Mauricio Pochettino is delighted by Chelsea's progress in recent weeks following their dominant 5-0 victory over West Ham at Stamford Bridge.

Nicolas Jackson scored twice, while Cole Palmer, Conor Gallagher and Noni Madueke were also on target as the Blues leapfrogged Manchester United into seventh place with three games remaining.

Pochettino's side, who made it back-to-back wins in the space of three days following their 2-0 success over Tottenham on Thursday, are finishing the season strongly, having now lost just one of their last 12 matches.

The Blues came under scrutiny during their 6-0 rout of Everton last month, when Jackson and Madueke were involved in an altercation following a disagreement over who should take a penalty, with the responsibility eventually going to regular taker Palmer.

However, three weeks on, the pair combined to positive effect with Madueke unselfishly squaring the ball for Jackson to tap in the first of his two goals, despite being one-on-one with West Ham keeper Alphonse Areola.

And Pochettino believes that action epitomises the growth his side are demonstrating as the season draws towards a conclusion.

"[We are] so pleased, so happy. The players deserve big credit, to play again after a few days and to play again at this level," he said, as reported by Football London.

"We received criticism for the situation with the penalty against Everton, but a young team needs to make mistakes to improve.

"It was a great action from Noni [squaring the ball for Jackson's first goal] to see how the group is starting to believe. It is always a process that takes time. It can take one month, six months or one year.
"People who know about football know the process of building a team is the most difficult thing. You need to have the capacity to emphasise with every single player.

"They need to trust in us, in the coaching staff. That is the most important thing, and then you need to start to identify what the players need. This process always takes time."

Discussing Chelsea's hopes of qualifying for Europe, Pochettino said: "From the beginning of the season, I said we should win because we are Chelsea.

"We need to be mature, keep the momentum and look to improve every single game. We are trying to be in Europe; it will be good for the team and the players to be in Europe this season."

Mauricio Pochettino has warned his Chelsea players they face their "most dangerous" game when West Ham visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The Blues picked up one of their best Premier League results of the season on Thursday in beating Tottenham 2-0 on home soil.

Another London derby now awaits, but Pochettino believes the quick turnaround in matches could work against his side.

"It is the most dangerous game because now we have to keep the same mentality for Sunday," he said.

"We are playing a team who are so strong, have physicality and West Ham are having a fantastic season and have been competing in Europe.

"We need to recover players. We don't have too many options to add fresh people to the squad and they have had the whole week to prepare."

Inconsistent Chelsea have often struggled to build on positive results this season, explaining why they sit eighth in the Premier League.

Pochettino's side are two points better off than West Ham with a game in hand as they both desperately attempt to keep their top-six hopes alive.

West Ham are winless in five matches in all competitions, seeing them drop down the Premier League and exit the Europa League.

Doubts remain over manager David Moyes' future, with his current deal expiring at the end of the campaign, but he is focusing only on Chelsea.

"We're going to have to play well to get a result against them," Moyes said at his pre-match press conference.

"I think [Pochettino's] had a difficult job, and they've started to hit form. Mauricio is a great manager, and they have a lot of good, young players.

"There are lots of tough stadiums to go to, Stamford Bridge being one of those. We'll go there and do everything we can to get a result."


Chelsea - Cole Palmer

Palmer has undoubtedly been Chelsea's best player in his debut campaign at the club, having scored and assisted a combined 29 goals in 29 Premier League matches. 

The England international has been directly involved in a goal against 13 different opponents in the competition this term, and he will be looking to make that 14 against West Ham after missing the reverse fixture.

West Ham - Michail Antonio

Antonio earned West Ham a point against Liverpool last time out and now has a combined 99 goals and assists in the Premier League for United.

That leaves the Jamaica international, who has four goals in his past seven outings, one short of hitting a milestone that no other player has ever managed for the club.


West Ham won 3-1 when the sides most recently met in August and are aiming to pull off a Premier League double in this fixture for just the third time, having previously done so in 2002-03 and 2019-20.

However, Chelsea have lost just one of their past 17 home league games against West Ham - a 1-0 defeat in November 2019 under Frank Lampard.

Goals can be expected as West Ham have gone 15 Premier League games without a clean sheet, last having a longer run without a shutout in the top flight between March and November 2008 (24 games).

Five of West Ham's last 10 Premier League matches, meanwhile, have seen both teams score two or more goals, including each of the last two. 

