Pochettino must make these tweaks to enhance Chelsea team

Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Mauricio Pochettino is navigating a demanding role as the head coach of Chelsea. Despite a positive preseason outlook, the team's performance during actual matches has not shown substantial progress. The squad is experiencing difficulties in the midtable, reminiscent of a comparable situation in the previous year. The current scenario raises questions about Pochettino's ability to address and resolve the team's challenges, as there appears to be a lack of discernible solutions to the ongoing issues.

While a few challenges, such as injuries and player suspensions, may be beyond the Argentine coach's control, managing such issues is an inherent part of leading a top club. As the coach, addressing concerns like the lack of experienced players—aside from Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling, whose consistent form may be questionable—should have been a priority, perhaps discussed with the board during the summer transfer window. Anticipating and addressing potential weaknesses is indispensable for a coach leading a high-profile team.

Nevertheless, Pochettino has room for improvement within the existing setup. Primarily, deploying players in their accustomed positions should be a priority. When the team is collectively experiencing challenges, opting to play the squad out of their natural positions is a suboptimal choice. While it's understandable in cases of necessity, Pochettino has, on multiple occasions, opted for this approach despite having suitable full-back options available. Particularly noteworthy is his reluctance to utilize Ian Maatsen, even when facing injuries. With Maatsen's contract nearing its end, there is a risk that Chelsea might lose this promising player.

Addressing underutilized players, Noni Madueke, like Maatsen, has found it challenging to secure playing time under the former Tottenham Hotspur manager. Reports suggest he might be seeking a change due to this situation. It's understandable when the team is doing well with other players shining. Concerns emerge when the entire squad encounters challenges, sparking uncertainties about Pochettino's abilities in player management. The predicament he faces is that even though the players selected ahead of the talents on the bench aren't setting the field ablaze, there's always an anticipation that their potential breakthrough is imminent. During such periods, a manager of the highest caliber should showcase their value through adept management skills.

Since Willian started handling corner kicks for CFC, fans have been irked by the persistent issue of hitting the first defender. Despite different players taking on this role, the problem remains. In the recent match against Manchester United, Chelsea earned a vital last-minute corner, a chance to equalize. The kick, as expected, hit the first man and was effortlessly cleared. It's unexpected that Chelsea, as a top-level club, hasn't resolved this recurring problem. Under Pochettino, set pieces continue to pose a challenge, though recent matches against Manchester City and Brighton indicate some improvement. However, the Old Trafford game suggests a substantial amount of work remaining in this particular area.

Another concern is the utilization of Conor Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez, and Moises Caicedo. It appears that by accommodating Gallagher's pressing style, Pochettino might be restricting the capabilities of Chelsea's two 100-million-dollar players. Given their age, expecting them to take on roles unfamiliar to them, particularly in a struggling team, might be excessive. Most players adapt their roles and positions with more experience in the game. Additionally, the lack of tracking back from wingers complicates the duo's responsibilities by leaving their spaces vulnerable when supporting full-backs. Pochettino should allow players to play to their strengths while maintaining strict discipline throughout the lineup.

It's evident that Pochettino prefers playing out from the back, and Chelsea has players capable of executing it. However, there are instances where they tend to overplay it, with goalkeeper Robert Sanchez being a notable culprit. Sanchez often waits until the last moment to pass the ball, leading to situations where passing becomes challenging, and he has to clear the ball away. When it goes out of play, the possession returns to the opposition, putting his team on the back foot. On a few occasions, it has resulted in conceding goals, notably observed when Declan Rice scored at Stamford Bridge. Pochettino must address and control such avoidable mistakes. While adopting a bold playing style can be thrilling when enjoying a considerable lead, it becomes worrisome when it is not.