Bournemouth 0-0 Chelsea: “How can Pochettino get Chelsea fired again?” – Analysis by Jermaine Jenas

MOTD2 analysis

Chelsea have some problems at the moment, but the biggest thing they are missing is a confident and calm striker in front of goal.

I watched Mauricio Pochettino’s side against Bournemouth on Sunday and, in terms of preparation in the final third, it was the best I’ve seen them this season.

As soon as they arrived in the box, everything fell apart. Their last ball and especially their finishing was so inconsistent, which is why they failed to score again and lost more points in a 0-0 draw.

Premier League table overview – 12th to 17th: 12th Nottingham Forest, 13th Man Utd, 14th Chelsea, 15th Bournemouth, 16th Wolves, 17th Sheff Utd
Chelsea have scored five goals in their first five league matches – their lowest tally at this stage since 1995-96, when they finished 11th – and have failed to find the net in their last two matches.

It reminded me of a time when I was at Tottenham and our new forward line wasn’t shooting, and the effect that had on the rest of the team.

In 2008 we sold Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe in the space of a few months and replaced them with Roman Pavlyuchenko and Fraizer Campbell, who joined Darren Bent in attack.

That summer we went from a team that understood what made our strikers work, how to create plenty of chances for them and knew they would take them, to a team that simply couldn’t score.

We only scored five goals in our first eight Premier League matches that season, and it ended up costing our manager, Juande Ramos, his job. He was sacked before the end of October, when we were bottom of the table.

I remember we had a lot of possession during that period at Spurs, but were unable to turn it into goals – and Chelsea looked a lot like that against Bournemouth.

“One more touch, and the luck was gone”

For once, there was some trend in Chelsea’s play on Sunday.

Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk dropped into small pockets and the Blues also put their full-backs high.

They found themselves in good positions behind the Cherries defense time and time again, but then as soon as they got close to the goal there was an extra touch or an extra pass that wasn’t needed, and the opportunity has disappeared.

Everyone seemed to pass the buck a bit. Sterling was willing to take a few shots – he always does – but too many of his teammates seemed unwilling to take the risk.

Rather than being afraid of missing the goal, someone in the team had to take responsibility in front of the goal and sort of say “that’s right, I’m going to make the difference”.

Collectively, they lacked that kind of mindset in those areas, as well as a certain calm. This combination meant they missed a lot of chances.

This made me think that, of all the players Chelsea are currently missing due to injury, the absence of French striker Christopher Nkunku is probably the biggest blow.

“Jackson looked a little lost.”

Graphic showing Chelsea XI v Bournemouth: Sanchez, Gusto, Disasi, Thiago Silva, Colwill, Gallagher, Ugochukwu, Sterling, Fernandez, Mudryk, Jackson

Nicolas Jackson led Chelsea’s attack against Bournemouth, but to me he looked a little lost. Nothing seemed easy to him.

Jackson is clearly trying hard, but one of the things you always see in all good strikers is that they are always free in the opponent’s box, because they don’t just make one point, but three or four.

They will move closer to the post and if it is not on, they will turn on their back to try to find space elsewhere and keep trying.

Basically, they would do anything to get free, but every time I saw Jackson in the box, a central defender had grabbed him by the shirt, because he was always in front of them.

Honestly, Jackson looks like he needs a little coaching, because of the running he was doing.

Either he was running too far in front of the near post or he was moving away from the penalty area when the ball got there. He was never in the right place at the right time.

Why specific coaching of attackers could make the difference

The effort is there from Jackson, he just needs some guidance – and every player can benefit from that from time to time.

When we were going through this period at Spurs in 2008, Harry Redknapp came in as manager after Ramos was sacked and brought in Les Ferdinand to work with our strikers.

He knew we still had some talented goalscorers in the team, he just wanted them to get back to basics – holding the ball, getting into the box and working on their finishing – to get the goals flowing again.

Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson
Jackson joined Chelsea for £35million from Villarreal this summer. He has made 199 runs off the ball and 71 into the box in five Premier League appearances for the Blues, the most of any top-flight player this season. He scored one goal on a 3.3 xG and converted one big chance from seven big chances in total.

It feels like Chelsea need a bit of specific training for the attackers in the same way, just to refine the runs they make into the box and get that composure back in front of goal.

It doesn’t even have to be actual coaching to make things happen. Sometimes it can just be an extra thought that a former pro who was a striker can give you, especially a former player of that club.

If someone like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink came in there and Jackson was able to sit with him and think about his moves in the box, it could make a huge difference.

You can see Pochettino has a plan

I feel like Jackson needs help, but we have to take into account that he is a new player at a new club who has struggled with the number nine for years, practically since Didier Drogba left in 2012 .

It’s one of those positions at Chelsea that seems a bit cursed and, on top of that, they now play a different team every week so there’s no continuity there.

This is a brand new team but Pochettino still needs to resolve this quickly because he knows he is being judged instantly – everyone knows the history of the club and how quickly they hire and fire managers.

So he knows he can’t wait for Nkunku to be fit for things to improve – it could be 2024 before he’s ready to play again.

What Pochettino can do is point to games like this as proof that what he is doing is working and all he has to do is get that last point right, in front of goal.

So far they had been pretty average when I had seen them this season, but against Bournemouth they played through the lines to get those good positions. It was the first time I could really understand what they were trying to do.

Jermaine Jenas was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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