Graham Potter admitted that the build-up to Chelsea’s trip to Tottenham had been ‘a tough week’ after the Blues lost to rock-bottom Southampton last weekend.
In the wake of another damning defeat – and another game without a goal – speculation is rife about what the next seven days hold for Potter. Whatever may come, they will certainly be tough.
In truth, little about being a football manager can possibly be easy when your team consistently fails to find the net. After a 2-0 reverse at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, Chelsea have scored just six league goals in their last 12 games. It is the joint-lowest tally of any team in England’s top four divisions since Bonfire Night (per Sky Sports).
Everton are the only professional team in the country that have endured the same struggles in front of goal. Frank Lampard – ironically, Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer – was sacked during this sequence and replaced by Sean Dyche. The former Burnley boss has only seen his new side score twice but the Toffees have collected six points from their last four games, a tally Chelsea would enviously gawk at.
The Blues haven’t won any of their last six matches across all competitions, the club’s longest wait for a victory since December 2012. Roberto Di Matteo was ushered out of Stamford Bridge in the middle of this dire run of form, just seven months after steering Chelsea to the club’s first-ever Champions League title.
League One’s Accrington Stanley and Cambridge United have narrowly outscored Chelsea since the start of November (with eight goals) but are circling the plughole in England’s third tier, with both clubs sitting in the division’s bottom four.
Crystal Palace have scored eight Premier League goals in this period but, alongside Chelsea, are one of just two teams in England’s top flight that have failed to win any of their last five league games.
Southampton scored one of their eight goals against Chelsea. James Ward-Prowse took his free-kick tally to a swollen 17 in the Premier League, ending a three-game losing run for the Premier League’s basement dwellers.
Chelsea remain in mid-table, rather than fending off relegation like the others clubs on this list, thanks to a relatively parsimonious backline. Even after conceding Oliver Skipp’s first-ever goal for Tottenham and Harry Kane’s 268th on Sunday, Chelsea have shipped just ten league goals since the start of November. Only three clubs – Newcastle, Brentford and Fulham – have conceded fewer in this period.
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Nevertheless, the pressure on Potter has well and truly been cranked up. Chelsea haven’t claimed a victory outside of Stamford Bridge in any of their last ten away games – the longest such sequence the club has endured since the turn of the millennium.
Potter, who has been lumbered with the task of blending a record-breaking glut of expensive and eclectic January signings, is hardly the sole cause of all Chelsea’s problems this season.
Chelsea have failed to beat any team which started the day above them in the Premier League table all season, including the opening months of the campaign when Thomas Tuchel frantically paced around the Blues’ technical area.
With a crucial Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund rapidly approaching, Chelsea don’t have long to find their misplaced shooting boots. If these scoring struggles continue to dog the Blues, Potter may be in for a few more tough weeks – if he is afforded that long in the job.