Thomas Tuchel has had incredible success with Chelsea. He won the Champions League in 2021, has finished in the top four in the Premier League in two consecutive seasons, and won Chelsea’s first FIFA Club World Cup in 2021.
However, Chelsea did not compete to win the Premier League title as expected last season. This year, the team has had another disappointing start to the year, and after six Premier League games, Chelsea is sixth in the league. In addition, Chelsea lost their first match in the Champions League on Tuesday afternoon.
Chelsea’s Summer Transfer Window
This summer saw multiple significant transfers take place for Chelsea, including players both joining and leaving the club. In total Chelsea received $64.68 million from transfer fees of players leaving the team, while spending more than $300 million on transfer fees for players joining the club.
The most notable player to leave Chelsea this summer was Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku departed the team for Inter Milan, where he played before joining Chelsea last summer. Timo Werner, another experienced forward, also departed the club this summer.
As a result, the main focus of this transfer window for Tuchel was signing players to strengthen Chelsea’s offense. The most important of those players is Raheem Sterling, who joined Chelsea after an extremely successful career with Manchester City.
Chelsea also completed the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the former captain of Arsenal, who joined the team from FC Barcelona. Carney Chukwuemeka, a talented young attacking midfielder, also joined Chelsea from Aston Villa this summer.
In addition to the forwards who joined the team, Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella, two excellent defenders with Premier League experience, also signed with Chelsea this summer. Kalidou Koulibaly, one of the best center-backs in Serie A, is another player the team signed this summer, and he should significantly improve an already very good Chelsea defense.
Denis Zakaria and goalkeeping prospect Gabriel Slonina are another two players who joined the club this summer. However, despite the team’s multiple major transfers this summer, Chelsea has struggled to have success at the start of this season.
Chelsea’s Disappointing Start
Much like last season, ahead of this season, Chelsea was expected to be a team that could compete to win the Premier League title. Chelsea already had an excellent defense, allowing the third-fewest goals in the Premier League last season, and the offense was expected to be significantly improved.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, in six Premier League games, the team has scored only eight goals. Manchester City has already scored 12 more goals than Chelsea this season, while Arsenal has scored six more. Liverpool, who is behind Chelsea after a similarly disappointing start, has already scored 15 goals this season, while teams such as Brighton & Hove Albion, Brentford, and Leeds United have all had more goal-scoring success than Chelsea so far this fall.
Chelsea’s offensive struggles continued on Tuesday afternoon when they played their first Champions League game against Dinamo Zagreb. Dinamo Zagreb beat Chelsea 1-0.
On Tuesday Chelsea had possession during 68% of the match. They had more than twice the shots, 15, as Dinamo Zagreb had, 6, although both teams only had three shots on target. Chelsea also finished the game with 0.93 expected goals according to FotMob, while Dinamo Zagreb finished the match with 0.62 expected goals.
However, in the 13th minute, an excellent counter-attack from Dinamo Zagreb gave Mislav Orsic a one-on-one opportunity against Chelsea’s goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Orsic took advantage of the opportunity, and ultimately his goal led to an unexpected win for Dinamo Zagreb.
Chelsea’s remaining matches before the beginning of this year’s first international break on September 18 have now taken on added importance due to the team’s disappointing start. Over the next few weeks, Chelsea will play Fulham before matches against Salzburg and Liverpool end the first part of their season.
With the team now last in its Champions League group and sixth in the Premier League, Chelsea will need to have a few good games to restore confidence ahead of the rest of the season. While the season has only just started the next few weeks could be vital to how the next few months unfold for Tuchel and Chelsea.