'Off the pitch we have a lot of things to work on' - Cesar Azpilicueta seemingly aims dig at Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly following Blues' latest loss to Arsenal
- Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-1
- Sixth consecutive defeat for Lampard
- Azpilicueta points to "off the pitch" problems
WHAT HAPPENED? The Blues succumbed to their sixth consecutive defeat under Frank Lampard as title contenders Arsenal beat them 3-1 at the Emirates on Tuesday evening. Chelsea were 3-0 down within 34 minutes, courtesy of Martin Odegaard's brace and a goal from Gabriel Jesus, but looked better in the second half with Noni Madueke pulling one back after the hour mark. Skipper Azpilicueta, who started ahead of Reece James, admitted that they were "passive" in the opening half and appeared to take aim at Bohely and senior officials behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge when assessing what needs to change.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "It's the worst run since I've been at the club. We're the ones playing on the pitch and we have to turn this around. It's hard for everybody and we have to come through these moments. Off the pitch we have a lot of things to work on," he stated after the match to Sky Sports.
"The first half we were quite passive. We know they are a dangerous team and will bring a lot of people forward but we should've done better with the ball. In the second half we showed a bit of a reaction, in the first half we were far from there. It's tough for everybody, we're not in a good position. The reality is what we have now. We have to go through it. We are all disappointed, the fans at the club. We have to take responsibility and that's the only way. It's very hard, we didn't expect to be here but that's where we are. We have five games left, we have to show positive energy and win games."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Chelsea have spent £600 million on transfers since Boehly's consortium took over the club from Roman Abramovich last summer. They also paid a record fee to hire Graham Potter after sacking Thomas Tuchel, but the coach did not last the full season after Chelsea won just 12 of the 31 matches they played under the ex-Brighton boss. Now the club is staring a mass clear-out to balance their books and meet Financial Fair Play regulations following a loss of £121 million ($149m) in the club's annual accounts for 2021-22.
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WHAT NEXT? After their loss to Arsenal, Chelsea find themselves down in 12th spot with a top-four finish out of reach. However, they will play to salvage some lost pride when they take on Bournemouth next on Saturday in the Premier League.