Chelsea can’t buy a goal this season – but good lord, have they tried.
They say goalscorers are priceless and someone really ought to have told the Blues before they spent more than £300million since 2020 on forwards who can’t score goals.
Languishing in tenth, Graham Potter’s expensive collection of attacking stars find themselves behind west London minnows Brentford and Fulham.
But while the lack of points is deeply concerning, it is the ‘goals for’ column which will trouble the Chelsea manager most.
Brentford and Fulham both have 30 goals this season, which is 150 per cent of the Blues’ shocking 20-goal tally.
Granted, they have both played one game more, but we can’t see Chelsea bridging that gap any time soon.
Potter’s men have only managed five goals in their last eight Premier League matches, winning one game in that run.
Yes, they have been unfortunate with injuries, but their lack of goals is not down to bad luck.
Arsenal want Felix AND Mudryk, Fernandez back in Portugal, Orsic joins Southampton
Romeo Beckham ‘proud’ after signing loan deal with Premier League developmental side
Jack Butland’s old tweet about being a no.2 resurfaces after Man United transfer
Ronaldo can live with partner Rodriguez despite Saudi’s strict unmarried couple laws
Man United ‘agree deal’ to sign Aboubakar with Ronaldo and Al Nassr to benefit
‘A generous, kind man who loved football’ – tributes pour in for Chelsea legend Vialli
Their expected goals (xG), which measures how many times the ball should be in the back of the net given the quality of chances created, is 20.59.
That means Chelsea have scored the exact number of goals their football deserves.
In their last five games, the Blues have only managed 12 shots on target.
To put that into context, Brighton had eight away at Everton on Tuesday.
So if not bad luck or an unwillingness to spend money, what is the problem? Simple: a cursed No.9 shirt.
After Romelu Lukaku’s struggles last season, Chelsea’s famous poisoned chalice of a jersey is the only explanation – and it has reached new lows with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The former Arsenal striker, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Barcelona for £10million in the summer, has three goals for the Blues.
In the 1-0 defeat to City, the 33-year-old suffered the ignominy of getting subbed on and off in the same match, after an hour of looking truly lost.
Money spent on forwards at Chelsea since 2020
Raheem Sterling – £47.5m
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £10m
Romelu Lukaku – £99m
Kai Havertz – £70m
Timo Werner – £45m
Hakim Ziyech – £33m
His performance was symbolic of a Chelsea attack which could seemingly play for weeks on end and fail to create a chance.
Even in the 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest, a fluke deflection off the crossbar created their one and only good chance, while the struggling hosts carried all the threat.
Another relegation-battling side, Leeds, have managed five more goals than the Blues in the same number of games.
But perhaps the most damning stat is that Chelsea have 19 less goals than they did at this stage last season.
That is almost exactly half the number of goals after 17 games, and given they hardly set the world alight in the 2021/22 campaign, it is quite staggering.
In the Premier League era, only the 1994 and 1996 campaigns saw lower Chelsea goal tallies after 17 matches.
The Blues went on to finish 14th and 11th respectively in those seasons. In 2016, they finished 10th with a higher amount of goals than this after 17 games.
So, what does £300m buy you these days? A top-half finish, if they’re lucky.