Facing Chelsea on a Sunday could prove to be good news for West Ham as their London rivals have won just one of their past 13 league games on the final day of the week.

However, Moyes will need no reminding he has never won an away league match against Chelsea in 18 attempts. Pochettino will become the 11th different manager he has faced at Stamford Bridge in that time.


CHELSEA - 49.4%

DRAW - 26.5%

WEST HAM - 24.1%

Mauricio Pochettino blasted "stupid rumours" as speculation continues over his future at Chelsea.

Pochettino oversaw a 2-0 win over former employers Tottenham on Thursday, becoming the first manager to complete a Premier League double after previously managing them in the competition.

Yet a longer-term view on the plans under Pochettino remain unclear, with reports linking Julian Nagelsmann, Hansi Flick and Roberto De Zerbi to Stamford Bridge should the Chelsea manager be moved on.

That comes after another heavy-spending season under the Todd Boehly-led ownership at Chelsea, who splashed once more on the likes of Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku.

Cole Palmer, Axel Disasi and Nicolas Jackson were among the other arrivals amid another chaotic transfer window in west London, with Pochettino battling injury issues and managing a large squad.

Whether Chelsea pull the trigger for another manager may depend on how the Blues finish the season, with Pochettino's side eighth but just three points behind sixth-placed Manchester United.

A place in Europe could be the decisive factor, though Pochettino vented his frustration at the situation in an honest assessment of the media reports questioning his job safety.

"I wanted to say that it is enough with this type of rumours, that if I have one year more [under] contract here and no one says nothing [to me], [I] suppose I'm going to be here," Pochettino said.

"Only if then, the season finishes and someone says to me 'ciao'... Because we don't know at the moment.

"I suppose that I have one more year contract and that I am going to be here. Enough about the stupid rumours.

"You need to ask the club if they want me to keep going or not, not to write things that have no sense."

Pochettino has not been distracted by those rumours, though, with Chelsea winning eight of their last 10 home Premier League games (D1 L1), after managing just one win from the 14 before that (D7 L6).

The Blues will hope to continue that imperious run of form when they host London rivals West Ham on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Gary Neville says it "would be madness" for Chelsea to sack head coach Mauricio Pochettino as he is ideally suited to managing the club.

Pochettino admitted after Chelsea's 2-0 win over his former side Tottenham on Thursday that he is unsure of his future at Stamford Bridge.

The Argentinian has been under intense pressure at times this season, most recently on the back of the 5-0 loss to Arsenal last week.

Chelsea have since responded with a battling 2-2 draw at Aston Villa and the impressive win over Spurs, but doubts remain over Pochettino's future.

However, Neville insists it would be wrong of Chelsea to part company with the former Paris Saint-Germain boss at the end of the season.

"There was talk of Pochettino being under pressure a month or so ago," he told Sky Sports. "I think it would be madness to change the coach whose quality of work with these types of player is renowned.

"Making sure you have stability through another transfer window seems more critical than the idea someone else would come in and do a better job. That doesn't feel right here.

"He's a proven coach. One of the great coaches in the Premier League in the last five, six, seven years. Pochettino has had some up and down moments this season. But this is a good one."

Chelsea's victory over Tottenham moved them up to eighth in the Premier League and now within three points of Manchester United in sixth.

United have also struggled for consistency this season, raising doubts over their own manager Erik ten Hag as the end of the season nears.

There have also been reports that most of United's players will be up for sale when the transfer window opens, with or without Ten Hag in charge.

Ten Hag labelled those rumours "untrue", and Neville is adamant there will not be wholesale changes to the squad during the close season.

"To be fair, you know it's not true," the United legend said. "I mean [Kobbie] Mainoo is not for sale – there's no way that man can be sold so every player can't be for sale, it's impossible. There's no way United could sell their best young players.

"There's a lack of stability here at Chelsea at the moment, but there's a lack of stability at United. Richard Arnold, John Murtough, Patrick Stewart, Cliff Baty, all the senior management, Darren Fletcher's been moved to a different role within the club, Jason Wilcox has come in.

"I can understand why there is quite a few players who will be under pressure and potentially would be sold, but I can't believe it's every player or anywhere near that."

Mauricio Pochettino admitted that he will need time to turn things around at Chelsea, but is unsure if he will be given it.

