Two wins since Potter – the statistics of Chelsea's struggles

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino
Former Tottenham boss Pochettino took over at Chelsea in the summer

“The only thing we are missing is scoring.”

Those were the words of Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino after Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat by Aston Villa left them 14th in the Premier League with five points from six games.

So why are Chelsea struggling for goals and points? BBC Sport breaks down some of the key statistics behind their troubles.

Big picture

  • It is the first time Chelsea have won just one of their opening six games in a Premier League season since 2000-01, while they have suffered three defeats in their first six games for the first time since 2015-16.
  • In the past 38 Premier League games – a full season – they have won just nine times and rank 14th of the 17 clubs present in the top flight across both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.
  • Since Graham Potter was sacked on 2 April, Chelsea have won twice in 16 Premier League games, gaining 11 points in total.
Rank Team Played Won Points
1st Manchester City 37 29 90
2nd Arsenal 37 24 80
3rd Liverpool 38 22 74
13th Nottingham Forest 37 10 41
14th Chelsea 38 9 39
17th Everton 37 8 33
Rank Team Played Won Points
1st Manchester City 16 14 43
2nd Liverpool 17 12 41
3rd Brighton 18 11 34
16th Everton 15 3 13
17th Chelsea 16 2 11

*Based on the 17 Premier League teams that have been ever-present in the Premier League in this time frame

Goalscoring struggles

  • Despite having the second-highest number of touches in the opposition box in the Premier League this season – 241 behind Tottenham’s 250 – Chelsea have managed just five goals. Only Luton (three) and Burnley (four) have scored fewer in the top flight so far. Brighton have scored most with 18.
1. Tottenham 250
2. Chelsea 241
3. Arsenal 234
  • Chelsea also have the second-worst shot conversion rate, behind Luton.
1. Luton Town 4.8
2. Chelsea 5.5
3. Everton 5.9
  • Their total of five goals compares with an expected goal (xG) tally of more than 11. Their gap between goals and xG is the biggest in the division.
1. Chelsea 5 11.6 -6.61
2. Everton 5 9.53 -4.53
3. Luton 3 6.66 -3.66
19. Tottenham 15 10.9 4.06
20. Brighton 18 12.6 5.44
  • They have also converted just 16.7% of their ‘big chances’ – the second-worst rate in the league – missing 15 of their 18 ‘big chances’. Sheffield United have missed all six of their ‘big chances’ this season.
1. Sheffield United 0.0%
2. Chelsea 16.7%
3. Wolves 20%
19. Brighton 60%
20. Newcastle 63.6%
  • They have failed to score in 13 Premier League matches in 2023, more than any other side, and have just nine wins in their past 38 league games.
1. Tottenham 250
2. Chelsea 241
3. Arsenal 234

Chelsea need answers before the season gets away from them – analysis

BBC Sport’s Alex Howell

“Christopher Nkunku, signed for £52m, was one of the bright sparks of pre-season; his goals and link-up play looked promising. Pochettino had spoken about pairing Nicolas Jackson and Nkunku together but because of the Frenchman’s long-term knee injury, sustained in pre-season, he has not been able to do it in the Premier League.

“There are seven other first-team players currently injured, including captain Reece James, meaning Pochettino cannot work with his strongest XI.

“Pochettino has the challenge of getting his forward line firing. Jackson has one goal from his six games this season and is now suspended after picking up five yellow cards, and Pochettino has spoken to him about his discipline.

“Mykhailo Mudryk has still not scored for the club following his £88m move from Shakhtar Donetsk in January. Raheem Sterling started the season brightly but has not been able to add to the two goals he scored in the victory over Luton while Noni Madueke has struggled with fitness and has not been able to put together a run of form.

“It’s a unique situation that Pochettino finds himself in but Chelsea need to find answers before the season gets away from them.”

What do the pundits say?

Chelsea have spent about £1bn on players in three transfer windows since Todd Boehly took charge of the club in May 2022, but they have suffered a series of injuries this season.

Pochettino has actually made among the fewest changes (five) to his starting XI this season from match to match, using 20 players in total. Only Crystal Palace (three changes), Tottenham (four), Aston Villa (five) and Brentford (five) have had similar consistency of selection.

However, former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton believes the club do not have “an impressive first XI at all” compared to others in the “higher echelons of the Premier League”.

“We know scoring is a problem but you look at their first XI and it’s a bit of a development squad,” said Sutton on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.

“What I find interesting about their opening six [league] games, I thought he would’ve chopped and changed a lot but that hasn’t actually been the case.

“There have been eight players who have started every game so they have had a chance to get up to speed and get that rhythm.”

Andros Townsend played under Pochettino at Tottenham and says the Argentine’s lack of changes are a sign of how he likes to work as he backed his former manager to succeed in the longer term.

“Working with Pochettino as I did at Spurs, he always gives players a run of games,” Townsend told the Monday Night Club.

“He doesn’t just give players a game and then drop them because they haven’t played well. He likes to give them a run of games. [Then] if they don’t produce, they’ll be out of the team for the next four or five weeks. That’s the way he works.

“He loves a project. He loves taking players who are unknown and turning them into world-class players.

“I’ll be very surprised if Pochettino in his interview for the job didn’t say: ‘Listen, this is a project; I’ll need a couple of years. The first six months may not work out but they will come good in the second half of the season.'”

Townsend added: “If Chelsea are not creating chances and not playing well, then you can put it solely on Pochettino, but we are still early on in the season and his team are creating a lot of chances.”

Chelsea are not in European competition this season, and in the chase for Champions League qualification, they are already nine points outside the Premier League’s top four. Following the club’s record spending, football finance expert Kieran Maguire believes there could be Financial Fair Play implications if they do not improve.

“There is certainly a cash pinch point in terms of Chelsea and, if they don’t qualify for Europe, then that is going to add to the complications,” he said.

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