was a member of the Blues’ squad this season.
Potter, on the other hand, has recently put his faith in the Swiss midfielder, and he’s reaping the benefits. Zakaria was once again excellent in midfield for Chelsea, earning praise from Blues fans online.
With fixtures coming thick and fast until May, Chelsea will need to rely on their squad depth if they are to compete for European spots – and Zakaria could prove invaluable..
WRONG – Failing to address set-pieces
As Forest applied increasing pressure to Potter’s side in the second half, Chelsea’s defending became increasingly desperate and erratic, which was most visible during set-pieces.
While Chelsea were able to deal with the first ball, it was often only half-cleared, allowing Forest to drag Chelsea into a scrappy match. It was precisely under these conditions that Aurier scored his first goal, squeezing the ball home.
When a ball was whipped into the area, Steve Cooper’s side put Chelsea on the back foot.
WRONG – Failing to energize the team.
Chelsea appeared to be suffering from a severe World Cup hangover at The City Ground, as the Blues trailed from the start.
Sterling’s opener was a stroke of luck, while Forest’s equalizer was simply a case of Cooper’s team wanting the ball more. Chelsea’s energy levels were evident in more ways than just the two goals.
Across the pitch, Forest players were winning almost every 50/50 battle – and Potter’s substitutions didn’t help instill any life into the side.
WRONG – Failure to change the right-hand side
Forest’s best chances came down the right side, where César Azpilicueta and Kalidou Koulibaly struggled to contain Taiwo Awoniyi..
Azpilicueta was shown a yellow card early on, and Awoniyi was able to easily isolate Koulibaly in one-on-one situations throughout the game. Koulibaly didn’t look like himself, and Azpilicueta remained silent throughout the fight.
However, Awoniyi struggled defensively as well, and Chelsea had some success attacking down the same wing..