Is there cause for concern about Chelsea being in 12th place again?

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 2: Pitch view prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on September 2, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

Chelsea finished the 2022/23 season in 12th place, a position that was rather surprising considering that they were 5th by Matchday 6 when then-manager Thomas Tuchel was unceremoniously sacked. The Blues’ performances plummeted from there, and they had the shocking results to go with them. These horrendous performances were made that much worse by the fact that the Blues had spent north of £600 million on playing personnel alone, meaning that player quality was not a viable excuse. The results and 12th place finish attracted a lot of deserved attention and criticism toward those responsible for coaching and managing the team.

Chelsea has now spent more than £250 million since the end of that season, yet, four league games into the new season, they find themselves 12th. Again. Does this suggest that the 2022/23 finish was not a coaching issue? Does it suggest that the player clear out that happened this summer was not needed? Or are the results and 12th place position this time down to an entirely different set of factors? Factors point to the latter.

To give a more accurate analysis of this, we need to look more closely “under the hood”. Yes, you guessed right, The Underlying Stats. Last season, Chelsea was not just bad, they were as bad as they were expected to be. They were not unlucky, they were just abysmal. Last season, according to FBref, the Blues ranked joint 11th for wins, joint 15th for goals scored, 10th for expected goals against (xGA) and 11th for expected goals scored (xG) in the Premier League.