Football Features

Are Chelsea back to being a Champions League-level team?

By Callum Rice-Coates

Published: 15:00, 14 May 2024

Chelsea are beginning to find their feet under Mauricio Pochettino.

After enduring a difficult first few months of the 2023-24 season, the Blues have finally found some form and started to climb the Premier League table.

Following a 3-2 comeback win against Nottingham Forest last time out, Chelsea are now up to seventh in the division.

And there are signs that Pochettino’s side could begin to compete at the top soon.

Free-flowing attack

Since the turn of the year, only Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool have accumulated more points in the Premier League than Chelsea.

The Blues have also won nine of their last 11 home league games, indicating that Stamford Bridge is starting to become a fortress again.

Pochettino has turned his side into an effective attacking outfit, with 39 goals scored and a league-high shooting accuracy of 41.2% in 2024.

No team has a higher xG overperformance (7.92) during that period, ranking fourth for fast breaks (24).

The attack is going well, but Chelsea are not finished the article yet.

Weak underbelly

If Chelsea is to compete for a top-four spot next season, they will need to address their defensive deficiencies.

Despite their recent improvement, the Blues have still conceded 30 goals in 16 league games this year.

That included a 5-0 drubbing at Arsenal and a 4-2 home defeat to Wolves.

Only five teams (Burnley, West Ham, Luton, Sheffield United and Manchester United) have conceded more shots from inside the box (186) during that period.

Establishing a more robust rearguard will be a priority for Pochettino, who aims to eliminate any naivety in his youthful team.

Classy Cole

Building a team around the brilliant Cole Palmer should serve Chelsea well in the coming years.

Plenty of Chelsea’s expensive recent signings have struggled to hit the ground running in West London, but that has not been the case with Palmer.

He has netted 21 goals and provided ten assists in the Premier League this season, and his form has improved significantly since the beginning of the year.

No player in the division has scored more in 2024 than Palmer (13). The former Manchester City man also ranks joint-first for shots on target (27) and post-shot xG (11.15).

Chelsea’s key this summer task will be signing players who can help Palmer continue his rapid development and strengthen the team’s weaker areas.