rior to the start of the season, much was made about the depth in Chelsea’s squad.
Indeed, after a summer in which they followed the substantial outlay on new players in the summer of 2020 by bringing Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, it seemed as if Thomas Tuchel had the kind options available to seriously challenge on a number of different fronts.
While that may still prove to be the case, the largely second-string XI who played against Southampton in another penalty shoot-out win on Tuesday evening failed to convince.
Indeed, Kai Havertz – emerging as the main man in the absence of Lukaku and Timo Werner – was arguably the only one of those who started to have performed at anywhere near the level Chelsea have shown in the Premier League.
Saul Niguez’s problems continued with the Spanish international struggling to get a hold of the game in the middle of the park, while Ross Barkley could not take his chance in the first-team despite some bright early moments.
Too often, the home side were caught on the ball and though they were playing against one of (or who at least used to be) the best pressing teams in England, there was little of the control Tuchel so often craves.
After Che Adams’ leveler in the 47th minute, Chelsea had to rely on what was a brilliant night for their goalkeeper. Without him, either in the dying embers of normal time or indeed the shoot-out, the result could have been so much worse.
Southampton, despite their struggles in a league context, often looked the more energetic of the two teams and could easily have won it in the second half.
Chelsea will undoubtedly get better upon the return of some of their bigger names. Still, a look at what lies beneath should be of concern.