LONDON: Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino had no excuses to offer after a goalless draw at Bournemouth left the Blues 14th in the Premier League, far away from the position demanded by Todd Boehly ever since the new regime took over 15 months ago.
Pochettino said: “I cannot lie. We are missing something in the last third of the pitch. We are creating chances, fighting. It’s about the process. We need to be more calm, more relaxed, more clinical in front of goal.”
If Chelsea’s results do not improve before the next international break then the danger for Pochettino is that he will be missing. Boehly had already sacked three managers – Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard – and has proved he will not hesitate to make the Argentinian No4.
Pochettino might have pointed to injury problems which forced him to include six players with no Premier League experience on his substitutes’ bench. Record signing Moises Caicedo was also absent with a knee injury suffered on international duty with Ecuador.
Chelsea had their chances. Nicolas Jackson and Raheem Sterling hit the posts and Levi Colwill had a goal disallowed for offside. Cole Palmer, Chelsea’s latest surprise signing from Manchester City, missed a late chance with only goalkeeper Neto to beat.
Palmer had appeared as a 63rd-minute substitute Mykhailo Mudryk. The Ukrainian was chosen on the left wing instead of Ben Chilwell, created several openings but was also too slow and hesitant in his decision-making. Enzo Fernandez was also substituted during the second half, to his obvious displeasure.
The Blues have taken only one win from five matches and, for all their record expenditure, could not beat a Bournemouth team without any win at all this season. New home boss Andoni Iraola is only the second Spanish manager without a win in his first five Premier matches after Pepe Mel at West Bromwich in 2014.
Chelsea’s absence from European competition this season means that Pochettino does have a full week to work with his team on the training ground ahead of Sunday’s home match against Aston Villa.
Arsenal end a seven-year absence from the Champions League at home to PSV on Wednesday. A winning start will demand a more incisive performance compared with the hard-earned 1-0 win at Everton.
Arsenal, in the first half, were too slow in moving the ball forward. Eventually it took a short corner routine to set up Leandro Trossard for the breakthrough after 69 minutes. Trossard had replaced injured Gabriel Martinelli after 23 minutes.
Everton, on the brink of being bought by the controversial Miami investment company 777 Partners, are back down in the relegation zone, without a win.