The Blues kept their hopes of a European place alive on Thursday with an impressive 2-0 victory over Pochettino's former side, Tottenham, thanks to goals from Trevoh Chalobah and Nicolas Jackson.

Despite getting back to winning ways, the Argentinian’s future at the club is still subject to speculation as the end of the season draws closer.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Pochettino said he does not know what the future holds for him at Chelsea.

He said: "Maybe today because we won, I can explain a little bit better. I want to say enough is enough. I think all managers need time to translate their ideas and their philosophy. We need to have time, but it is not my decision.

"It's difficult to see every single week that I am under scrutiny and judgement. Yes, it's not my decision to be here or not to be here.

"I cannot tell you. I can say nothing. If we want to match the history of Chelsea, I think there is a lot of work to do. We will see if we have time to build this way.

"I am so, so proud of the guys, all the squad we have - 25, 27 players. I work for them. We want the best for them. Until the last day, we are going to work for them."

Chelsea were missing 14 first-team players through injury against Spurs but earned three points, which moved them above West Ham into eighth with 51 points.

Pochettino added: "Today was fantastic, full credit to the players. It is my first time in the season I really do feel so, so happy.

"It is the moment after 10 months the team really starts to realise how we need to compete. Today we competed really well against a great team.

" [We may need] some luck to have this type of result, it helps give belief to the players that this is the way. "

Tottenham simply have to put in the hard graft as they look to salvage something from what is turning out to be a disappointing end to the campaign.

Spurs' Champions League hopes appear to be fading fast after they lost for a third straight game in the Premier League, going down 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

Tottenham have four games remaining, albeit that includes meetings with Liverpool and Manchester City, and they are seven points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa.

They were particularly vulnerable from set-pieces once again, with both of Chelsea's goals coming from such scenarios.

Asked how Spurs can turn it around, Postecoglou said told BBC Sport: "Just hard work mate, there's no major formula. We will work hard and make sure we get it right."

He added: "It wasn't a great night for us. We didn't play at the levels we needed to and didn't deserve something from it.

"We lacked belief and conviction in our game. I don't know if it is low confidence but we are not playing with the mindset we need to play the football we want to and that is something I have to look at.

"It is on me to fix it. That is what we will be doing. We had bigger issues tonight than set pieces."

Speaking to Sky Sports, the Tottenham boss said: "I feel like we've lost a bit of belief and conviction in our football and that is on me to change that.

"It wasn't about conceding the [first] goal, it was our approach to playing football and we were nowhere near good enough. That is on me.

"We've been in a bit of a grind for a while now, that is part of our challenge and part of our growth. We have to go out there and perform and sometimes you have to grind out. We were poor today."

Spurs defender Micky van de Ven, meanwhile, conceded Champions League qualification looks out of sight.

"It will be difficult. I don't want to look up to the Champions League after this game, it was not a good performance from us and it is important we play a good game on Sunday," he said.

Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, became the first manager to complete a Premier League double over Tottenham having previously managed them in the competition.

Chelsea are up to eighth, just three points behind sixth-placed Manchester United.

"So happy and so pleased. So happy for our players," Pochettino said.

"The first half was fantastic. Then you have to contain and suffer. Tottenham have quality players. Not too much to say, all credit to the players."

Trevoh Chalobah and Nicolas Jackson scored as Chelsea dealt a huge blow to Tottenham's Champions League hopes, recording a 2-0 derby win over Mauricio Pochettino's old club at Stamford Bridge.

Exactly eight years on from the memorable "Battle of the Bridge" between the teams, which saw nine Spurs players booked in a fiery 2-2 draw that confirmed Leicester City as champions, Chelsea inflicted more woe upon their rivals.

Spurs paid for lacklustre set-piece defending midway through the first half as Chalobah headed Conor Gallagher's free-kick home, then Jackson pounced when Cole Palmer rattled the crossbar from another dead ball 72 minutes in.

Ange Postecoglou's side were far from their free-flowing best and have now lost three straight Premier League games. They stay fifth, seven points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa with just one game in hand.

Chelsea, meanwhile, climb above West Ham into eighth, just three points adrift of Manchester United in sixth.

The Blues went agonisingly close to a fifth-minute lead as Jackson raced through on goal to slot his effort under Guglielmo Vicario, but Micky van de Ven raced back to hook it off the line and Palmer could not sort his feet out on the rebound.

