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Jamie Carragher: Chelsea four top players away from catching Man City despite spending £1bn

Chelsea have spent £1bn in three transfer windows since the takeover; Blues in bottom half of Premier League, with Jamie Carragher saying their best XI is only capable of challenging for a top-four place; Frank Lampard says Mauricio Pochettino deserves patience to turn around Chelsea

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Jamie Carragher says Chelsea's best starting XI would only be strong enough to compete for a top-four place in the Premier League

Jamie Carragher says Chelsea are still four top players away from being able to compete for the Premier League, despite spending £1bn in the last three transfer windows.

The Blues' squad has been overhauled since the Todd Boehly-Clearlake takeover, with 33 signings made since May 2022.

But Chelsea finished 12th in the Premier League last season after Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter, Bruno Saltor and Frank Lampard all had spells as head coach, and they lie in the bottom half following Mauricio Pochettino's appointment in the summer.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Fulham against Chelsea in the Premier League

But Carragher remains unimpressed with the work Chelsea have done rebuilding their squad, telling Monday Night Football: "You very rarely get your best XI on the pitch and they have suffered from injuries.

"That is a team that is, at best, fighting for the top four. If you're telling me that is Chelsea's best team after they've spent £1bn... that team would still need at least four top players if they had any chance of catching Manchester City.

Image: Chelsea's likely strongest XI

"The goalkeeper is not good enough, the centre-forward is not good enough, they need a centre-back and probably another midfield player.

"To think Chelsea have spent over £1bn and they still feel like they're half a team away from competing for the Premier League title is flabbergasting."

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Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino speaks about whether his side will address their goalscoring problems in January

'Don't get carried away with Chelsea's underlying numbers'

Chelsea's results have underwhelmed since Pochettino took charge but, ahead of taking on Fulham on Monday, they ranked third in the Premier League for expected goals per game and first for average possession.

However, the West London side had the highest underperformance compared to their expected goals and had missed more big chances than any other top-flight side.

Image: Chelsea's underlying numbers after six Premier League matches

But Carragher is not convinced those numbers are an indicator of an imminent upturn in form, saying: "You could say Chelsea have been unlucky in a lot of their games but if I was a Chelsea fan, I wouldn't get too carried away saying that, because of the underlying numbers, this eventually will sort itself out.

"The numbers should be like that because of the opposition they're playing against.

Image: Chelsea's first eight Premier League matches this season

"Yes, Liverpool's a tough game, but against everyone else they've come up against they should have higher possession, they should have more chances and shots, they should be better defensively because they are a lot stronger than the other teams.

"Let's not forget, this is a team that's spent £1bn. It should have quality. Those numbers should be there.

"That is not a big indicator of where Chelsea are going to go in the next few months because the fixtures get a lot tougher now."

Image: Chelsea's next seven matches after the October international break

Lampard: Chelsea need to break cycle of negativity

Lampard was the fourth coach to take charge of Chelsea last season, leading the club as interim manager until the end of the season after taking charge in April.

Lampard - who is Chelsea's record goalscorer - won just one of his 11 matches in charge but believes his successor will be given time to improve the Blues' fortunes.

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Former Chelsea midfielder and manager Frank Lampard admits there is no 'magic wand' to fix some of the problems facing the club at the moment

"I think he will get patience and I think he deserves it," Lampard said of Pochettino on Monday Night Football. "He's a man that comes with a big pedigree as a coach and I've already referenced some of the issues I felt and saw and he'll have his own version of that.

"We all want to perform as well as we can and he needs time.

"As a coach, I know xG is an indicator of sorts. When you get in attacking areas, you are, as a coach, sometimes reliant on finishing and your players, so he will be frustrated with that because that's what gets you a good start going into that run of games, which breeds confidence.

"It just generates a sort of negativity in games and even if you are controlling possession and having fair chances and start to miss them, there's a feeling among the fans, a feeling among the players that if you don't score, it becomes more tense.

"Then the other team score and that becomes a recurring thing, so they are going to have to break that."

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