The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Chelsea lost six home Premier League matches last season and Nottingham Forest inflicted their first of 2022/23 with Anthony Elanga’s effort separating the sides at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
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It was a joyous moment for the Swedish forward, who joined Forest in the summer from Manchester United, scoring his first goal subsequently created by Taiwo Awoniyi, the club’s most influential player.
Heading into today’s game Awoniyi was on a scoring run, having netted in each of his last seven Premier League appearances for Forest, including a brace here, and though he couldn’t register a goal in eight successive games (matching Jamie Vardy’s feat between October and December 2019), the Nigerian nevertheless was still a difference-maker.
Awoniyi has now scored or assisted 10 goals in his last eight Premier League games, the most of any player across this timeframe. His closest competitors are Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo with nine, and of course, Erling Haaland, who is one behind.
Elanga’s winner came minutes into the second half. A mix-up between Moisés Caicedo and Conor Gallagher, who lost possession, saw Awoniyi pick up the ball prior to playing a delicate through pass for his teammate. Elanga, who just came on, showed composure in front of goal, side-footing the ball past Robert Sánchez and into the bottom corner.
Nottingham Forest have beaten Chelsea in any competition for the first time since 1992:
The Tricky Trees are unbeaten against the Blues since being promoted last season. 🌳 pic.twitter.com/He1KPdt2Yj
— Squawka (@Squawka) September 2, 2023
Caicedo’s misfortune drew more unwanted attention especially as he’s yet to settle (calamitous debut against West Ham and now this). He’s also become the poster boy of Chelsea’s ruthless — perhaps reckless — spending; the Blues have spent more than £1bn in transfer fees across three windows since the new ownership led by American Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital completed their takeover of the club in May 2022.
Chelsea’s latest signing — a £40m deal for Manchester City forward Cole Palmer — saw the England under-21 midfielder become the 25th player to join the club under Boehly’s leadership.
However, football isn’t played on paper, and the reality is Chelsea even under Mauricio Pochettino looks a million miles away from being a credible threat (two shots on target against Forest with 75.9% possession isn’t a good enough return).
It’s early days, but four points from their opening four Premier League games represents Chelsea’s worst start to a season since 1995.
There’s being homesick and there’s being sick of failing to win at home, the latter of which Chelsea are suffering from with just one win in their last 10 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.