It doesn’t seem like Mauricio Pochettino will have much longer at Chelsea, even if the owners have said they support him wholeheartedly.
Chelsea had won five of their next six games across all categories following their 2-0 loss to Everton on December 10. However, that mini-revival came to an end on Tuesday night as they lost 1-0 to Middlesbrough in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final match.
On their visit to Riverside Stadium, the Blues were outplayed by Boro in the first half and were unable to break down Michael Carrick’s team in the second half as the hosts defended deep and applied pressure.
Interestingly, it followed a pattern that has been present in nearly every Chelsea game this season: a subpar first half in which they were outplayed, followed by a challenging second half in which they posed little threat against a deep block.
Chelsea outpossessed Middlesbrough 72% of the time, but just five of their eighteen shots found the goal, and as the home team defended deep, they were unable to create any meaningful opportunities in the second half.
At PSG, Pochettino frequently struggled against deep blocks, and his tactical skills have also prevented Chelsea from creating opportunities against clubs that occupy the periphery of their penalty area.
Although the problem predates Pochettino’s tenure at Chelsea, he is currently the one in the public eye and is therefore accountable.
Naturally, the outcome would have been very different had Cole Palmer converted one of the three excellent opportunities he had missed in the first forty-five minutes, but Chelsea were just not good enough against mid-table Championship opponents.
Will Mauricio Pochettino be fired?
Chelsea, now ranked tenth in the Premier League standings, will now need to stage a comeback against Boro on January 23 in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal.
Pochettino may still be in the dugout when Carrick’s team visits Stamford Bridge in two weeks, but he may lose his job if they are unable to qualify for the Carabao Cup final.
Since Todd Boehly became Chelsea’s owner in 2022, there has been a lot of change. Fired manager Luciano Grosso may not be the solution, but one thing is for sure: Pochettino isn’t performing up to par.
Even though Chelsea is currently dealing with a serious injury crisis, their starting lineup against Middlesbrough cost an incredible €464.2 million (Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill, and Conor Gallagher were all free), and they should have won easily. The west London club has spent well over €1 billion on transfers in the last 18 months.
Rather, they pretended to be dishonest, and as a result, Pochettino’s future as Chelsea’s head coach is seriously called into question.
This season, the Blues have only won 13 games across all competitions; four of those victories have come against lower-tier competition. They have now lost nine games.
Despite having the most expensively assembled team in all of football, Chelsea has performed poorly this season, and Pochettino is ultimately to blame.
The Blues’ issue is the dearth of excellent managers available. Pochettino might be able to hang onto his position for a little bit longer just based on that alone, but Chelsea supporters are growing impatient.