CHELSEA’S January spending spree can’t come quick enough for Graham Potter who saw his side put through the mincer by lowly Forest.
Instead they were torn apart by a frenzied Forest who picked themselves off the floor to give their big-spending opponents a second-half spanking.
Steve Cooper’s side deservedly equalised through former Spurs full-back Serge Aurier just beyond the hour mark.
And though Potter tried to respond by making a triple substitution midway through the second half the real damage had already been done.
Forest were in full flow by then, roared on by a partisan home crowd to have Chelsea hanging on the ropes as the home side pushed for a knockout punch.
In the end the Blues survived to leave battered and bruised but with a hard-earned point.
They might even have nicked all three late on when sub Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to provide the final touch to head home a delicious Hakim Ziyech cross from point blank range.
But it would have been grand larceny as Forest had earlier passed up a string of good scoring chances.
Steve Cooper’s side had given Chelsea plenty of warnings, none more so than when Morgan Gibbs-White crashed a stunning shot off the underside of the bar.
That ball bounced fractionally the wrong side of the line from Forest’s point of view, with Kepa Arrizabalaga beaten all ends.
However the visitors’ luck finally ran out when Kai Havertz nodded a Gibbs-White corner high into the air.
Willy Boly won the duel to get his head to keep the ball in the mix and Aurier pounced to control the ball on his chest before swivelling to volley home.
Quite simply Chelsea failed to match Forest’s passion, fight and running power.
Kalidou Koulibaly was run ragged by Forest powerhouse Taiwo Awoniyi who provided a focal front up front which Kai Havertz could never provide for Potter’s team.
David Datro Fofana was in the stands after signing from Molde for £8.7million.
But the striker only turned 20 in December and, though he has scored 15 goals in 24 games in Norway’s top flight this season, he is being groomed for the future rather than as Armando Broja’s immediate replacement.
Monaco’s 21-year-old left-sided centre-back Benoit Badiashile is scheduled to undergo a medical tomorrow ahead of his £35m move.
But Potter must be praying Chelsea can thrash out a schedule of payments for Benfica’s World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez who would set them back an eye-watering £105million.
His one consolation was the end result wasn’t even worse thanks to Sterling.
The £47.5m summer signing showed he is made of the Wright stuff as his first half strike put him level with striking legend Ian Wright on 113 Premier League goals.
Not bad going for someone who has often been derided for his finishing for club and country!
But Chelsea will need more than Sterling to turn up for the party with a double header against his former club Manchester City up next.