Pundits predict Chelsea end of season outcome – Mauricio Pochettino decision and Luka Modric deal

Pundits predict Chelsea end of season outcome – Mauricio Pochettino decision and Luka Modric deal

Mauricio Pochettino has faced a difficult first season in charge of Chelsea. The Blues sit 11th in the Premier League but have fared well in the cup competitions, reaching the Carabao Cup final and preparing for an FA Cup semi-final tie.

It is hardly what the club’s ownership would have envisaged after another summer transfer window of high-profile transfers. Appointing Pochettino was seen as a possible turning point after a disastrous campaign last term but the Argentine coach has endured a similarly tough season.

The league table suggests that Chelsea could still claim a European spot with a strong run of form in their final 10 games. However, that may not be enough to quell the feeling of disappointment surrounding Stamford Bridge. As it stands, Gary Neville’s ‘billion pound bottle jobs” jibe during the Carabao Cup final stands to define their season.

Here’s a look at what pundits think of the season so far and changes Chelsea could make in the summer.

Maurico Pochettino verdict

Chelsea’s struggles throughout the season have led to a sense of pressure growing around Pochettino’s future. However, as the club are viewed as a long-term project, the manager has been backed to stay with the Blues, despite numerous coaches been touted as a possible successor to Pochettino.

“Some of the criticism has been over the top, but we went through the same thing playing for Chelsea when we were not winning, getting criticised and watching managers losing their jobs,” former midfielder Jon Obi Mikel said. “This is Chelsea. You have to win. You have to win games and trophies.

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“Yes, we’ve given them time, but they have had time to start gelling, coming together, and playing much better. I defend the players and coach. They have to be given time, but how much time? This is Chelsea FC. If this was the [Roman] Abramovich era, he would have lost his job.

“But I hope the new owners give Poch time. Let’s see where we finish at the end of the season. The final would have given him breathing space but now we need a run of winning games to see where we end up finishing. Then it will be up to the owners to make a decision.”

The sentiment was shared by Eden Hazard. The recently retired forward believes Pochettino could be the right man to restore Chelsea to their former glory days: “As a Chelsea fan, you want them to be first. You want them to win every game. I think they have a good manager, I love Pochettino. I think he can bring the team back to where it should be, but the Premier League is so hard.”

The sacking of Jose Maourino at Roma led to suggestions that the Chelsea legend could replace Pochettino for a third stint at Stamford Bridge. Speaking on his FIVE YouTube Channel, Ferdinand said: “I would love to see Jose back there I’ve got to be honest me personally. Jose, please. I hope you get the job if Pochettino doesn’t do well. I think they are going to stay with Pochettino. I think they think it’s a project, long-term. He needs that time and a bit of grace.”

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Summer transfer window

Former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole has spoken of the need to add more experienced players to the squad. The Blues have prioritised signing promising players with potential sell-on value but Cole believes has also been a detriment to the side, suggesting Real Madrid duo Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as possible options.

“If I was advising the board, I’d say that we’ve bought these youngsters, spent a lot of money on them, they’re all getting better. Great, we’re improving,” Cole said. “But why don’t we sprinkle some good quality, experienced players into the group over the next few years?

“They don’t have to play every game but they can help, they can come in and out and set standards within the group.”

He added: “Does Luka Modric want to come and play in the Premier League for one more year? He’s still doing bits at Real Madrid. How much has he helped [Eduardo] Camavinga, [Aurelien] Tchouameni, [Federico] Valverde? He would have had such an influence on them as players.

“Toni Kroos is 34 but does he want to test himself at his age, coming over here and helping out this young squad?”

Team of the season prediction

Cole Palmer has proven to be one of the bright sparks in this Chelsea side, having excelled since his summer move from Manchester City. When debating their teams of the season so far, Jamie Carragher disagreed with Gary Neville leaving Palmer out of his XI.

“You’re saying you can’t pick a certain player because his team haven’t done well, that for me almost elevates Cole Palmer,” argued Carragher.

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“His performances this season, he’s been Chelsea’s best player by a mile. It looks like, I wouldn’t say a mistake from Man City, but he’s been one of the best players in the league this season.”

‘Blue billion pound bottle jobs’

Gary Neville’s comment during the Carabao Cup final looks set to be the defining moment of Chelsea’s season. In the aftermath, Neville stood by his verdict but did not want it to have a lasting effect on the players: “Ultimately, I don’t want that tag to stick with them because the reality of it is that there are a lot of talented young players there.”

Arsenal legend Ian Wright disagreed with the severity of Neville’s jibe and pinned the blame for the cup final defeat on Pochettino’s tactics. However, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher defended Neville’s comments and advised how the team can overcome the ‘blue billion pound bottle jobs’ label, reflecting on a parallel from his playing days.

“I came into a Liverpool team in 1997, in 1996 they lost a cup final to Manchester United and that team was christened the ‘Spice Boys’,” Carragher said. “This tag for Chelsea, that Gary has given them, will stick until they win something big. And unfortunately, whether they think it’s right or wrong, they’re the only ones who can change it.”

The Blues are still able to end the season on a high. Chelsea will face Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final next month and could make a late charge to qualify for Europe through the Premier League.

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