Chelsea can’t seem to get anything right these days!
None of the 16 signings made by Todd Boehly since the ownership change at Stamford Bridge has managed to deliver convincing performances in their maiden season to give the club faithful a reason to be excited about the future.
The American businessman has also made changes to Chelsea’s coaching and backroom staff. The season started with the departure of Thomas Tuchel. Graham Potter was brought in with the suggestion of a long-term rebuilding project. Mid-way through the season, the former Brighton and Hove Albion manager has been sacked. His replacement on an interim basis – Frank Lampard, is yet to avoid a defeat in his first four games.
In one of those defeats – a 2-1 loss to Brighton at home – another gaffe surfaced and ironically it entertained the supporters more than the football Chelsea’s expensive squad is playing these days.
Brighton forward Danny Welbeck replaced injured Evan Ferguson before the end of the first half on Saturday afternoon. When the former Manchester United talent was making his entrance, the Stamford Bridge scoreboard showed ‘Substitution, Player on’, with Cody Gakpo’s name mentioned instead of Welbeck’s.
The Liverpool man was probably chilling at home before Liverpool’s clash against Leeds United on Monday night and must’ve received plenty of notifications about his ‘appearance’ in London.
This inspired chants from the away crowd, who sang “Cody Gakpo, he’s one of our own”. The real Gakpo obviously didn’t feature in the game, but his ‘namesake’ Welbeck did the job and minutes after his substitution found the equalising goal. Julio Enciso added another goal in the second half to win all three points for Brighton.
Considering Welbeck scored a 91st-minute equaliser against Chelsea last season as well, it’s funny his name of all people was wrongly mixed up. Clearly not a favourite at Stamford Bridge! However, he’s certainly cherished by Seagulls supporters, who despite jokingly singing Gakpo’s name, really admire the 32-year-old’s regular cameos off the bench.
Even Brighton’s Twitter admin made fun of the situation as the Liverpool Twitter account celebrated Cody Gakpo’s goal against Leeds United.
The defeat at the hands of Roberto De Zerbi’s men was Lampard’s third in as many games. On Tuesday night, Real Madrid piled on their misery by beating the London outfit 2-0 to end their Champions League journey 4-0 on aggregate in the quarter-finals. Brazilian forward Rodrygo scored the brace in last night’s game.
Champions League exit also means Chelsea will have to wait more than one season to play the famous anthem on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, as hopes of qualifying for the elite competition through the Premier League are as good as over. The Blues sit outside the top 10 on the league table, 17 points behind fourth-placed (last qualifying spot) Newcastle United.
The Gakpo-Welbeck gaffe is the least of Chelsea’s concerns ahead of the summer transfer window. Boehly and his recruitment staff will have to get a lot of things right, including appointing an elite manager with a clear plan, to bring the club back on track. It’ll be interesting to see if they decide to go back to Brighton in an attempt to strengthen their project after failure under their former manager Potter.
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