Chelsea are not billion-pound bottle jobs... but they need a finisher after painful FA Cup defeat to Man City

Painful defeat: Chelsea were left to rue missed chances (AFP via Getty Images)
Painful defeat: Chelsea were left to rue missed chances (AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea should have beaten Manchester City, but now they know they will end the season trophyless after losing yet another game at Wembley.

As was the case against Liverpool in February, in the Carabao Cup final, Chelsea dominated over 90 minutes but couldn’t score against a tired-looking Manchester City, who lost on penalties after 120 gruelling minutes against Real Madrid in midweek.

Bernardo Silva scored the only goal in a 1-0 win on by turning in Kevin De Bruyne’s low cross.

Mauricio Pochettino was left furious with referee Michael Oliver at the final whistle. Cole Palmer’s free-kick struck Jack Grealish's arm inside the box but the officials waved away the appeals and VAR did not come to the Blues’ rescue.

But Pochettino must also be angry that poor finishing again cost his side, with seven league matches now left to save the season by qualifying for the Europa League or Conference League.

Chelsea wasted a number of chances to break the deadlock (REUTERS)
Chelsea wasted a number of chances to break the deadlock (REUTERS)

Jackson’s bad day

Nicolas Jackson huffed and puffed, but he could not blow Pep Guardiola’s door down.

The 22-year-old striker was the story of much of the match, stretching Manchester City in behind as they stifled Cole Palmer but left space open to others.

But for all his good work, the Senegal international will only be remembered for his missed chances.

His first, and perhaps best, was after breaking the offside trap and rounding goalkeeper Stefan Ortega but failing to shoot. He couldn’t beat Ortega when one-on-one moments later and had a couple of other tame efforts in the second-half when he had to score.

It was a bad afternoon for Jackson, offering up more evidence that he is not clinical enough.

An outstanding team display

Chelsea have begun to show real balance late in the season, offering hope for the final seven Premier League matches.

The back line of Malo Gusto, Trevoh Chalobah, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella looked solid. Enzo Fernandez was poor, but Moises Caicedo excelled in midfield.

The front line protected the defence well as Conor Gallagher played on the left wing, allowing Nicolas Jackson and Cole Palmer to feature down the middle and Noni Madueke on the right.

The Blues have been changing their system frequently in recent weeks and have conceded many goals, but they found solidity in this shape against one of the best teams in the world.

Not billion-pound bottle job... just poor finishers

Pochettino can say he did everything right tactically, dominating Man City for 90 minutes.

But he will now have all the evidence he needs to know if Palmer does not score, Chelsea lack finishers in the team.

Jackson had most of the chances but does not seem like a real top-level finisher.

It is little wonder Chelsea are considering signing a striker. Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko, and Brentford’s Ivan Toney are among the options being considered.