Chelsea could replace Pochettino with their own version of Arteta

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Time. That’s what this Chelsea project needed, right? Yeah, perhaps not. Despite the well-documented money that’s been spent, the Todd Boehly era is yet to go boom.

This season was meant to be one of revival. A renowned manager in Mauricio Pochettino had walked into the building but his reign has been average to say the least.

Some weeks Chelsea look capable of pulling off a shock. They have beaten Spurs this term, drawn with Arsenal and also held Manchester City.

Chelsea-fa-cup

Yet, the Blues have also tasted defeat against Nottingham Forest and Everton, two sides fighting for survival at the depths of the table.

There’s also the football. Does anyone know what style Pochettino is trying to implement? What message he’s attempting to send to his players? It’s puzzling and precisely why rumours of a replacement continue to be talked about.

Who could replace Pochettino at Chelsea

The rumour mill has been in full swing over recent months with recent reports even suggesting the club would be open to a return for Antonio Conte. After his antics at Tottenham last season, it hardly sounds like the man to swat away the negativity engulfing Stamford Bridge right now.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has also been touted but arguably, there is one candidate who stands above both of those names; Ruben Amorim.

mauricio-pochettino-chelsea-premier-league

The Guardian reported at the start of March that not only was the Seagulls manager one name in the frame but so was Amorim.

Indeed, it was stated that the club’s ‘desire to wait until the end of the season before reviewing Mauricio Pochettino’s position’ has not stopped Boehly and Co from casting their eyes elsewhere.

What makes Ruben Amorim so special

Back in 2022, The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke hailed the Portuguese managerial sensation as “the best young manager in Europe right now.”

Well, fast forward to 2024 and that billing has not changed. Aged just 39, the Sporting CP honcho is somewhat of a wonderkid in the managerial world, notably described as the continent’s “next super coach“.

Sporting's Ruben Amorim.

Speaking about him to the Athletic, Braga’s head of recruitment, Paulo Meneses once stated: “Ruben is destined to join a top club in the ‘Big Five’ leagues.

“Due to the leadership he demonstrates and the quality with which he works, I have no doubt that he will be an unavoidable name in European football in the coming years.”

So, that’s not a bad billing, is it? One might immediately draw parallels to Jose Mourinho when he emerged on the scene in Portugal with Porto but if you’re looking for a modern-day comparison, perhaps Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta – given his rise at such a young age as a manager – would be apt.

To suggest they are similar just because of their age would be lazy. There are also stylistic similarities.

mikel-arteta-arsenal-zubimendi

The Coaches Voice highlight two primary areas of strength within Amorim’s Sporting side. The first of which is a fluid front free ‘who rotate to find spaces between the lines’. While the Portuguese sensation deploys wing-backs – different to Arteta’s inverted full-backs – the wide forwards in both of their systems move inside. Just think Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s joint-top scorers last term who dominated by cutting in from the flanks.

Then there is the pressing. The Coaches Voices suggest that ‘out of possession, Amorim’s Sporting is one of the most intense teams in Portugal.’

This season, Arteta’s side have been celebrated for their supreme work off the ball, notably hailed by the Athletic for becoming “one of the best out-of-possession teams in Europe” this season.

How can that be quantified? Well, only Juventus (22.92) can boast a more impressive expected goals-against tally in Europe’s top five leagues this season than Arsenal (23.04). The best side in Portugal? Yes, you guessed it, Sporting (20.37).

Expected Goals Against: Best teams in Europe

Team

xGA tally

#1 Juventus

22.92

#2 Arsenal

23.04

#3 Bayer Leverkusen

24.65

#4 Inter

26.05

#5 Bayern Munich

27.24

Data via WhoScored: Top 5 leagues only.

Where does Chelsea fit into the list of teams in the top five leagues? Well, they don’t appear until 54th place with a tally of 43.13.

What does this all mean? Well, expected goals quantify the quality of chance a team concedes. As such, Juventus and Arsenal are the two best teams in Europe for preventing high-quality chance creation against them.

Arteta, of course, has players filled with quality in the final third but the pride of his team is undoubtedly the defence. You don’t win titles without a sturdy backline.

Amorim would undoubtedly bring a more organised style of football to the Bridge. Like the Arsenal manager, he is pragmatic, progressive and ambitious. This feels like the perfect appointment if Boehly does ever move on from Pochettino.



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