Chelsea’s £200m midfield flops against Arsenal: Pochettino forced to play tired Fernández and Caicedo
Chelsea midfielders Enzo Fernández and Moisés Caicedo were forced to play in the London derby against Arsenal on Saturday despite only returning from South America on Wednesday.
Caicedo played in Ecuador’s 2-1 win over Bolivia on October 13 and the 0-0 draw with Colombia on October 18, while Fernández was on duty for Argentina as the reigning World Cup winners defeated Paraguay 1-0 on October 13 and beat Peru 2-0 on October 18.
Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino admitted after the game that he had to use Fernández and Caicedo because he didn’t want to offend the owners of the club, Todd Boehly, and his consortium.
“It’s crazy for players to come back from South America on Wednesday and play on Saturday. Enzo and Caicedo were tired,” Pochettino said as quoted by Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano earlier today, October 23.
“But if I say: ok, I’m going to give them a rest and not play… you will kill me, for sure – and then the owner also!”
Chelsea are currently sitting in the 10th spot on the league table with 12 points in 9 games after three wins, three defeats, and three draws. Their next league game is against Brentford at Stamford Bridge at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 28.
Pochettino is in a difficult position. He wants to win games, but he also has to keep the owners happy. In this case, the owners wanted him to play Fernández and Caicedo, even though they were tired.
Pochettino knew that playing the two players risked injuring them, but he also knew that he would be in trouble if he didn’t play them.
It’s a difficult situation for any manager to be in, and it’s one that Pochettino will have to deal with on a regular basis this season.
Chelsea’s midfield crisis
Chelsea’s midfield is a major problem area for the club. Fernández and Caicedo were signed for over £200 million in total, but they have failed to live up to expectations so far.
N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho are both past their best, and Conor Gallagher is still developing.
Pochettino needs to find a way to get the best out of Fernández and Caicedo, and he also needs to find some more cover for his midfield.
Otherwise, Chelsea’s midfield crisis will continue to be a major problem for the club.