Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez shines but isn’t enough to wake Blues from their slump in draw against West Ham
Two matches have passed since the January transfer window closed and after a 1-1 away draw West Ham United on Saturday, Chelsea they have yet to win a match against their new team. After drawing in the last three matches, the pressure on Graham Potter is growing and the results are not in line with the team’s expenses, although, in the manager’s defense, a completely new attack could always lead to some problems as all the new pieces get to know each other. The Blues’ only goal on Saturday came from a meeting between two new faces, when Enzo Fernandez kicked the ball over the defence. Joao Felix. And although the attack was the result of new pieces, the conceded goal was scored by the same disorganized defense that has been a thorn in Chelsea’s side all season.
This is just the start of his Chelsea career, but it’s understandable why Chelsea were so insistent on Fernandez, breaking the transfer record and pulling him out of Benfica after a great World Cup. He continued this form with two shots, a tackle and two interceptions. It hasn’t been his cleanest game as Fernandez has been beaten several times, but he looks to attack every time he gets the ball, landing seven long balls and assisting the first goal.
Relationship between Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix. 😍
📺 : @USANetwork #MyPLMorning | #WHICH pic.twitter.com/vloxexF4Xc
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 11, 2023
But Chelsea’s problem is that Fernandez can’t do everything. The team dominated possession for 72% of the match, but only turned it into six shots into the box. The Blues could have won the match if Tomas Soucek had been penalized for handball late in the match, but a team with such talent shouldn’t rely on the referees to bail them out.
With new faces coming in, Chelsea is starting to look like a Potter team, for better or worse. Although Potter’s time at Brighton was a successful one, every match left the feeling that this team would be great if they had a real striker. It moved to Chelsea where Kai Havertz hot and cold, Pierre Eymeric-Aubameyang was dropped from the roster, David Fofana is a new and untested player, and Armando Broja injured. In a pinch, Felix can play striker, but he and Havertz like to be in the same position.
Against West Ham, Havertz found himself with the ball at his feet in good positions to get Mihail Murdrik or Noni Maduque into space, but often found himself between a pass and a shot and was instead forfeited four times when Chelsea’s attack stalled. Havertz is someone who can shine in the right role for the Blues, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this role is not the leading line for a Champions League aspiring club.
This is a problem Potter has faced before, finding creative solutions using Leandro Trossar And Pascal Gross in Brighton and even get the most out of Danny Welbeck like a striker, but at Stamford Bridge the lights are brighter and the stage is bigger. Currently in ninth place, the team needs not only show progress with the integration of these new players, but they also need to move further in the Champions League.
Tie with Borussia Dortmund will be released on Wednesday (find out all the events on Paramount+), just as Black and Yellow took shape. This is the team that will push Chelsea’s defense to the limit and they stagger at best when challenged. Failure to get past the Champions League round of 16 will only make matters worse for Potter. Someone else will have to go out next week with Fernandez to keep that from happening.