First Touch

Another new manager is on the cards at Chelsea 

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When Mauricio Pochettino took charge of Chelsea in the summer of 2023, fans and observers didn’t expect the Argentine to resolve the issues at Stamford Bridge overnight. All associated with the club were prepared to give Pochettino time. Despite all the money spent, everyone knew he had a huge rebuilding job on his hands.

Now, with just over a quarter of the season left to go, it appears that the Blues are no better off than they were when Graham Potter departed.

So whose fault is it? And what exactly has gone wrong?

Chelsea are miles behind the leading Premier League clubs

When Thomas Tuchel departed Chelsea in 2022, the club were in a bit of a slump, but they were regular Champions League qualifiers and regular title contenders. Indeed, only 18 months earlier, the Blues had lifted the Champions League trophy.

Now, they are miles away from both. To qualify for the Champions League next season, the bookmakers are offering 100/1 on Chelsea. In the latest Premier League winner odds, where Manchester City are the 10/11 favourites, there aren’t even any odds available on Chelsea, as they are so far behind.

Even the most ardent Chelsea fans knew they wouldn’t be competing for the Premier League title this season. But many would have expected a top-six finish and a reasonable challenge to qualify for the Champions League. Instead, the Blues don’t even look like challenging for the Europa Conference League. Even finishing in the top half of the table is far from assured.

Dissent amongst Chelsea's faithful

How far the Blues have fallen is quite breathtaking. During the recent 2-2 draw away to Brentford in the Premier League, the Chelsea away fans made their feelings known to the owner and Mauricio Pochettino.

They’ve now had enough. They did give Poch a go to start with. And whether the current situation is his fault or not, he is now carrying the can.

Historically, when fans turn on the owners, they are happy to create a scapegoat – usually the manager. But as was shown when the Blues sacked the highly regarded Graham Potter in 2023, changing the manager doesn’t guarantee success.

Problems run deep

To the casual observer, the problems at Chelsea look to run deep. Changing the manager at the club merely resembles the proverbial rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic.

Chelsea’s transfer policy doesn’t seem to add up. The club has spent an absolute fortune on players in recent transfer windows, but so far, none of their investments have paid off.

Further hampering Pochettino’s efforts is the club’s attempts not to fall foul of Premier League financial fair play rules. After the astronomical outlay over the past 18 months, Chelsea now has to try to balance the books. To do this, youth products seem to be getting touted around to fellow Premier League teams in an attempt to create sales to balance the books.

Selling the former youth players will help get around the financial fair play issues, as they didn’t cost anything to buy. But that’s not helping the manager.

Expect another change of manager

Mauricio Pochettino will no doubt be sacked at some stage over the next few months. Probably in the summer. But the problems at Chelsea won’t be fixed by this, they have far deeper problems that won’t be fixed by simply changing the manager.

The damage already looks done. And the next couple of years could now simply be rebuilding.

The published material expresses the position of the author, which may not coincide with the opinion of the editor.

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