Chelsea were ahead after 24 minutes, though, as Chalobah met Gallagher's deep free-kick with a looping header into the top-right corner, the goal being confirmed by VAR following a check for a possible foul by Marc Cucurella.

Mykhailo Mudryk went close with a curling effort as Tottenham continued to toil, the visitors' best chance of the first half coming when Cristian Romero headed Pedro Porro's free-kick wide.

Ange Postecoglou cut an animated figure before half-time, and his side improved after the restart, but Chelsea could have had a second when Palmer shot over at the end of a promising break.

Chelsea did double their advantage with 18 minutes to play, the opportunistic Jackson heading into an unguarded net after Palmer's free-kick clattered off the woodwork with Vicario at full stretch.

Tottenham never looked like responding from there, and they now need a minor miracle to secure a top-four finish.

Pochettino haunts former employers

Having also overseen Chelsea's memorable 4-1 win in November's return fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Pochettino completed a league double over his former employers.

He is the first coach to ever beat Spurs home and away in a single Premier League campaign having previously managed them in the competition.

The Argentine's first season at Stamford Bridge may not have gone entirely to plan, but there may just be green shoots of recovery emerging in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Having endured a run of one win in 14 home Premier League games between March and November last year (seven draws, six losses), Chelsea – who face West Ham next – have now won eight of their last 10 on their own turf (one draw, one defeat).

Set-pieces costing Spurs

Tottenham have a set-piece problem. Arsenal ruthlessly exploited some slack marking from their neighbours to score two goals from corners in Sunday's north London derby, and on Thursday, it was two free-kicks that undid Postecoglou's men.

Prior to this game, Spurs had conceded 12 goals from set-pieces, excluding penalties, in the Premier League this season. Only Manchester United (15.3) and Burnley (14.9) had allowed opponents a higher cumulative expected goals (xG) figure from such situations than their 14.3.

They did not learn their lesson, Emerson Royal and Brennan Johnson getting nowhere near Chalobah as he headed home from a routine delivery to the back post for the opener.

Those fine margins could prove incredibly costly, with Tottenham now a long way adrift of top-four rivals Aston Villa with daunting fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester City still to come. 

Mauricio Pochettino says facing his former club Tottenham will always be "emotional", but his full focus is on guiding Chelsea through a testing period ahead of Thursday's London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Pochettino enjoyed a successful five-year stint with Spurs between 2014 and 2019, leading them to a Champions League final and to three straight top-three Premier League finishes.

He has found the going more difficult since taking over a Chelsea side still going through a transitional period under the Todd Boehly regime, with the big-spending Blues sitting ninth in the Premier League table. 

Chelsea did beat Tottenham 4-1 in a memorable return fixture in November, meaning Pochettino could become the first coach to complete a Premier League double over Spurs having previously managed them in the competition. 

"It will be emotional coming up against people who I worked with for a long period. I can't hide my emotion for the club," Pochettino told reporters on Wednesday.

"But across 90 minutes we want to win and Tottenham are going to come here to try and win."

Chelsea are five points adrift of the top seven with a game in hand, and Pochettino believes the club are taking the first steps on a path similar to that followed by his Spurs team.

"Tottenham was amazing because the challenge was to create a team that could compete with top sides," he added.

"Now at Chelsea, we are in the process of building an exciting project that needs time and this is maybe the most challenging period."

Tottenham are in desperate need of points if they are to reel in Aston Villa and secure a top-four finish, having suffered back-to-back defeats against Newcastle United (0-4) and Arsenal (2-3).

Despite their recent slide, Ange Postecoglou is in no doubt that his team have made big strides this term, saying: "What I see is us playing football, measuring ourselves against the best. 

"My players have got real belief in what we are doing. That's all I need to see."


Chelsea – Cole Palmer

Palmer, whose tally of 20 Premier League goals this term has only been bettered by Erling Haaland (21), has scored hat-tricks in each of his last two home games, netting three goals against Manchester United and four versus Everton.

The only player to ever score three or more goals in three straight home Premier League matches is Haaland, who did so against Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and United last season.

Tottenham – Guglielmo Vicario

Vicario failed to command his area from corners as Arsenal scored twice from such situations in last week's North London derby, and it's an area in which the Italian needs to improve.

Only United (15.3) and Burnley (14.9) have allowed their opponents a higher cumulative expected goals (xG) figure from set-piece situations than Tottenham's 14.3 in the Premier League this season, though Chelsea's tally of 83 shots from dead-balls is a league-low number.


