Chelsea’s Champions League campaign got off to a bad start on Tuesday, when Dinamo Zagreb ruined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s debut with a 1-0 win.
After being drawn with Dinamo, Red Bull Salzburg, and AC Milan, Thomas Tuchel’s team was expected to breeze through Group E.
However, after Mislav Orsic’s first-half strike punished the Blues for another sloppy performance in Zagreb, their task may not be so simple.
Tuchel is under pressure to deliver silverware after spending £250 million ($280 million) on new signings since the end of the previous season.
However, Chelsea’s spending spree has yet to pay off, with no standout performances in the Premier League and now three consecutive away defeats in all competitions.
Aubameyang made a forgettable debut for Chelsea after leaving Arsenal in a £10.3 million deadline-day deal.
The 33-year-old had played for just eight minutes this season and only trained with Chelsea for the first time on Sunday.
Aubameyang recently suffered a fractured jaw during a violent robbery at his home, forcing the Gabon striker to fly to Italy to have a custom-made protective mask fitted last weekend.
Whether it was the mask or his unfamiliarity with his new team-mates, Aubameyang looked uncomfortable as he struggled to escape the Croatian champions’ stifling defence.
The first ominous sign came when he didn’t attack the near post as Kai Havertz whipped in a tempting low cross.
Moments later, Aubameyang ran clean through on goal, but took too long to decide whether to shoot or pass to Raheem Sterling, allowing Zagreb to avert the danger.
Chelsea monopolised possession in the early stages, but they were caught cold by a ruthless Dinamo counter in the 13th minute.
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