Chelsea left with no choice in transfer window as familiar problems resurface

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Chelsea left with no choice in transfer window as familiar problems resurface
Chelsea left with no choice in transfer window as familiar problems resurface

It was New Year, same old problems for Chelsea and Graham Potter.

The Chelsea coach admits he spent his World Cup break staring into the Pacific on holiday in America trying to figure a way to improve his side’s alarming form.

Yet their home win over Bournemouth on their return appears to have been only a temporary respite. A trip to lowly promoted Nottingham Forest was a chance for Potter to record successive league wins for just the second time since he was appointed on September 8.

But the visitors only had two shots on target and their lack of goals was underlined again here - every club in the top half of the Premier League has scored more goals than eighth-placed Chelsea.

Despite splashing a record £280million last summer, Chelsea now need to spend again this month to boost their fading prospects of a top four finish.

Chelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush eidehiqdqikinvChelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush

They were on course for victory when top scorer Raheem Sterling lashed in his sixth of the season from close-range in the first half. But Forest, who spent £150m themselves on 23 new players, came roaring back after the break to deservedly level through Serge Aurier.

Forest had just 20% of the first half possession as they were pegged back early on as Chelsea made a dominant start. Yet Steve Cooper’s side almost sprung clear in the 10th minute though when Morgan Gibbs-White freed Brennan Johnson with a clever ball over the top.

Chelsea left with no choice in transfer window as familiar problems resurfaceRaheem Sterling opened the scoring for Chelsea (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Johnson, who smashed 19 goals last term, sprinted clear and forced Kepa Arrizabalaga into a low save to his right with a left-foot effort before having a follow up saved too. Johnson then returned the favour for Gibbs-White who had a shot well blocked just inside the box by Cesar Azpilicueta.

The miss was costly as the visitors opened the lead seconds later in the 16th minute. Defender Willy Boly accidentally deflected Christian Pulisic’s cross on to his own bar and the ball fell perfectly for Sterling to lash in from close range for his sixth of the season.

USA international Pulisic then blew a great chance to double the visitors' lead before the break when he shot tamely at Henderson from 14 yards out.

Chelsea left with no choice in transfer window as familiar problems resurfaceSerge Aurier punished Chelsea with a second-half goal (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Forest ace Jesse Lingard, who has a hamstring injury, tried to help as he sat by the dug-out and attempted to fire up the crowd before the re-start after a tame opening 45 minutes. The Reds then started brightly as Taiwo Awoniyi, who was a powerful presence upfront, shot straight at Arrizabalaga with a left-foot effort on the turn.

Gibbs-White also sent Johnson clear again but the Welsh international forward opted to shoot from an angle rather than cross for the unmarked Awoniyi running in. Forest went even closer in the 55th minute as Gibbs White, a £25million record buy from Wolves last summer, hit a first time right-foot shot at the top of the box from Ryan Yates’ cross.

It slammed against the bar before bouncing down and back out to the frustration of the passionate City Ground crowd. But Forest were not to be denied for long as Aurier levelled in the 63rd minute with a right-foot shot on the turn through the legs of Arrizabalaga after Boly helped on Gibbs-White’s corner.

Chelsea left with no choice in transfer window as familiar problems resurfaceGraham Potter's side put in a limp display at the City Ground

It was a brilliant finish by the former Spurs full-back who controlled the ball with his chest before volleying it in at the near post. Thereafter, Forest, with left-back Renan Lodi rampaging forwards regularly, were the more dangerous.

Potter was forced to respond with a triple substitution in a bid to stem the tide. Two of his replacements nearly combined 10 minutes from time when Moroccan ace Hakim Ziyech delivered an inswinging cross to the far post which just eluded Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pulisic.

Everton chiefs face transfer backlash from fans after deadline day disasterEverton chiefs face transfer backlash from fans after deadline day disaster

But Cooper’s men extended their unbeaten home form to six matches in all competitions. While Chelsea, in their first clash at the City Ground since 1999, definitely won’t be rushing back.

James Nursey

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