Chelsea could keep clean sheets in all of their remaining Premier League games and still have conceded more than Jose Mourinho’s 2004/05 title-winning team.
If any one team in the league wants to break the record of just 15 goals then Arsenal and Newcastle can only concede three more each, and Manchester City just two. Teams score more goals these days but it’s unlikely that anyone will be challenging Mourinho’s record soon. Here’s a spoiler, they never do.
The issue for Chelsea is that this isn’t just a ‘this season thing.’ Their record at the back has dropped off majorly since Thomas Tuchel’s initial five months at the club. In 2022 they have conceded 35 in 31 matches, in 2021 that ended up as 32 in 42.
Be it a back five, back four or back three – more commonly seen recently under Graham Potter – Chelsea haven’t managed to consistently shut teams out. Their last clean sheet was seven games ago, before that there were five in a row. Going back further, it’s February for the last time there were back-to-back clean sheets.
Losing Antonio Rudiger doesn’t help, but bringing in Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella for over £100m as well as Wesley Fofana for another £70m and it’s hard to explain. The absence of Reece James doesn’t help, and the lack of a midfield protector too. Potter must find a way to solve the problem though.
There could be a January answer to this though. Rudy Galetti reports that Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez could be the mid-season go-to for Potter and Boehly. His side were dumped out of the Champions League and failed to qualify for the Europa League too.
The Uruguayan was linked with a move to SW6 in 2020 under Frank Lampard but his huge £109m release clause was a major put-off. Now, at 27 and with a contract until 2025, Todd Boehly may be able to work some winter brilliance in a reduced fee for the centre-back.
Gimenez will be at the World Cup with his country over the next month but could also be part of a frantic January window if Chelsea do choose to go into the market for extra defensive reinforcement