Pochettino is right, but Chelsea is always making it easy - and by design

Chelsea conceded four or more goals once again in a Premier League game as Arsenal ran riot against a bewildered Mauricio Pochettino. This is the fifth time that is happening to Pochettino’s men this season.
Arsenal FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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Benoit Badiashile
Arsenal FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

To underline the aggressiveness in Chelsea’s press, according to Sofascore, in the 2021/22 season, Ziyech led all Chelsea players in the league for possession won in the final third per game (0.7). This season, out of Nicolas Jackson, Conor Gallagher, Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling, the lowest recorded number of possessions won in the final third per game is…0.7. 

Palmer averages 0.8 per game, Sterling averages the same. Gallagher? 1.2. Gallagher’s was as high as 1.5 some months ago. 

This system combined with the deficiencies also explains why, even in games where Chelsea loses heavily, Fernandez and Caicedo are hardly ever close enough to make a high volume of defensive actions. 

The pair attempted, yes, attempted four tackles in the Liverpool 4-1 walloping, six tackles in yesterday’s 5-0 whipping, five tackles in the 4-4 “thriller”, and six tackles (from just Fernandez) in the 4-2 Wolves stunner. Yes, combined. 

You can only defend if you’re in position to do so, and you will never be able to defend if you’re always out of position when the opposition is running at your goal. 

The positional indiscipline in the pivot is on the personnel, as they should know how to better position themselves. The lack of tempo control is also on them, with Caicedo even doing a better job of controlling play, which is strange considering Fernandez still carries the “pass master” tag around. 

However, the openness of the team defensively and in transitions, is squarely on Pochettino, and that is something he needs to fix. Chelsea doesn’t have to press as aggressively as it does, and not as carelessly either, especially when the platform is not provided by the midfield pivot. To continue to do so, is asking for trouble. 

If you enjoyed this (you probably didn’t if you’re a Chelsea fan, there’s nothing enjoyable about getting battered 5-0 by your local rivals), you want to see more of my content, follow me on Twitter (@McNobzy). I’m always open to discussions and criticisms.