Pochettino Must Hit the Ground Running at Chelsea

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Chelsea will head into the 2023/24 season with a point to prove after enduring a miserable campaign last time around.

The Blues finished 12th in the Premier League – a dismal outcome given the club’s massive outlay on new players during the previous two transfer windows.

After getting through several managers last season, Mauricio Pochettino has been handed the task of turning Chelsea’s fortunes around.

He is unlikely to find things easy, with the latest Premier League odds highlighting how far Chelsea’s stock has fallen in recent times.

Leading betting sites have tipped Chelsea to finish sixth in the top flight, which would not represent success in the eyes of the club’s wealthy owners.

Guiding the club back into the top four will be the minimum requirement for Pochettino, but that will be difficult given the strength of the competition.

Manchester City are strongly fancied to win the title for the fourth successive year and it would be a brave move to bet against them achieving the feat.

City were relentless during the second half of last season, overhauling Arsenal on the run-in to power clear of the chasing pack.

With prolific striker Erling Braut Haaland in their ranks, Pep Guardiola’s side will be tough to stop in their quest to win yet another league championship.

The Gunners mounted a strong challenge last season, before running out of steam to allow City to overtake them in the final stages.

Expectations will be ramped up at the Emirates Stadium next season following the big-money signings of Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber.

However, while Arsenal should in contention to finish inside the top four, it is difficult to imagine them toppling City next term.

Manchester United made their way back into the top four last season and will expect to close the gap on the top two in 2023/24.

Manager Erik ten Hag has added Mason Mount to his midfield options, while a new goalkeeper and striker are also on the cards.

The Red Devils could be the main challengers to City if everything falls into place, but winning the title may ultimately prove to be beyond them.

Liverpool and Newcastle United are also ahead of Chelsea in the top four finish betting, but arguments can be made against either team achieving the feat.

The Reds underperformed last term, before a late season resurgence helped them clinch fifth place in the table.

While they have made several noteworthy moves in the summer transfer window, you would be hard-pushed to argue their squad is any better than Chelsea’s.

Newcastle claimed fourth spot last season to qualify for the Champions League, but may struggle to match that achievement next term.

Their squad lacks the depth of several of their rivals, although midfielder Sandro Tonali is undoubtedly an eye-catching acquisition. 

With Man City, Man United and Arsenal fancied to fill the top three places, Chelsea will likely be battling for fourth position at best.

The club has removed numerous underperforming players from the wage bill, freeing up space for Pochettino to mould what should be an exciting line-up.

Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku are their standout signings to date and more new players are expected at Stamford Bridge before the season starts.

A defensive midfielder to partner Enzo Fernandez is a major priority, especially now the club has parted company with N’Golo Kante.

Chelsea have also been strongly linked with a move for a new goalkeeper, with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy failing to prove they are up to the job.

With Mendy allowed to leave the club, Pochettino reportedly plans to go into next season with Arrizabalaga as his first-choice goalkeeper.

The new Chelsea manager will need this decision to pay off if the club are to have any chance of breaking back into the top four next season.

Having failed to win silverware with Tottenham, there is unquestionably plenty of pressure on Pochettino to hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge.

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