Mauricio Pochettino could have a couple of tricks up his sleeve ahead of Chelsea’s clash against Tottenham on Monday night
Marc Cucurella, Nicolas Jackson, Enzo Fernandez and Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino of Chelsea during a training session at Chelsea Training Ground on November 3, 2023.
Five things spotted in Chelsea training before Spurs clash amid new Maatsen role
Mauricio Pochettino will be determined to mark his return to Tottenham Hotspur with a win. Ange Postecoglou will welcome Chelsea to north London on Monday night as the Blues look to climb the Premier League table.
Brentford ended Chelsea’s three-game unbeaten streak in the English top-flight last weekend, with a smash-and-grab win at Stamford Bridge. The west Londoners quickly bounced back on Wednesday evening with a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup, with Reece James picking up some crucial minutes.
While the Lilywhites have enjoyed a brilliant start to the campaign, Chelsea have a history of playing up to the big occasion. When asked what it would mean to win against Tottenham, Pochettino replied: “If you remember I say clubs I’ll never manage was Arsenal because I considered them the worst enemy of Tottenham and Barcelona because of Espanyol.
“It’s strange to come back because always the feeling after four years, it’s going to be, for me, a happy day but that is life and we need to move on. We are professional but at the same time, we are human. I was talking with Adrian [Chelsea press officer].
“We were talking about the four months we are working together and creating some links and maybe we spend five or six years together, if after I move or if I’m sacked why are we going to forget our relationship? Sometimes up and down, good and bad but we cannot forget. That is how we build our history.”
So, with that being said, football.london have taken a look at five things which stood out in the latest collection of training pictures as Chelsea are put through their paces at Cobham.
Ahead of the Brentford clash last weekend, Mudryk picked up a knock and was absent from the matchday squad. He then also missed the Carabao Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers during the week before eventually returning to first-team training.
It remains to be seen whether Mudryk will be ready to start against Tottenham on Monday night, but his recovery comes as a huge boost for his Chelsea. With Pedro Porro often eager to bomb forward, Pochettino could use the Ukrainian to capitalise on space down the right-hand side.
New Maatsen role?
Ian Maatsen and Noni Madueke were just two of three players to be spotted wearing an orange bib in training. This suggests that they were the designated ‘magic men’ – somebody who plays on the team which is in possession during a rondo or small-sided game.
By including a ‘magic man’, the players are encouraged to create space for themselves and other teammates by simply passing the ball. Maatsen and Madueke could have either taken it in turns to be the ‘magic man’ or donned the orange bib at the same time, which suggests that Pochettino was working on wing-play with the former on the left and the latter on the right.
The likes of Deivid Washington and Malo Gusto were also spotted wearing red bibs, so make of that what you will…
Pochettino was spotted bonding with his fellow countryman, Enzo Fernandez. The Chelsea manager was watching on from the sidelines with Marc Cucurella and Nicolas Jackson while wrapping his arms around the former Benfica midfielder.
At one stage in training, Colwill was spotted unleashing a brilliant strike with his left-foot. With more and more appearances at left-back, the Cobham graduate appears to be working on his finishing – something Marcos Alonso and Ben Chilwell have prided themselves on in recent years.
Gusto strapped up
While Gusto has recently returned from suspension, he appears to still be nursing a knee injury. The Frenchman was involved in first-team training at Cobham as usual but his right knee was heavily strapped with white bandages.