Mauricio Pochettino’s start to life as Chelsea manager has been somewhat of a mixed bag with the Blues lying 10th after 12 games of the Premier League season.
A recent 4-1 win at title-chasing Tottenham and draws against Arsenal and Manchester City suggest the Blues are beginning to turn a corner after taking only five points from their first six league games.
Here, the PA news agency breaks down Chelsea’s season so far under Pochettino.
A poor start
Chelsea’s unbeaten pre-season form did not translate to the Premier League where they struggled to pick up points in the early stages. An opening day 1-1 draw to Liverpool was followed by a 3-1 defeat at West Ham before the Blues went winless in their next three against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Aston Villa. The 1-0 defeat at home to Villa saw Pochettino call for his players to “grow up” after the Blues’ stuttering start saw the pressure mount on their Argentinian manager.
A young team
All of Chelsea’s 12 summer signings are aged 25 and under as chairman Todd Boehly looked to recruit youth as a solution to last season’s poor performances, which led to a dismal 12th-place finish in the Premier League. The upheaval to the squad in the summer led to the Blues’ early teething problems as Pochettino juggled formations and XIs in a bid to find his preferred personnel.
Is Cole Palmer Chelsea’s main man?
Cole Palmer has been a mainstay in Chelsea’s XI since his September transfer from Manchester City. The winger, who has also featured as an attacking midfielder, cost a reported £42.5 million and has scored four times from the spot against Burnley, Arsenal Spurs and a last-minute equaliser in Sunday’s 4-4 draw against his old club City. Palmer’s creativity has helped Nicolas Jackson unlock his goalscoring touch, with the Senegal striker netting four times in his last two appearances.
Turning the corner?
The west London club have picked up six points in four games against the so-called ‘big six’, which is an improvement on the four points they managed across the whole of last season against their rivals. Although Chelsea have had success against high-pressing opposition, they still need to find solutions to combat low blocks after their recent 2-0 defeat to Brentford at Stamford Bridge.