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5 Things Learned: Chelsea 0-1 Nottingham Forest | Premier League




Nottingham Forest condemned Chelsea to their second defeat of the season in a 0-1 away reverse at Stamford Bridge.

A second half strike from Anthony Elanga was enough to take the points back to Nottingham in a disappointing day for Chelsea in the Premier League.

Chelsea started quickly at Stamford Bridge and nearly took the lead within one minute, only for former blue Ola Aina’s fantastic block to deny Raheem Sterling from tapping in from close range.

The blues continued to probe the Nottingham Forest backline, with Conor Gallagher sending an effort narrowly over the bar.

Forest spurned a great opportunity to take the lead, with Taiwo Awoniyi blasting over from close range for the visitors midway through the first period.

(Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

Forest continued to threaten from set pieces, with the lively Awoniyi going close again with an acrobatic effort that went narrowly wide of Robert Sanchez’s post.

Enzo Fernandez curled an effort just over Matt Turner’s bar as Chelsea struggled to break down a resolute Forest side before the break.

Chelsea were caught cold at the start of the second half with Anthony Elanga giving Nottingham Forest the lead within three minutes of the restart. A mix-up between Moises Caicedo and Gallagher allowed Awoniyi to play the onrushing Elanga through on goal, who coolly dispatched beyond Sanchez.

The Blues brought on Noni Madueke and debutant Cole Palmer midway through the second period to help provide some attacking spark, as they struggled to break down the Forest defence.

Nicolas Jackson spurned a glorious chance to level for the hosts late on, somehow poking over the bar from point blank range after some good work from Palmer and Sterling down the right.

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Chelsea pushed for an equaliser with Sterling dragging an effort wide in added time, to condemn the Blues to defeat against a jubilant Nottingham Forest.

Here are five things Absolute Chelsea learned from Saturday’s loss in the capital.

1) Frustrating day at Stamford Bridge

After a promising win against Luton, it was a step back for Mauricio Pochettino’s young Blues team on Saturday afternoon.

Sometimes, it just feels like it is going to be ‘one of those days’, and it certainly was for Chelsea. The Blues dominated the play, but struggled to break down Forest and could not convert their chances when they did. Anthony Elanga dispatched Forest’s only good opening, with Forest defending heroically to see out the win.

After four games, Chelsea will be disappointed to only pick up four points, especially with three of those games being played at Stamford Bridge. An international break will give Mauricio Pochettino and his team a chance to regroup, but the Blues need to start converting performances into wins, if they want to avoid a repeat of last season.

2) Chelsea struggle in attack

Of all the games played this season so far, this was the most reminiscent performance to the Blues of last season.

Chelsea had large amounts of the play, but struggled to do a lot with it – failing to cause the Nottingham Forest defenders many issues. Nicolas Jackson put in a largely solid display up front, but spurned the only opportunity he was provided, and it was a glaring one.

The Blues need to be much more clinical in front of goal, but if they created more chances there would likely be less rushing in the moments they do have.

Nottingham Forest showed Chelsea how clinical you must be to win matches in the Premier League – a lesson the Blues’ young team will have to learn soon.

(Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

3) Moises Caicedo had a mixed performance

In his third start in blue Moises Caicedo put in his best performance to date, bar one error. Caicedo played in a double pivot alongside Conor Gallagher and largely bossed the middle of the park.

Caicedo was everywhere for his team, winning clutch tackles to stop counter attacks, harrying down opposition players at every turn, and usually being in the right place to scoop up loose balls to get Chelsea on the front foot again with his underrated passing range.

However, one mix up with his partner Gallagher allowed Forest to capitalise and score the eventual winning goal of the game. Caicedo was not fully to blame for the mistake, but he will need to improve his understanding with his teammates if he is to fulfil his vast potential.

4) Formation concerns?

Despite playing at home against comparatively weak opposition in Premier League terms, Chelsea again persisted with a five at the back formation.

Despite finding more success against Luton last weekend with this system, the Blues struggled to break down a resolute Nottingham Forest defence, who matched their five defenders. The risk with playing with a back five against a very defensive team is that it becomes very tricky to create consistent attacking opportunities without many creative players on the pitch, which Chelsea certainly found on Saturday afternoon. The Blues failed to create any meaningful chances with five defenders on the pitch.

Pochettino was forced to abandon the system midway through the second period with his side trailing, bringing on the more attacking Cole Palmer and Noni Madueke. Many will feel that if Chelsea persist with this defensive system, they will struggle to break down resolute defences and will be forced to toil harder for the points they pick up this season.

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

5) Cole Palmer debut

Cole Palmer was brought on in the 62nd minute to help provide a creative spark to get his team level.

Palmer showed moments of promise in his cameo, with some sharp close control and direct dribbling causing some issues for the Forest defence. There were signs of inexperience in some of Palmer’s decisions, sometimes hesitating in his decision making, but this will likely be ironed out as he builds up his minutes.

Palmer showed his quality to play in Raheem Sterling for the Blues best chance of the match, a moment of rare skill in the Blues’ otherwise blunt attack. Palmer’s performance was promising, giving Chelsea fans at least one positive to take from Saturday’s game.