After back-to-back games without a goal — the 11th (!) time in 29 league games we’ve failed to find the back of the net — Chelsea have a grand total of 29 Premier League goals to our name, our worst scoring output to this point since the late ‘70s. The last time we finished a season averaging just 1 goal-per-game was 1975 (42 in 42). The last time we finished a season averaging less than that was 1924 (31 in 42). A chance to make history a century later!
Two seasons ago, we finished with 58, which had been our lowest output this millennium. But last season, the average was back up to a healthy two per-game (exactly) — the most goals we had ever scored in a Premier League season without actually winning the league. (On a sidenote, we scored 98 goals in 1960-61 ... but also let in 100!! No scoreless draws that season! Wowza.)
So what happened?
Clearly, there is no easy answer to this, or presumably we would’ve found it a long time ago already. Players, coaches, administrators are all culpable to some extent. We’ve had massive changes in all three key aspects and in a very short period of time, and reasonable arguments could be made for all three.
For interim head coach Bruno Saltor, it comes down primarily to one thing: execution, or the lack thereof. Freed from the need to keep things super positive, Bruno’s assessment could be seen, finally, possibly, as a small window into what they think may be ailing this team at the moment.
Yeah, we tried. Relatively speaking. But we didn’t. Absolutely speaking.
“We created enough chances to win the game, two goals disallowed. It’s execution [and] execution in front of goal. They are human beings and the confidence has to be there.
“[We] just need to keep helping the boys [...] they score a lot of goals in training. Coming to a game is completely different. It is something that yes, we’ve been speaking and we’ve been working on it and we need to keep going.”
Of course, execution is still a fairly broad term. It’s more than just finishing. We do create chances, sometimes, but are they the right chances? Are they the right chances for the players we have, and the players we select? Are they the right chances for the spreadsheet as well as the scoresheet? Do we need to create more chances? Better chances? Different chances? We have the evidence in front of us, but we need a few Sherlocks to deduce it all at this point.
And execution doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. It’s all connected. Circumstances make a big difference. Coaching, confidence, cosmic alignments. We need more C’s if we’re ever going to perform above a C grade.
Anyway, I don’t know; I’m not an expert, I just play one on the Internet.
This season was set up to be a bit of a write-off, and now it truly is one. It’s all gravy from here I suppose, the proverbial garbage time, regardless of what happens. So, do we get the new coach(es) in as quickly as possible or de we use Bruno & Co to take us through the last few weeks of aimlessness?
“It’s been really difficult, sad, disappointing but I’ve been trying to focus on being the best professional myself, trying to help the boys, be supportive, focusing hour by hour, day by day.
“[...] the owners, they know that the staff are going to be the most professional we can and we’re going to try to represent this club as best we can. We know the standards here, we know the demand and that’s what we try to do all the time. [...] It’s not an easy situation for anyone. We just need to be together and communicate well.”
-Bruno Saltor; source: Chelsea FC
Whatever it is, it must not be allowed to fester beyond this season.
Choose wisely, whoever’s choosing next.