Following Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge over the weekend, manager Mauricio Pochettino joked that he would be in big trouble with the club’s owner if he didn’t field two key players.
Chelsea put up a great display against their London rivals despite a big two-goal lead that eventually went away. Particularly, Pochettino took a risk by starting the £222 million midfield duo of Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez for the entire 90-minute duration.
While they dominated the first half, their performance seemed to decrease as the game continued, which Pochettino blamed to their late return from international duty.
Caicedo and Fernandez both played in World Cup qualifiers for their respective national teams, Ecuador and Argentina, on Wednesday, before to the match against Arsenal on Saturday.
‘But if I say “OK, I’m going to give them a rest” you [the media] will kill me, for sure if they don’t play – and the owner also!
‘Today Caceido and Enzo arrived after two games in America and they were not fresh. But they are important plasters for us.
‘It’s really tough to arrive like that. I hope now they can recover and train and in one week be at their best.’
Chelsea currently sits in 10th place in the Premier League rankings, nine points behind leaders Manchester City.
This situation has marked a rather rocky start to Pochettino’s term as Chelsea manager, who now must find a careful balance between keeping his key players fresh and satisfying the club’s high expectations.
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