Chelsea were the architects of their own pain in an ugly 0-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.
It was far from a classic in the Stamford Bridge sunshine as Mauricio Pochettino’s men eventually succumbed to The Tricky Trees by virtue of a Anthony Elanga goal on the counter after a stop-start match marred by persistent fouls.
Chances were at a premium in the first period and the best opportunity actually dropped the way of the visitors – Taiwo Awoniyi blazing his swiping strike over the bar from all of six yards.
A nightmare start to the second half saw Moises Caicedo dispossessed in the middle of the park for Awoniyi to slip in Elanga, who subsequently slid one past the outstretched Robert Sanchez. It was all too laboured and sluggish as Chelsea tried to come from behind, but it was to no avail. Nicolas Jackson missed a gilt-edged chance late on to about sum up a dire afternoon for the Pensioners.
Here’s how Absolute Chelsea rated the Blues’ performances against Nottingham Forest today…
Robert Sanchez – 6/10
The most commanding performance yet from the Spaniard in a Chelsea shirt since his switch from Brighton and Hove Albion this summer. Confident and patient with the ball to feet, and made a number of comfortable claims under the threat of an aerial assault from Forest. Could have maybe got down better to the goal but tough to judge. Also a random moment of madness sprinkled in too when he threw the ball right to the Forest attacker.
Axel Disasi – 6/10
Really quiet game but did particularly well in the air, winning most of his duels without too much bother.
Thiago Silva – 4/10
Struggled to handle the ruthless aggression of Awoniyi, who gave the former PSG defender one of his toughest Premier League challenges. Being nutmegged for the Forest opener about summed it up. Uncharacteristically amateurish.
Levi Colwill – 7/10
Reduced to lumping on long on the left for all intents and purposes, but it was pretty impressive lumping all told. Some really sharp, incisive passing on display and certainly seemed the most settled of the backline.
Malo Gusto – 7/10 (77)
Full of vim and vigour on the right flank, bombing forward with aplomb and showing great physicality to effectively nullify Morgan Gibbs-White. Enjoyed a good battle with former Blue Ola Aina, who also had a good game. Crossing a little aimless, but there were more pros than cons on display in a bright performance for the young Frenchman.
Moises Caicedo – 5/10 (77)
It was all going so well in what looked set to be his coming out game as a Chelsea player, and yet one mistake proved so costly. Until that point he had controlled the midfield, swept up danger with minimal fuss and showed impressive fleet-footedness under pressure on multiple occasions. Thereafter, he looked shaky and the visitors were able to get at him.
Conor Gallagher – 6/10 (62)
The transfer chatter did not seem to have had an effect on Gallagher. Put in the hard yards, nipping away at a Forest side that had come to draw the Blues into a scrappy affair. Gave as good as he got, although not as effective in the attacking phase of play.
Enzo Fernandez – 6/10
Not his most potent showing, especially in front of goal, and yet looked the most likely outlet in the dying embers when the Blues were chasing the game. Some lovely splitting passes went begging.
Ben Chilwell – 4/10 (62)
The Pensioners concentrated their attacking efforts down the right flank, and it was clear to see why. Captain for the day Chilwell offered scant little beyond a good cross just a minute from the off. Just not enough of a creative outlet and this left-wing experiment seems doomed to fail.
Raheem Sterling – 7/10
The sharpest tool in the shed, but those around him were decidedly more blunt. Quick driving runs were effective but he had scarcely anyone to aim at when he did get in behind.
Nicolas Jackson – 3/10
Tough day at the office. The usual dynamism and variety in his movement and link-up play was absent. A little one-dimensional and toothless all things considered and missed a sitter to boot.
Cole Palmer – 6/10 (62)
Tough circumstances to be introduced but showed some really nice feet on occasion and looked to make things happens.
Noni Madueke – 5/10 (62)
Sloppy on the wing. Beat his man a few times but ultimately more hindrance than help on the flank.
Ian Maatsen – 5/10 (77)
Uninspired cameo from a young man who is feeding off scraps as far as opportunities are concerned thus far.
Mykhailo Mudryk – 4/10 (77)
Left this writer speechless, and not in a good way. Short on bright ideas and Chelsea looked far worse after his introduction.