It’s been an awful 2023 for Chelsea.
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat by Everton, their seventh loss this season, saw Mauricio Pochettino’s side drop into the bottom half of the Premier League and the manager called for more new signings in January, despite £1bn already spent under owner Todd Boehly.
It was their 18th league defeat of 2023 and they have collected just 39 points in the top flight this calendar year – the joint lowest in the division, excluding teams that have been promoted or relegated.
Pochettino, who took over in the summer, is the Blues’ third manager of the year, succeeding interim Frank Lampard and Graham Potter.
Despite it doing little to change the fortunes of the side that finished 12th in the Premier League last season, Pochettino says Chelsea may look to strengthen further in January.
“We need to see and analyse the reality,” he said after their loss to Everton on Sunday.
“We need to talk and try to improve the areas we need to improve in the next transfer market if we believe it’s possible to improve.”
Only four more games remain in the calendar year for 12th-placed Chelsea – who are 10 points ahead of the relegation places and 14 points off the Champions League places.
As 2023 draws to an end, they face Sheffield United, Wolves, Crystal Palace and Luton Town in their final fixtures and they will be hoping to improve those stats before 2024.
Chelsea’s horror 2023 in stats
Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest have also picked up just 39 points this year but when it comes to average points per game, the Blues sit bottom of the pile averaging just one point.
They’ve also suffered 18 defeats in that period with only Bournemouth, who have lost 19 games, recording more.
Chelsea’s goalscoring woes are well documented, with £52m striker Christopher Nkunku injured in pre-season.
They’ve had a shot conversion rate of 8.49% – the second lowest figure of those clubs.
By contrast, defending champions Manchester City have converted 15.66% of their shots.
They haven’t particularly struggled to create chances this year, producing the sixth highest expected goals total of 63.17 but they’ve only managed to score 45 goals – the sixth worst tally in the division.
The difference between their goals and expected goals (-18.2 goals) is second worst of any team so far, with only Manchester United below them (-19).
‘Recruitment will take two years to bear fruit’
This summer saw Chelsea bring in midfielder Moises Caicedo for a £100m fee which could rise to a British club record of £115m in the summer.
They currently hold the British record, having spent £107m on recruiting Enzo Fernandez on an eight and a half year contract in January.
They brought in 12 players in the summer, although that was offset by a number of high profile departures.
Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “When they started buying a lot of the young players, and the ones who have no experience in the Premier League, I remember thinking ‘that’s a good plan, that could work in a couple of years’. “I’ve not changed my mind. It will take at least two years for that to bear any fruit and it’s still an ‘if’ because you don’t know which of those young players are going to develop into top Premier League players. Tough times for Chelsea at the moment.”
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport chief football writer
Chelsea puzzle me. I’ve seen them playing against Arsenal and Manchester City and think Mauricio Pochettino is on to something then at other times, as we have seen this week, they are so poor and look disjointed and disorganised.
You have to think Pochettino has a plan. He is too good not to have one but he seems to be really struggling to fashion the players he has got into any sort of cohesive unit.
There are good players there but they simply aren’t showing it. That has to change quickly and I’m not sure Pochettino’s plea for more transfer activity in January will get much sympathy either given the money Chelsea’s owners have already spent.
I’m not sure they have made much progress under Pochettino. It’s been a bad few days and I don’t think they can have any complaints about losing at Manchester United or Everton.
Surely Pochettino has to be shown patience by Chelsea’s board but he has two big home games coming up against Sheffield United in the Premier League and Newcastle United in the EFL Cup.