Mauricio Pochettino blamed a growing injury list after his underachieving Chelsea side slumped to a 2-0 home defeat to Brentford over the weekend.
The Blues were without Armando Broja, Carney Chukwuemeka, Christopher Nkunku, Wesley Fofana, Enzo Fernandez, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Ben Chilwell, Romeo Lavia and Trevoh Chalobah.
However, despite missing nine first-team players, the Argentine’s starting XI cost Chelsea a monstrous £393 million in total.
Veteran defender Thiago Silva and youth academy graduate Conor Gallagher were the only players in Pochettino’s line-up who didn’t command a transfer fee.
Starting with goalkeeper David Sanchez, who arrived from Brighton & Hove Albion last summer for £25m, it was a team that fetched significant transfer fees and has largely struggled to live up to the billing.
Marc Cucurella and Moises Caicedo cost the Stamford Bridge outfit a combined fee of £175m, and while they’ve stuttered at Chelsea, their former club Brighton are thriving.
Axel Disasi, who joined the club from Monaco last summer as part of Pochettino’s attempt to plug his side’s defensive leaks, poured £38.5m into the French giants’ bank account.
Nicolas Jackson delivered another embarrassing performance despite costing Chelsea £32m upon his arrival from Villarreal.
Behind him were Noni Madueke, who earned PSV Eindhoven £30m last winter, and ex-Manchester City stars Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling – two players who deprived the Blues of £92.5m combined.
While Palmer showcased his burgeoning talent, proving Chelsea’s decision to fork out £42.5m on the money, Sterling’s display was nowhere near his £50m price tag.
Pochettino isn’t the only one to blame for the Blues’ horrendous start to the new campaign.
However, someone has to take responsibility for the fact the £1 billion squad cannot get out of the bottom half of the table for the second season on the trot.
Frustration is at an all-time high among the club supporters after they witnessed just one victory across the last 13 Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge.
As bizarre as it sounds, Brentford boss Thomas Frank has won more top-flight games on Chelsea’s home ground in 2023 than Pochettino and his predecessor Frank Lampard combined.
That incredible record perhaps best illustrates the depth of the ongoing crisis at Chelsea, and an injury list, no matter how long it is, cannot carry all the blame.
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