Pundits often find it tempting to disagree, seemingly the quickest route to garner attention, especially when dissecting Chelsea’s performance, which has lately attracted substantial speculation and warranted criticism.
Admittedly, the Blues’ past year has been marred by subpar showings, even though not all assessments account for the necessary intricacies.
Presently, with just five points and five goals in six games, following a disappointing 12th-place finish, there is less room for excuses. Chelsea’s underlying statistics may not scream disaster, but the results paint a bleak picture, and consensus leans in one direction.
Former Arsenal forward Paul Merson’s recent evaluation of Chelsea’s predicament ahead of their Carabao Cup clash with Brighton resonates with many: “The last thing Chelsea need to do now is go out to Brighton in the cup.
If you look at Chelsea’s fixtures, you worry for them. The next 10 games are so vital for their season that you can’t catch your breath. It’s a run where you actually don’t know when they’re going to win a football match.”
While a season’s destiny isn’t sealed in six games, it’s evident that success, at least momentarily, hinges on a successful cup run.
Victory against a newly established rival in Brighton could provide the much-needed spark of momentum and hope for the squad and fans alike.
Conversely, a defeat would underline the divergent paths the two teams have taken, despite Chelsea’s significant investments.
The Carabao Cup now carries more weight for Chelsea than usual. Amid vague promises of progress, tangible success is desperately needed.
Merson suggests that even Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea’s manager, appears to be getting anxious, citing his recent comments about patience and the need for time.
While I don’t entirely agree, there is a perceptible shift in Pochettino’s demeanor, perhaps necessary in these challenging times.
Since his appointment in July, Pochettino has demanded unwavering commitment from his players, emphasizing that there should be no room for excuses, whether related to fitness, injuries, or age.
He stated, “The competition doesn’t wait for anyone, and now we are going to start again against Liverpool in the first game to be ready to win, and if not we are going to struggle for sure.”
This attitude endeared him to supporters during the summer, but few expected Chelsea to have only one win in their first six matches.
Pochettino acknowledges the context of recent fixtures, including injuries and the integration of young talent, which will naturally affect the team’s performance.
He understands the harsh realities and emphasized the importance of learning from experiences and mistakes.
Ultimately, Pochettino knows that results are paramount, and progress alone cannot reassure fans. Until Chelsea starts winning consistently, concerns about the 2023/24 season will persist, echoing the disappointments of the previous campaign.
As Pochettino aptly put it, “football is not about what you deserve, it is about winning games,” and the clock is ticking for Chelsea to turn their fortunes around.