Chelsea have a great record against their London rivals, recording 34 Premier League wins over Spurs. Only United have beaten them more often in the competition, with 39 victories. 

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have only lost one of the last 33 league meetings between the sides, going down 3-1 in April 2018 when Pochettino was in the Tottenham dugout.

Tottenham are looking to avoid suffering three straight Premier League defeats for the second time this season, having also done so in November – a run which began with their 4-1 defeat in the reverse fixture against Chelsea. 

Postecoglou's men could think themselves unfortunate on that occasion, though, missing several good chances to get back into the game despite being reduced to nine men by red cards for Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie. 

One thing is for certain – goals should be expected. Chelsea have already conceded 59 Premier League goals this term, their most in a single campaign in the competition, while Spurs have shipped 52 and failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six matches. An entertaining draw could be on the cards. 


Chelsea – 39.9%

Tottenham – 32.6%

Draw 27.5%

Mauricio Pochettino claimed VAR is "damaging" English football after Chelsea saw a potential winning goal chalked off at the end of their 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa. 

Despite a bright performance, Chelsea found themselves 2-0 down at half-time on Saturday with Marc Cucurella putting through his own net before Morgan Rogers added Villa's second.

Goals from Noni Madueke and Conor Gallagher dragged Chelsea level as they penned Villa back after the break, but the Blues were enraged in stoppage time when Axel Disasi saw a potential winner ruled out.

Disasi headed home in the fifth minute of stoppage time to spark wild celebrations among the visiting Chelsea fans, only for referee Craig Pawson to disallow the goal following a pitchside VAR review, ruling Benoit Badiashile pushed Diego Carlos in the build-up.

With that incident coming just one week after Chelsea were denied a penalty in their FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City despite Jack Grealish appearing to handle Cole Palmer's free-kick, Pochettino has had enough.

"Everyone that was watching the game will feel disappointed. The referee said it was a foul and disallowed the goal after going to the VAR to confirm," he told TNT Sports.

"The referee is unbelievable and it's ridiculous. It is difficult to accept these types of things. In the semi-final it was handball and it was no penalty, the referee didn't check it.

"It is painful as it has damaged English football and I think Villa players and their fans didn't understand why the goal was disallowed.

"They said it was a foul and if you see the challenge… if we go into every single challenge like this and it is going to be a foul, we wouldn't finish the game with 11 players.

"We can talk about the performance or the decision – it is damaging the game."

Pochettino had no complaints about Chelsea's performance, though, as they avoided defeat for just the fourth time in 51 Premier League games when trailing by two or more goals at half-time.

The Blues previously achieved that feat in a 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in 1992, a memorable 2-2 draw with Tottenham in 2016 and another 3-3 draw with West Brom in 2020.

Chelsea racked up 21 shots to Villa's nine and put up 1.57 expected goals (xG) to the hosts' 1.1, with Nicolas Jackson and Palmer spurning glorious chances in either half. 

"The performance was very good," Pochettino said. "We played really well and it is true in the first half we conceded too easily.

"To play Villa, who are fighting for the top four, I am pleased with the team. Now, we have to move on and the headlines will be about the disallowed goal."

Conor Gallagher scored the equaliser as Chelsea fought back from two goals down to clinch a deserved 2-2 draw with Champions League-chasing Aston Villa on Saturday.

Villa looked set to go nine points clear of Tottenham in the race to finish in the Premier League's top four, with Marc Cucurella's own goal and Morgan Rogers' low drive giving them a handsome half-time lead.

Mauricio Pochettino's men dominated much of the first half without reward, but they continued to press after the interval and cultured finishes from Noni Madueke and Gallagher dragged them level.

They almost completed a fine comeback in stoppage time, but there was relief for Villa when referee Craig Pawson disallowed a goal for Chelsea defender Axel Disasi following a VAR review due to an infringement from Benoit Badiashile.

It meant Villa boss Unai Emery was unable to celebrate his new long-term contract with three points, with his team now seven points clear of fifth-placed Spurs, who have three games in hand on their rivals.

Chelsea stay ninth and are five points adrift of the top seven, but with a game in hand to come, their European hopes are not yet over.

Villa made a flying start and were ahead within four minutes, albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances. John McGinn didn't get a clean connection on Lucas Digne's left-wing cutback, but his shot bounced off Cucurella and into the net.

