Enzo Fernandez leads stats yet Chelsea scoring woes persist

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Enzo Fernandez of Chelsea FC during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on September 02, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Enzo Fernandez of Chelsea FC during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on September 02, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) /

Chelsea’s Premier League campaign has commenced with an air of uncertainty, as the Blues find themselves entering the international break with a solitary victory from four outings, amassing four points in total. This unfortunate sequence places CFC at an uncharacteristic 12th position in the league standings, marking the club’s most lackluster start to a season since the distant memory of 1995. Such results are particularly perplexing given the staggering billion-dollar investment funnelled into the squad across three transfer windows. Not only are the expectations of The Blue Army sky-high, but their rivals too anticipated a more formidable challenge from the West London club.

Mauricio Pochettino’s tenure at Stamford Bridge has been characterized by a single league triumph, over newly-promoted and struggling Luton Town. Yet, a deeper dive into the statistics reveals a tale that diverges from these results.

Despite their frustrating start, Chelsea has exhibited some commendable figures in key areas of the game. The Blues presently lead the league in possession, boasting an impressive 70.5%. This showcases their ability to dictate the tempo of matches. Their capability to progress the ball into the final third stands out with (86) successful carries into this crucial area, and they rank second in total passes completed (2595) and passes into the final third (198). Additionally, Chelsea sits third in passes into the opposition’s penalty area (56), touches within the opponent’s penalty area (161), and expected goals (xG) at 8.3, tied with Arsenal.

At the heart of CFC’s attacking endeavors stands the 22-year-old Argentine prodigy, Enzo Fernandez. The club’s £106.8 million signing has excelled in several pivotal areas, leading the league in numerous statistical categories:

Most passes into the final third: 51

Most passes into the penalty box: 17

Most progressive passes: 64

Most Through Balls: 8

Touches: 443 (5th in the league)

These statistics underline Fernandez’s pivotal role in facilitating the team’s progressive play and highlight the attacking freedom he has been granted, particularly following the signing of Moises Caicedo. However, they also underscore CFC’s ongoing struggle to convert potential chances into goals. The club leads the league in big chances missed (11), ranks second in miscontrols (75) and dispossessions (47), and sports a shot accuracy of 25.8%, the third-worst in the league.

Chelsea’s shot accuracy is an area of concern. Despite an average of 16.50 shots per game, only 4.25 find their mark. This puts Chelsea in a precarious position, with only Burnley (22.6%) and Luton Town (11.4%) posting worse percentages. While injuries have played a role, exemplified by the makeshift deployment of Ben Chilwell as a left-winger, the squad undoubtedly possesses the quality to perform at a higher standard.

Miscontrols during attacking or transition phases have exposed Chelsea to dangerous counterattacks, highlighting the team’s vulnerability. Most goals conceded this season have stemmed from individual errors or lapses in concentration.

With Reece James, Christopher Nkunku, and Carney Chukwuemeka coming back from injury, Chelsea’s overall quality will receive a considerable boost. The statistics undeniably reveal the team’s ability to create scoring opportunities. Still, there’s an urgent need to sharpen their finishing product and demand improved decision-making from the players.

CFC’s early-season tribulations emanate from the disparity between their dominance in possession and their inability to convert opportunities into goals. Enzo Fernandez’s emergence has been a bright spot but must be complemented by a more clinical approach in front of the net. Pochettino’s primary task is now clear: fine-tune the final product and instil sharper decision-making within the squad to harness their inherent quality.

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As Chelsea navigates the international break and attempts to rectify their Premier League fortunes, the focus should be on bridging the gap between their impressive build-up play and the ruthlessness requisite for success at the highest level.