It was the same old story for Chelsea.
The chances were there, but the potency in front of goal was not.
Against Aston Villa, they had 27 shots, with eight on target, and 69% of the possession. But they didn’t score, and they lost 2-0.
Graham Potter’s side dominated at Stamford Bridge, but defeat means they have slipped into the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Their scoring struggle has been a constant this season – their 29 goals scored is lower than 12 of their Premier League rivals and bettered by relegation strugglers Leeds United and Leicester City, who have notched 36 and 39 respectively.
They had an expected goals figure of 2.09 on Saturday but were unable to find the net.
Chelsea’s issues continue to pile the pressure on Potter, with the club having spent more than £550m since Todd Boehly took over last summer.
Some sections of Stamford Bridge jeered the performance with ‘Potter out’ trending on social media again post match.
The former Brighton boss took responsibility for defeat, but former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink backed the manager, saying they “must stick with” Potter.
‘We were second-best’
Chelsea have lost and failed to score in four Premier League home games this season – that has only happened twice before since the competition’s 1992 inception – in 1994-95 and 2019-20.
Potter conceded that his side, who face Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final this month, were not at their best against Villa.
Ben Chilwell put the ball in the net for the Blues, but his effort was ruled out for a push on the back of Ashley Young.
Mykhaylo Mudryk – signed in January in an £89m deal – squandered Chelsea’s best opportunity when he produced a tame effort while one-on-one with Emiliano Martinez.
Kai Havertz and Joao Felix saw efforts saved, while N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic missed chances.
“After a defeat there is always a disappointment,” Potter told Match of the Day. “There is always a feeling we have not moved forward, that’s fair to say. We have to analyse the performance and look at the things we’ve done well and what we can do better.
“Defensively we’ve left ourselves too open but again if you look at the stats of the game we had chances ourselves, we had one-v-ones, but the most important thing, putting the ball into the net, we were second-best.
“I don’t like to blame anybody, I have to take responsibility. We are a team, we have to stay together, we are together. We win or lose together.
“We will recover and we will prepare for the next game. We need to respond, that’s clear. But we look forward to it.”
Games against Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United remain in Chelsea’s final 10 fixtures, and the possibility of European qualification appears to be slipping away.
‘You have to stick with him’
Despite Chelsea’s troubles, former striker Hasselbaink remains supportive of Potter – and the players Chelsea have signed.
“Mudryk is not the finished article, he has potential,” Hasselbaink said on Sky Sports. “He has cost a lot of money but has had just a few months in this country. He needs to work on it and needs the time. He is a young player.
“You have made a decision to buy young players but you have to give them time to make mistakes. They won’t be best thing. Potter is the man you wanted. You have to stick with him because you are going that way.
“If you keep on losing, you know how it works, though – rightly or wrongly. It is a results business.”
Chelsea’s attention will have to quickly return to league action, with fellow underperformers Liverpool next up at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
“In the first half, they looked really sharp but it is about scoring goals,” Hasselbaink added.
“For Chelsea it is very difficult to score goals. It is a problem in the final third, Chelsea don’t get enough people in the box. It is not good enough; you need to flood the box.
“It is a tough one to take for Potter, trying to stay brave and give positiveness to players. But when creating that many chances, it is hard to take.”