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Captaincy, pecking order & more – five issues Mauricio Pochettino has to fix at Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival at Chelsea has brought a renewed sense of hope, expectation and anticipation among the fans. 

However, the Argentine tactician faces several challenges that need immediate attention.

We delve into five key issues that Pochettino must address to bring stability and success to Stamford Bridge.


Cesar Azpilicueta’s departure to Atletico Madrid means the Chelsea captaincy is up for grabs, and several players have their eye on the armband.

Reece James has always been vocal about his desire to take on the responsibility. However, while his appointment as Chelsea captain will resonate with a huge chunk of the club faithful, the armband may come too soon for the academy graduate.

The 23-year-old still has ample time to live up to his childhood dreams of leading his boyhood club to glory. For now, he may have to settle for the vice-captaincy, which is also a huge step.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Ben Chilwell, Raheem Sterling and Thiago Silva have also been touted as options leaving Pochettino with the dilemma of who wears the captain’s armband next season.

Defensive selection hierarchy

Ian Maatsen’s return from a superb loan spell with the newly promoted Burnley means Chelsea now have four left-back options in the squad.

Marc Cucurella could be on his way out of the club following a poor debut campaign – although it remains to be seen if Pochettino wants to work with the Spaniard.

That leaves Lewis Hall, who was arguably Chelsea’s best left-back at the tail end of last season, and Maatsen vying for the chance to compete with Chilwell for the starting spot.

Having four left-backs on the roster is a recipe for disaster, and Pochettino will need to decide who stays and who doesn’t this summer.

There is also the small matter of having five centre-backs following the return of the highly sought-after Levi Colwill from a remarkable loan spell at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Pochettino wants to work with four next season, and Trevoh Chalobah has been identified as the man who could make way. But Colwill still wants assurances regarding his playing time before committing to the club.

The youngster is one of the brightest defensive talents to come through the Cobham academy, and Chelsea cannot afford to let him leave this summer. Pochettino needs to have a sit down with the defender and fast.

Midfield reinforcement

The position that has proven problematic for the Blues over the years, Pochettino need to sort the defensive midfield area this summer.

Chelsea are actively pursuing a move for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, but they remain at odds with the Seagulls over the Ecuador international midfielder’s valuation.

The Blues need at least two defensive midfielders this summer, while another creative force to cover for the already overused Enzo Fernandez in the middle of the park should also be on the shopping list.

Trim the squad size further

Chelsea have been the most active side in the Premier League transfer window. Eight first-team players have already left the club, with several more still expected to part ways.

Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech are on the chopping block as Chelsea continues the massive clear-out.

Pochettino is famous for working with a small squad, and the Argentine manager needs to have his first team sorted out before welcoming Liverpool for the Premier League curtain-raiser on August 13.

Fostering a cohesive dressing room

For most of last season, Chelsea looked like a side bereft of confidence, ideas and completely disjointed. 

The players lost the zeal to play for the badge, and their lackadaisical attitude when approaching games was painfully obvious.

Maintaining a harmonious squad is the bedrock of any successful side, and Pochettino will be tasked with creating a positive atmosphere within the team and raising the spirit in the dressing room.

Fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose will go a long way in maximising the team’s potential in the coming season.

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