Chelsea learn valuable Arsenal lesson as Pochettino humbles fans with Mikel Arteta process

Mikel Arteta has become a reference for Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino as Blues begin turnaround to prove Arsenal patience right

Mauricio Pochettino has pulled off one of the most impressive turnarounds of the season to all but confirm Chelsea will be playing Europa League football next season. Having spent much of the campaign plastered to the mid-table, this late-season surge has seen reason for fans to regain or continue their faith in the Argentine giving many comparisons to Mikel Arteta’s time with Arsenal.

The Spaniard was widely criticised during his early period despite winning an FA Cup in the first half-season with the club. As he looked to address the wider issues, Arsenal went backwards before taking several steps forward and now finding themselves going into the final day with a chance to still win the Premier League title.

The difference between Arsenal and Chelsea, of course, is the latter are no strangers to the quick-fire change of coaches over the years. Even under new owner Todd Boehly, Pochettino is the fourth coach after Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard to take charge of the side.

Both Arteta and Pochettino inherited fractured dressing rooms with new and old faces which needed to be meshed together, and in the case of the Gunners, many needed to be moved on which has taken several years to complete. Pochettino, meanwhile, has had just one summer window and a manic strategy of recruitment overshadowing much of what has happened.

He's struck gold with the likes of Cole Palmer but still needs to maximise the potential from far more expensive acquisitions like Enzo Fernandez, Moises Caicedo and Mykhailo Mudryk. What he and Arteta have also shared is persisting injury issues.

During Arteta's first full season Arsenal lost new signing Thomas Partey for a significant period, Gabriel Magalhaes was in and out of the side, Gabriel Martinelli missed the first half of the season after requiring surgery on a knee injury, David Luiz had multiple missed spells throughout the campaign and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed different spells, one of which after contracting malaria.

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Without question, Chelsea have had it even worse this season with several key players out for effectively the entire campaign like Wesley Fofana and Romeo Lavia. Christopher Nkunku has not played much whatsoever with many other players missing.

In Arteta’s second full season, he came very close to finishing fourth. Many expected the Gunners simply to try and return to the Europa League after a season out of European competition entirely, but the club surprised many, as they would the following campaign when they pushed for a title. They've established themselves as bona fide challengers yet again in 2023/24.

The faith shown to Arteta was not always viewed as the right choice; I certainly had my moment of doubt after the Europa League exit to Unai Emery's Villarreal. However, Pochettino's turnaround should not be underestimated as Chelsea fans learn a valuable lesson which should inform them for the future of where they could go.