The Blues stuck with the same side that had outclassed Luton last time out but Forest left with all three points after Elanga’s early second-half strike secured a 1-0 victory.
— Nottingham Forest (@NFFC) September 2, 2023
Despite nine new signings, Mauricio Pochettino has made just two changes to his starting line-up in their four Premier League games this season – but they have won only one of them.
As Sterling set about trying to prove he was worthy of a place in the England squad he was once again omitted from last week, it was Conor Gallagher – who did make Gareth Southgate’s cut – who bent a shot just wide of the target.
Sterling, the liveliest spark in Chelsea’s attack during a forgettable first half, crossed for Ben Chilwell but he could not turn home the low centre as a stop-start first half wore on.
Forest enjoyed some possession down their right and earned a free-kick in a dangerous area when Thiago Silva dragged Taiwo Awoniyi to the ground, with the in-form striker flashing a shot over the crossbar after the resulting set-piece dropped to him in the box.
Having already scored at the Emirates Stadium and Old Trafford this season, Awoniyi came close again with an acrobatic close-range effort that flashed just wide of a post.
The visitors were forced into a change in first-half stoppage time as Danilo limped off after chasing a ball over the top, with Elanga on in his place.
FULL-TIME Chelsea 0-1 Nott'm Forest
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 2, 2023
The Sweden forward – signed from Manchester United for a reported £15million – got off the mark for Forest shortly after the restart.
A heavy touch in midfield from Caicedo gifted possession to Forest with Chelsea’s defence out of position and the away side took full advantage.
Awoniyi threaded a pass through the legs of Thiago Silva and into the path of Elanga, who coolly slotted past Robert Sanchez to break the deadlock.
It should have come through Nicolas Jackson but the summer arrival from Villarreal turned over on the stretch from six yards after some good work from Sterling picked him out in a great position.