Have Chelsea improved under Mauricio Pochettino?

Blues opinion

Chelsea FC v Burnley FC - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Burnley FC - Premier League / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages

Throughout the 2023-24 season, Chelsea have struggled for form and have not been able to string a run of wins together with their latest run of five games without a defeat being their best throughout this season. The Blues last home league game against Burnley was a clear reflection of how the season has panned out for the West London side. Over reliance on Cole Palmer for goals and creativity, not converting clear cut chances to take the lead and continous lapse of concentration leading to goals being conceded.

All of this has left the club at eleventh in the Premier League with their chances of qualifying for European competitions diminishing game after game. From the surface it seems Chelsea have not really progressed after their 12th place finish last season and this has caused the fans to raise questions whether Mauricio Pochettino has really improved the team in any way shape or form?

The fanbase is very much divided on whether the Argentinian manager should be sacked or not as he has not been able to build a rapport with the fanbase. And with his recent quotes claiming they should be in top four has raised some eyebrows.

"If you look at all the data, we should be in fourth position in the table. But for different reasons we are not there."

Mauricio Pochettino

But the real question is; has CFC improved under Mauricio Pochettino after the sacking of Graham Potter exactly a year ago? Lets have a look at the data to see whether the fans are right for asking the manager to be sacked. Same time last season after the sacking of Graham Potter, Chelsea were sat in 11th place with 38 points with a goal difference of minus one and right now after 28 games, the Blues have slightly improved with 40 points and a positive goal difference of two. One thing which has certainly improved are the quality of game being played as last season under the stewardship of the English manager, the games were very dull and the west Londoners could barely score. Under the former Spurs manager, the matches contested by Chelsea have been very entertaining for the neutrals to say the least.

Seeing the stats, we can clearly see that Mauricio Pochettino has enjoyed a better win percentage with 47.5% as compared to Potter's 38.71%. This is also effected with a better and much easier run to the Carabao Cup final and FA Cup semi-final where they will face Manchester City whereas the English manager faced the treble winning team in the third round of both the competitions which they lost. A certain aspect in which Chelsea have improved is their goal scoring form as they have scored more than double the goals they scored under Potter with only nine more games. But this has also contributed to the team conceding more goals and being open at the back conceding 57 compared to former Brighton's manager 31.

Having got the luxury to spend an entire pre-season with the squad which Potter never got (hired early in September 2022), Pochettino did not have to deal with a schedule cluttered with Champions League football. But in terms of team selection, Potter never seemed to settle on a core of players and kept chopping and changing his team which meant the team never got the chance to gel together. The current Chelsea manager on the other hand has had a fixed core group of players he relies upon who start almost every week barring any injuries (Cole Palmer, Malo Gusto, Axel Disasi, Enzo Fernandes, Conor Gallagher etc). This has meant slowly but surely there are players in the Chelsea squad who are improving even though they make a few mistakes here and there.

Despite Pochettino improving the West London side's attacking output, there are still two clear elephants in the room; goals conceded and changes missed. Hefty tally of goals scored has meant that defensive standards have slipped and number of chances missed every week indicate that there is plenty of room for improvement. Chelsea are on course to set a club record for most goals conceded in the Premier League since it began in 1992. Given that they are just eight goals shy of the embarrassing benchmark of 55 goals set in 1994-95, it will take some turnaround for them not to eclipse that figure over the remaining 10 league matches.

With the Argentinian manager only having a year left on his deal in the summer, his future will be assessed by the hierarchy then. The justification for persisting rather than sacking again would undoubtedly be strengthened if Pochettino could widen the gap between his and Potter's stats in the final two months of the season.