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Home   /   Where does Pochettino’s future lie for Chelsea?

Chelsea yet again failed to provide fans a sense of hope for the future as Pochettino’s side lost 1-0 in the first leg against Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough.

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Michael Carrick celebrates an important win.

Another game, another disappointing result for Pochettino as Chelsea fell short in the first leg of the Carabao Semi-Final, against a Middlesbrough side that had 2 wins in their last 5 previous games. Chelsea fans might be saying the same thing week in week out , “we should have scored 3 or 4 more”. Whilst this is a fair assessment on paper, when we see the chances Poch’s side created it makes you wonder whether they would have deserved to win anyway.

Carrick’s reds looked a confident side that had a plan to let Chelsea have most of the ball and watched them dominate possession, but do very little with it. The Blues again played negatively, playing their famous “horse shoe”, passes along the backline, waiting for gaps to arrive in Middlesbroughs defence, but that never happened.

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Defender Dael Fry (right), pictured with Conor Gallagher.

Chelsea conceded the first goal just 37 minutes in when they failed to deal with a long ball and Isiah Jones was able to play a low cross that was prodded in by Hayden Hackney. Whilst Chelsea had a couple chances before this point, they all mostly came from Middlesbrough’s mistakes rather than any well worked attacks. After the goal was scored, nothing really changed in Chelsea’s method of play and they in fact played in a way Middlebrough would have probably liked.

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Hayden Hackney celebrates his opener.

Chelsea’s Cole Palmer looked like a man with little confidence in front of goal and later on in this game this was shown, as he failed to finish just a couple yards out when the ball rebounded to him. Whilst this was another big chance missed for Chelsea, it was another chance that truly came from poor keeping, rather than a well worked attack.

Poch’s side finished the game with 72% possession and 18 shots but they simply didn’t do enough to turn the game around after conceding early. Chelsea looked like they were relying on a moment of magic from their forwards, rather than using these brilliant forwards together to link up around the box and create well worked chances. It seemed their game plan once in the final third was to expect Madueke and Sterling to beat a man and do it alone, or simply overload crosses in the box and this worked nothing short of terribly. They made 32 crosses in the game and only 4 of these were successful, a stat that really summed up their evening.

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Cole Palmer pictured head in hands after his miss in the first half.

Credit must also be given to Brough though, who played a deep low block line that remained in solid shape throughout the whole game, providing Chelsea no gaps to attack into, which then resulted in aimless crosses to Palmer and Sterling from Chelsea, that the likes of Dael Fry and Rav Van Den Burg would happily gobble up.

The result raises questions of them as a team as scoring well worked goals is something Chelsea have struggled with ever since Pochettino arrived at the club. This shouldn’t be the case for the side he has built, with young expensive talent pumped into their midfield, it seems Chelsea still struggle to see their true potential in breaking lines in the defence. Caicedo has achieved nowhere near as many progressive passes or runs with the ball as he did at Brighton and when this is paired with Enzo Fernandez also being rather negative on the ball, it results in a lack of good chances being made in front of goal.

With the signing of Moises Caicedo for £115 million it raises the question of how on earth aren’t Chelsea creating good chances for the likes of Palmer and Sterling to latch onto? Caicedo at Brighton was brilliant at carrying the ball and especially breaking lines in the opposition’s defence. 

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The £115 million pound man hasn’t found it easy settling into the Chelsea squad.

He has failed this at Chelsea and fans haven’t truly seen what he is capable of, the Ecuadorian went from an average 1.2 key passes a game at Brighton to now just 0.5. Enzo Fernandez also has only an average of 0.8 key passes per game too. With this negative form of play from both central midfielders, it results in very little chances being made.

Pochettino has created a pattern of only performing well against the big teams, having only lost once against the “big 6” this season which is impressive, but simply isn’t enough when they struggle to achieve points against teams lower in the table. Many fans wonder how long Pochettino will be given and according to the Telegraph Chelsea have no intention on sacking him yet, however knowing their history with sacking managers his job might not be guaranteed to last even the season.

Video resurfaces of Thiago Silva apologising to fans.

His side sit 10th in the table and still have the second leg of the Semi-final to play in the league cup and they are set to play Aston Villa in the 4th round of the FA Cup on the 27th of January. If results don’t start moving more in Chelsea’s favour, Todd Boehly will have a decision to make.

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May 2024