Should Chelsea sack or stick with Mauricio Pochettino?

The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea and tries to analyse whether the Argentine manager should be sacked.

Mauricio Pochettino has been under the pump since the initial weeks of the 2023/24 season. He took charge of the West London club last summer after they failed to finish inside the top half of the Premier League.

The former Tottenham Hotspur boss was expected to help revive the club. But, things have not been that great since he took charge. The Blues have lost 14 matches across competitions this season, and they are currently ninth in the Premier League.

Chelsea suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat at the hands of rivals Arsenal on Tuesday night. They were completely dominated by Mikel Arteta’s team, and the performance has not done Pochettino any good with regards to his job.

While the overview does suggest that Chelsea should part ways with the former Tottenham boss, there are quite a few reasons why the Blues should back the 52-year-old Argentine manager.

The West London club might not be getting the desired results under Pochettino’s guidance. But the stats suggest that they are a much better team than what their current position in the Premier League suggests. While one cannot simply defend a result like 5-0 against arch-rivals Arsenal, the overall stats suggest the club should back him just like the Gunners have done with Mikel Arteta.

When Arteta took charge of Arsenal back in the day, he asked for patience from the fans as he looked to shape a young squad. Pochettino has a similar task at hand, and given enough time, he could succeed.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea: Numbers Game

Chelsea are ninth in the Premier League with 47 points in their 32 outings. They have lost 11 league games, conceded 57 goals and have only scored 61 so far. These numbers are not good enough for a team that has so much quality in their ranks.

While they have been playing some attractive football, they do not have the end results to show for it. Amongst their eight draws and 11 defeats in the league, they had the opportunity to win quite a few of those fixtures. But, the young brigade could not get the job done.

In terms of expected points, the Blues are fifth in the league with 53.18, while they only have 47 points so far. They are fifth in the league in terms of expected goals 67.32 but have only scored 61. In terms of xGA 54.05, they have a better record than that of Manchester United, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur who are above them in the league.

These stats clearly show us that Pochettino has had an impact on the team and they are playing some decent ball but they haven’t been able to get the desired end result.

Chelsea’s 2023/24 season in comparison with Manchester United, Aston Villa, and Tottenham

Chelsea, who are currently ninth on the points table, have been playing some good football, and it is pretty clear when we compare their overall performance in the 2023/24 season with the likes of Manchester United (7th), Tottenham Hotspur (5th) and Aston Villa (4th) with the help of DataMB.

In terms of goals per 90, Aston Villa (87) have the best numbers amongst the four, while Chelsea (83.2) have a better record than Manchester United (70.2) and Tottenham (81.6). If we look at the overall attacking numbers which include shots on target per 90, touches in box per 90 and xG per 90, Chelsea have a better record than all three of the teams that are above them.

Chelsea compared to Aston Villa, Manchester United, Tottenham (Courtesy: Data MB)

When it comes to possession percentage, positional attacks per 90, accurate passes per 90, pass accuracy percentage and average passes per possession Chelsea (88.2) have a much better record than Manchester United (65.7), Tottenham (86.5) and Aston Villa (49.6).

The Blues are better in terms of the physical side of things which includes duels and aerial duels won. But overall, the defending has been a cause of major concern. They need to put together a strong defensive base and bring in a forward who can help them convert the number of chances that they create up top.

Management, not Mauricio Pochettino, bears the responsibility

It is important to understand that management has a major role in the Blues’ decline in the recent past. While they have done well to sign some of the best young players, it won’t be wrong to say that these signings have not been well thought after.

Since the Todd Boehly-led takeover, Chelsea have spent a fortune on new signings. they have forked out millions to sign young players and have handed them long-term deals without giving much thought to what kind of football they want to play and whether these players will fit into the manager’s style of play.

While quite a few of these young players could become important players of their first team in the long run, these signings have not been made on the basis of a concerted plan. It is more like they saw the opportunity, had the money and went after it to get it done.

Since Pochettino is not the one who necessarily had the final say in signing majority of those players, the blame should not be only on him. The Argentine should be given an opportunity to bring in the type of players he wants and shape this young squad in his ways to get the desired results.

One cannot deny that the former Tottenham manager has got them playing an interesting brand of football, and the arrival of a prolific striker could help them significantly. The Blues have not scored enough goals despite having created quite a few opportunities. Cole Palmer has been their go-to man in front of goal, and they do need a proven goal scorer who can guarantee goals.

The Blues are pushing hard to sign a new striker in the summer, with Victor Osimhen a top target. That number nine could help Chelsea significantly and along with that, they should allow Pochettino to make the necessary changes to the squad to get them back on track.

While multiple reports suggest that Chelsea are ready to part ways with the Argentine manager, they might have already made a decision regarding his future and are looking to back him for as long as possible.

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