Is Pochettino running out of time to find solutions for Chelsea’s deepening crisis? Despite pleading for more time, the club’s owners may not be very patient.
The European champion Blues, just two years ago, currently find themselves in a lowly 14th place in the Premier League table, with a mere four-point buffer above the relegation zone, having managed just one win in their first six matches. Their recent setback was a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa, with Ollie Watkins scoring the winning goal following the expulsion of Chelsea defender Malo Gusto.
Last year, Chelsea recorded their lowest Premier League points total in recent history, but their start to the current season has been even worse.
Pochettino appealed for more time after the Sunday match, urging the club’s American owners to support his plan. He said, “They (the owners) are disappointed, they arrived at the club and are so excited to build a project. Of course they feel disappointed, but at the same time, they need to support the plan.”
Pochettino took over as Chelsea’s manager in May, becoming the third permanent boss since Todd Boehly’s consortium acquired the club from Roman Abramovich in 2022. Chelsea praised Pochettino as a “winning coach with experience at the highest levels.” Boehly continued to fund significant spending during the summer transfer window, pushing Chelsea’s spending on new players to over £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in just over a year. However, the return on this investment has been disappointing during a period of significant changes on and off the field.
Chelsea has only scored five goals in their first six league matches, with three of them coming in a 3-0 victory against newly promoted Luton. They have failed to score in 13 Premier League matches in 2023, more than any other team.
Pochettino pointed to a lengthy injury list as a partial explanation for Chelsea’s struggling attack. He lost France forward Christopher Nkunku to a serious knee injury in a preseason friendly, and other players, including Mykhailo Mudryk, Nicolas Jackson, Raheem Sterling, and Cole Palmer, have failed to deliver.
Pochettino is well aware that Chelsea is not a patient club, as the hire-and-fire culture from the Abramovich era persists under Boehly’s leadership. Chelsea dismissed Thomas Tuchel early last season, and Graham Potter faced the same fate in April, being sacked after less than seven months in charge when the club was 11th in the table.
Pochettino made a name for himself during his five-year tenure at Tottenham and later took the helm at PSG, where he won the Ligue 1 title. However, he fell short of PSG’s primary goal of winning the Champions League, leaving his managerial résumé relatively light on silverware compared to some of his Premier League counterparts.
Chelsea’s upcoming matches include a League Cup third-round tie against in-form Brighton and fixtures against local rivals Fulham, Arsenal, Tottenham, and reigning champions Manchester City. While there are currently no signs that the club hierarchy is ready to take drastic action, they may feel compelled to do so soon unless there is a dramatic improvement.