Joe Cole questions Mauricio Pochettino's major Romelu Lukaku decision amid Chelsea goal woes


Former Chelsea winger Joe Cole has questioned the club's decision to loan out striker Romelu Lukaku to Roma as Mauricio Pochettino's men continue to struggle in front of goal.

Despite having scored eight over their previous three matches, the Blues looked as though they were trying to achieve the exact opposite after they squandered numerous chances in their 2-0 loss to Brentford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Pochettino's side dominated the opening half, which saw Marc Cucurella miss twice from six yards and Noni Madueke hit the crossbar from outside the box.

Their failure to break down teams utilising a low block system has been a long-running thorn in Chelsea's side, even harkening back to frustrating days under Thomas Tuchel. Graham Potter and Frank Lampard's second bite at the Blues managerial cherry were also unable to conquer the fearsome tactic and it appears as though Pochettino has fallen into that same category.

Ethan Pinnock's header early in the second half gifted the Bees the lead and then only exacerbated Chelsea's task as Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa dropped even deeper, with Thomas Frank's side playing much of the second half with all 11 men behind the ball in their own half.

It was a similar story earlier on this season in the 0-0 draw against Bournemouth and versus Nottingham Forest, a 1-0 loss that saw a lot of pressure heaved onto the Argentinian's shoulders. Since then, there's been visible improvements, but clearly not enough to warrant a significant amount of support from fans who are evidently tired of the poor form.

The Blues have now scored just 13 goals this season, the 11th-most in the league, with Nicolas Jackson leading the way with just three. The rather unexperienced summer signing from Villarreal has had to lead the line for Chelsea in an unfamiliar league in an unfamiliar system, but has still managed to find himself in decent positions with decent opportunities at goal.

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Behind him sits Armando Broja, the Albanian international still slowly getting back to full fitness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines following a brutal knee injury back in December last year. Other than that, Pochettino is at a loss for natural No.9 options with Christopher Nkunku still out with injury.

It leaves some Blues fans questioning the decision to send out-of-favour star Lukaku on loan to Italian side Roma in the summer, even with the bad blood between the player and the club still evident in the training ground. Pochettino openly admitted he'd refused to speak with the star after he tried to push for a move away from Chelsea, and eventually settled with former Blues boss Jose Mourinho's side in the Serie A.

"No [I'm not sad] because the situation was very clear and I did not create any expectation in my mind," Pochettino said after the star had left in August. "What I hear through the club, that the player wanted to leave, I believe that. The circumstances were clear."

Whether supporters wanted him there or not, the Belgian international has certainly sent a statement back to Stamford Bridge with his performances in Italy. Eight goals in his first 10 appearances under Mourinho have seen him show just how capable the star is in front of goal if given the right tools.

Despite the history between the player and his former team, Cole believes that it was a poor decision to send Lukaku away given their inability to put the ball in the back of the net recently. Speaking to TNT Sports, he highlighted the makeup of the squad and targeted past choices.

"With Romelu Lukaku, for all of his faults, he was in the door. He was a success at Inter Milan, he scored goals at Everton and West Brom in this country, why couldn't he score goals at Chelsea? What was wrong [with him]?

"He is scoring goals now for Roma. So we have to look within ourselves, what is wrong with this club at the moment? I don't blame the manager one bit. Him and his staff are doing everything they can and I don't even blame the players. They are all top players.

"The squad is unbalanced, but there is something wrong fundamentally with the club at the moment. You here all the buzz words around the club but at the end of the day, we can't score goals." Chelsea WhatsApp channel

Chelsea flag prior the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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