Pochettino sacked, Mourinho return – Final Chelsea manager verdict given after Arsenal loss

Chelsea news as Mauricio Pochettino has his darkest day in charge of the Blues and pressure on his jobs ramps up once again following a shambolic second half against Arsenal....READ FULL ARTICLE

Mauricio Pochettino is once more fighting to prove his worth at Chelsea after being hammered 5-0 away to Arsenal on Tuesday night. The Blues entered the game on their best unbeaten streak in the league for two years but left the Emirates Stadium humbled and humiliated by a side they used to enjoy playing.

It is now just one win in the last one win in the last 10 against the Gunners for Chelsea, a record symptomatic of a club in decline facing one moving forward. There have been some horror shows in there too but nothing particularly close.

The Blues are still within touching distance of the top six – just three points off Newcastle and Manchester United – but have been thoroughly battered and bruised. The Argentine will now have to pick up his players for yet more testing fixtures against Aston Villa and Tottenham to come.

Supporters who have never truly connected with their new boss have had enough now with more pressure being pushed onto those above Pochettino in the pecking order.

With four games left of the season and an assessment of his first term to come in the summer, football.london

writers have given their thoughts on just where Chelsea go from now.

Chelsea appear to have come back to the start, exactly where they were 12 months ago after sacking Graham Potter. Albeit with new players and a younger core, the general consensus is that Pochettino is not getting the best out of a talented group that should be higher up the table.

Ultimately, failure to qualify for Europe and more struggles of this nature will leave Chelsea with only one decision to make in the summer. It’s hard to see Pochettino being on the touchline come August.

This has been the case for a while now and even an extended run of improved form – blotted by yet more chaotic results – cannot change it. Chelsea are staring down the barrel of having a fourth permanent manager in a little over 18 months.

Who is that guy? Good luck to them. Chelsea are a poorly run club from top to bottom right now and Pochettino’s warnings over his squad in recent weeks carry plenty of weight.

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Everyone is culpable for the mess right now and the easiest change is still the manager. Pochettino hasn’t particularly helped himself in this scenario with questionable tactical decisions, poor use of substitutions, failing to build a relationship with fans, and middling results at best.

But the argument for less change being better is still strong. Do fans trust the decision-makers to call the shots correctly this time after nearly two years of errors in important departments? That is certainly another thing.

Either way, Chelsea are behind in the race to snap up a head coach and that could cause them problems. Jose Mourinho part three, anyone? It wouldn’t even be a surprise at this stage.

It’s time for Mauricio Pochettino to go. In fact, he should have probably been moved on a while ago. See, in the summer, he managed to quickly transform Chelsea into a high-pressing, free-flowing attacking side that brought the best out of Christopher Nkunku, Carney Chukwuemeka, Mykhailo Mudryk and Nicolas Jackson.

Despite working with a large squad, the former Tottenham Hotspur boss laid the foundations to his philosophy – which, at the time, excited Blues supporters. Ben Chilwell played left-back. Levi Colwill partnered Thiago Silva at centre-half. And, Carney Chukwuemeka glued the team together in midfield.

For some bizarre reason, as soon as Nkunku returned to the treatment room, Pochettino scrapped all his hard work. Suddenly, Mudryk was dropped, Chilwell was on the left wing and Colwill was shifted across to left-back. Why? The 52-year-old simply isn’t a dynamic problem solver.

Yes, the injury crisis has been unfortunate but he hasn’t given fans a reason to buy into his ‘tactics’. Eddie Howe has suffered a similar issue, with regard to keeping his best players fit, yet Newcastle United supporters still back him because he’s implemented an identity and shown great promise.

The same can not be said about Pochettino, unfortunately. Chelsea have regressed beyond belief since pre-season. It’s time to go. Get John Terry in until the end of the season to re-establish the club’s values while the sporting directors explore the market for a new permanent boss.

I’ve felt for some time that changing the manager would not change anything.

There needs to be a unity, a common sense of purpose and a desire to work together on the project at hand. Sacking the manager every season will solve nothing. But Pochettino is making it harder and harder to stick up for him.

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Chelsea had gone eight games unbeaten in all competitions after the Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool. The problem was two of those were FA Cup wins against Championship opposition and three were Premier League draws against struggling sides.

The defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final was harsh. Chelsea were the better team but the age-old problem of not putting chances in the back of the net reared its head again.

Then came Arsenal on Tuesday night. There were bright sparks in the first half, but the second half was just atrocious. The defending on display was akin to Sunday league at times and Pochettino’s team selection left a lot to be desired. Do Chelsea rely too heavily on Cole Palmer? You bet.

There are moments where you think Pochettino can get it right and mould Chelsea into the team he and everyone expects them to be. Then there are moments like Tuesday night.

Would any of the top six take Djordje Petrovic, Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah, Benoit Badiashile or Axel Disasi into their teams? Probably not. And that tells you the whole story.

The defence is not good enough and up top they can’t put the ball in the net unless Palmer is around. Is that Pochettino’s fault?

I feel sorry for Mauricio Pochettino. He comes across like that jovial uncle at family barbecues that won’t stop cracking cheesy jokes and he’s been handed one of the most poisoned chalices in world football.

However, I’m not really sure what more he can do with the cards he has been dealt. Two years ago Chelsea took the would-be European champions right to the brink in Madrid and had a squad capable of challenging.

That manager was ruthlessly sacked, that squad torn apart and replaced with very questionable big-money signings and the gulf in class last night is the consequence and reality of the situation.

But, and should be in another cup final and I don’t watch them and think they’re millions of miles away from those above them. They were beaten by a side last night which took Mikel Arteta three years to get remotely close to challenging at the top and I can safely say that his second season at Arsenal was a lot worse than Pochettino’s first at Chelsea.

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Patience is a virtue at the best of times but in football, it’s an absolute necessity. It is the youngest squad in the league, they can’t control their price tags and it will get better. Sacking Pochettino now is back to square one. Besides, do you really trust this ownership to have a coherent plan to replace him?

The last time Chelsea had a manager complete two full seasons – August to May – was Antonio Conte back in 2016/17 and 2017/18. The club desperately needs stability. “When we have bad days, we are so bad. When we are good, we are capable of everything.”

Despite the 5-0 thrashing, Chelsea must not forget the draws with Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal (in the reverse fixture) this season. The Blues have reached Wembley twice and could still secure European football. There have undoubtedly been shoots of growth.

The problem has been consistency and changing the manager will certainly not lead to this being fixed. Moreover, in light of the average age of the current Chelsea squad being 23-and-a-half years, let’s not forget what Pochettino did with a young Tottenham side.

There really is no one better out there for the job and to think otherwise is foolhardy.

Any manager would face problems with this Chelsea squad. That the Blues fielded the youngest side that Arsenal had faced in the Premier League era andperfectly illustrates the point.

Pochettino may have presided over several humbling moments during his debut campaign but there has also been evidence of improvement.

Reaching the Carabao Cup final and coming close to doing the same in the FA Cup, while remarkably being three points off sixth place in the Premier League – these are green shoots that one defeat, albeit a disastrous 5-0 collapse against Arsenal, should not overshadow too much.

What Chelsea require is not a new manager but more experienced players to guide their youthful squad through tough times.

Pochettino may not prove to be the long-term solution for Chelsea but with Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and possibly Manchester United looking for new managers, the pool of options available to the Blues quickly becomes pretty thin.

In a summer when players will also be away at the Euros and Copa America this summer, replacing Pochettino would only serve to further tangle the mess that Chelsea are attempting to unravel....READ FULL ARTICLE

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