Football: Soccer-Chelsea give new owners front-row view of erratic form
LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. investors poised to buy Chelsea have gotten a taste of the kind of chaotic performances that have marred the European champions this season as they squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2 -2 with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, leading a group backed by private equity firm Clearlake Capital that agreed to terms for a takeover earlier in the day, watched as the Blues failed once again to win at home.
It had seemed like a happier introduction for Boehly and his consortium when Chelsea record signing Romelu Lukaku, making a rare start after a poor season, scored twice in the second half, including a penalty he deserved .
But Chelsea’s frailties quickly became apparent after Wolves substitute Francisco Trincao scored in the 79th minute, sparking a nervy final for the Blues.
They seemed to have just about held on, but in the 97th minute Wolves defender Conor Coady headed home with almost the last touch of the game.
Television cameras showed Boehly in an executive box celebrating Chelsea’s goals earlier in the game, but watching, seemingly mystified, as the Blues threw away their lead.
The Londoners have recently suffered a dip in form as the club worked to sell the property of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich after being sanctioned by the British government, as part of its crackdown on Russia following the invasion of the ‘Ukraine.
Coach Thomas Tuchel pointed to his side’s lack of discipline, which saw Wolves get back into the game on Saturday, but dismissed suggestions that ownership uncertainty was to blame for the recent stumble form of his team.
“We still hope for a positive outcome and of course for this situation to be resolved,” Tuchel said.
“But it’s not worth thinking about. We have our own problems to solve and do better because we are struggling right now, obviously.”
Chelsea sit third in the Premier League and still look likely to crack the top four that would qualify them for next season’s Champions League, a lucrative ticket to Europe’s top competition for their new owners.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)