Avoiding Pochettino's Pitfalls: 3 Lessons for Maresca at Chelsea

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1. Tactics: Diversify Away from Individual Dependence

When Chelsea won the Premier League Summer Series, there was a wave of optimism among the fans. They were delighted with how the team played, especially compared to the lackluster displays under Graham Potter and Frank Lampard. However, once the season began, Chelsea adopted an entirely different approach to their games.

Things quickly went downhill. If it hadn't been for standout individual performances, particularly from Cole Palmer, Chelsea would have been in an even worse position under Mauricio Pochettino. It was evident during the away match against Arsenal, where Palmer's absence due to injury resulted in a crushing 5-0 defeat for Chelsea.

The primary reason for the shift in approach can be attributed to Christopher Nkunku's injury. As the star player with experience and a record of being the top scorer in the Bundesliga the previous season, Pochettino naturally looked to Nkunku as the focal point of the team. However, his injury forced Chelsea onto a very different path. While there were other players capable of stepping up, Pochettino opted for a basic or even a no-plan approach in some matches.

It wasn't until the end of the season that Pochettino finally started to trust other players and develop a clear plan and identity for the team. By then, however, the damage was already done, affecting both his future and Chelsea's ambitions for trophies and a Champions League spot for the next season.