Chelsea’s four flops let down Lampard as struggling Blues stutter to Forest draw
Chelsea V Nottingham Forest: Pictures
Chelsea failed to make it back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time under Frank Lampard after being held to a 2-2 draw by Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge. The visitors went in front thanks to Taiwo Awoniyi’s header before a Raheem Sterling double put the Blues back in front in the second half. But defensive troubles once again plagued the Blues as Awoniyi headed home again from close range to earn a vital point for Forest, and create more concern for Lampard. Express Sport looks at the four players who let down the Chelsea caretaker on Saturday.
Handing Mendy his first Premier League start since November 12 by Lampard ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga was a gamble, and to say the goalkeeper was rusty was an understatement.
An innocuous ball into the box from Renan Lodi hardly looked like troubling the Chelsea backline until the Senegalese made a late, misguided call to come and claim it – and he was a day late and a dollar short in the end. There was little he could do with the second, but that will matter little after his first error.
The 30-year-old has been fit for some time after a shoulder injury that has kept him out for several months, mainly due to Kepa Arrizabalaga’s solid form in goal. And while many had urged for Mendy to return to the starting lineup after Chelsea’s horrid run of form, those calls may die down after this encounter, with Mendy resembling a shadow of his former self.
What has happened to the composed, sturdy centre-back Chelsea were raving about in January? As a young defender, Chelsea need to be patient with the 21-year-old, but it remains to be seen how long Lampard will continue to put up with his below-par performances.
When the caretaker boss initially came in, Badiashile found game time hard to come by. He wasn’t helped by the fact Graham Potter had left him out of their Champions League squad, meaning he couldn’t play against Real Madrid. And it appears his spell out of the team has affected his confidence.
The Frenchman had a difficult afternoon when Brighton dominated in a 2-1 win and it proved to be the same case against Forest, as he struggled to contain the aerial threat of target man Awoniyi. Watching this game from the sidelines, Wesley Fofana won’t be too worried about losing his spot.
It is not often that Silva puts in anything lower than an eight out of 10 performance in Chelsea colours, often proving to be the standout. Whether it is exhaustion or frustration that caught up with him against Forest, the 37-year-old was off the pace and looked vulnerable against Awoniyi.
There is no question the Brazilian is a vital cog in Chelsea’s system, but he must be protected better next season to allow him to be fresher as he nears the end of his career. For the first time in a long while, the centre-back rather ordinary next to the Forest attackers and Chelsea were all over the place at the back.
It certainly was far from a leader’s performance that Chelsea fans had become accustomed to since his arrival – and he more than anybody will be disappointed.
To be clear, there was nothing about Felix’s play that let Lampard down today. He showed some good touches as a false nine, got involved more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kai Havertz have done in recent weeks and had some shots on goal too.
But he showed his petulant side again with by kicking the ball when Yates had fallen to the floor. The Portuguese barely skimmed the Forest man’s head and his theatrical reaction was extremely disappointing, but Felix was fortunate the ball didn’t make contact in all honesty. If it had done, a second red card of his loan spell would have surely followed.
Later on in the game, he was shown a yellow card by Paul Tierney for apparent simulation, although replays suggested that was harsh. but it shows the Portuguese still has some learning to do. Speculation suggests Chelsea are in talks about extending their loan deal rather than paying the £80m asking price set by Atletico Madrid, and the 23-year-old must improve his temperament if he is to spend another season in the Premier League.
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