Chelsea are still waiting for a £220 million ($284 million) spending spree to pay off as Frank Lampard’s men began their Champions League campaign with an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Sevilla at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have now won just two of their opening six games of the season and the only consolation of a cagey encounter for Lampard was a rare clean sheet.
With Champions League debutants Rennes and Krasnodar making up Group E, both sides were happy to settle for a point against what they will perceive as their toughest opponents in the section.
Chelsea’s defensive problems were exposed as they blew the lead twice to draw 3-3 for the second time in five Premier League games this season to Southampton on Saturday.
But with Edouard Mendy back from injury to take the place of the error-strewn Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal, the Blues were far more solid against a Sevilla side that has lost just twice in their last 27 matches.
Mendy only had one serious save to make when Nemanja Gudelj’s header was deflected by Kurt Zouma and the Senegalese stopper had to react quickly to swat the ball to safety.
Sevilla were without highly-rated centre-back Jules Kounde, who attracted interest from Manchester City last month, due to a coronavirus infection.
However, the organised defensive structure that saw Julen Lopetegui’s men beat Manchester United and Inter Milan to win Sevilla’s sixth Europa League title in August kept Chelsea’s expensive collection of attacking stars quiet.
Timo Werner was the Blues’ biggest threat, but the German wasting his best chance by skewing a shot wide with the last action of the first-half.
Chelsea posed a greater attacking threat after half-time as Christian Pulisic came alive after the American was switched onto the left flank.
Pulisic’s run won the corner which produced the home side’s best chance of the night, but centre-back Zouma placed his header straight at Bono.
Joan Jordan came within inches of winning the game in spectacular style for Sevilla as his sweetly struck volley from the edge of the box dipped onto the roof of the net.