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‘We have to be more clinical’, reflects Chelsea’s match-winner against Newcastle

Chelsea continue to struggle scoring goals consistently

Chelsea FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea may have scored a couple goals on Saturday, which is certainly an improvement on the average of 1.1 scored over the previous 10 league games (that’s 11 in 10, in case you’re very poor at maths), but it was still far from a convincing attacking performance.

Initially, it looked like Chelsea would find some joy with an early goal from Pedro, but as it has happened so many times not just this season but in recent seasons as well, Chelsea let off the gas and let the opposition back in the game. It took a rare (certainly this season) Willian goal — not a great goal-scorer, but a scorer of great goals, as they say — to get Chelsea the all-important three points.

Sure, we could trot out all the usual clichés about the quality of the Premier League, but Chelsea’s inability to put away clearly inferior opposition is problematic enough that even the players recognize it immediately.

Speaking after the game, both Willian, scorer of the winning goal and Mr. No-look Pass himself, David Luiz, the provider of the first goal, reflected on this problem.

“It is always difficult to play in the Premier League and for us especially to kill the match. We have to be more clinical and in this game we could not do that, but I think we have the qualities to do that. In the next games if we kill the match as soon as possible, it is easy then to play, it is easier to find more spaces.”

-Willian; source: Chelsea FC

“It’s an important win, it’s three points at home and we did the job. It was not an easy game for us. I think we could have killed the game in the first 25 minutes, but we didn’t score the second goal...”

“I think we have to improve because you cannot give your opponents openings. When you have time and opportunities to kill the game, you have to do it.”

-David Luiz; source: Chelsea FC

With four players over 100 touches but only 10 shots taken (6 on target), Chelsea’s attacking game continues to feel staid, slow, stodgy. Regardless of what type of center forward we choose, the struggle remains real.

It’s unclear what the solution may be, but Chelsea are the worst in the top six in terms of goals, yet trail only Manchester City in terms of shots. We’ve hit the woodwork more often than any team (15), and yet the club’s actual goals (40) and expected goals (38.75) are just about in line (only Arsenal and Spurs are significantly outperforming their xG numbers so far). Above all, that seems to suggest that Chelsea need to improve in not just creating chances or shooting, but creating better chances and taking better shots (shots from better positions).

“Of course, we have to train because we have to try to improve ourselves every day. In football, things aren’t going to come from the sky, you have to train hard and try to improve.”

-David Luiz; source: Chelsea FC

The standard fallback is of course work work work. That’s true whether your coach is Conte or Ancelotti ... or Sarri.

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