Chelsea thought they were level after 16 minutes as Nicolas Jackson raced clear to finish into the roof of the net, but his strike was disallowed for offside after a VAR review, with replays showing he was leaning beyond Matty Cash.

Jackson should then have equalised when found by Cucurella six yards out, but he could only send his header against the foot of the post and wide.

Villa then doubled their lead against the run of play shortly before half-time, with Djordje Petrovic powerless as Rogers squeezed his shot through Trevoh Chalobah's legs and in.

A hamstring injury saw Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez withdrawn at half-time, and his replacement Robin Olsen was beaten after 62 minutes, Madueke stroking home after Gallagher forced a high turnover. 

Olsen stuck out an arm to deny Madueke a second with 71 minutes gone, but he had no chance as the Blues levelled with nine minutes to play, Gallagher rifling a left-footed finish into the top-left corner.

Chelsea thought they had won it when Disasi headed home five minutes into stoppage time, but referee Pawson disallowed the goal following a VAR review, with Badiashile adjudged to have fouled Diego Carlos in the build-up.

Villa throw it away

Villa could hardly have wished for a stronger position at half-time. Despite Chelsea carving out several good openings, they found themselves 2-0 up and primed to exploit their opponents further through the pace of Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey.

Chelsea had lost 16 of their previous 18 Premier League games when trailing at half-time (one win, one draw), losing their last eight when two or more goals behind at the break.

However, Emery's men simply didn't get going after the restart, and only a late VAR review saved them from a crushing defeat, with Disasi's potential winner chalked off for a foul by fellow defender Badiashile.

Gallagher leads from the front

Gallagher has polarised opinion at times this season, but Chelsea's stand-in skipper produced a talismanic display just when his team needed him most at Villa Park.

The England international is known for his tenacious work out of possession, and he forced a turnover on the corner of the Villa box in the build-up to Madueke's goal.

Gallagher's own strike, which flew into the top corner to stun the home faithful, took him to double figures for Premier League goal involvements for the season (four goals, six assists). He has only achieved that feat in one other campaign in the competition, scoring eight goals and adding three assists on loan at Crystal Palace in 2021-22.

Four of his seven Premier League goals for Chelsea, meanwhile, have now come from outside the area.

Mauricio Pochettino has reminded his team to respect themselves as they prepare for another tough game against Aston Villa on Saturday.

After being knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester City last Saturday, the Blues were thrashed 5-0 by title-chasing Arsenal in midweek for their 11th defeat of the season.

Chelsea still have an outside chance of finishing in the top seven as they sit just three points behind Newcastle United with two games in hand.

Asked if his side are capable of putting the disappointment of their last two results behind them, Pochettino said: “Lack of belief, in the circumstances, sometimes happens.

“We tried to realise how we need to behave when the game is tough when the demands are so high. We need to try and be more strong and to trust in the way that we play, in our philosophy, in the way we prepare the games.

“We need to be positive, and we need to be strong and believe tomorrow we can have a good game, good attitude, good approach. We are going to compete again with another team, fighting for the top. We need to think we are Chelsea and respect ourselves."

Chelsea will be without Enzo Fernandez for their final six games of the season due to a groin issue.

Fernandez was forced off with an injury during Chelsea's 5-0 defeat at Arsenal on Tuesday.

And it has now been confirmed the 23-year-old World Cup winner has undergone surgery, and will subsequently miss the final month of Chelsea's campaign.

Fernandez has made 28 Premier League appearances this season, scoring three goals. Chelsea did not put a timeframe on his return, though Argentina will be hoping the former Benfica star is fit to feature in the Copa America, which begins in late June.

The Blues sit ninth in the table, though they do have games in hand on all of their rivals for European qualification.

Mauricio Pochettino's team take on Champions League hopefuls Aston Villa on Saturday, with fixtures against Tottenham, West Ham Nottingham Forest, Brighton and Bournemouth to follow.

Conor Gallagher insists Chelsea's players are putting in the required effort amid fierce fan criticism in the aftermath of Tuesday's 5-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Chelsea's miserable first season under Mauricio Pochettino took another turn for the worse at the Emirates Stadium as they were put to the sword by Mikel Arteta's title contenders.

The Gunners racked up 27 shots at goal as they recorded their biggest ever victory over Chelsea, who looked devoid of inspiration with leading goalscorer Cole Palmer sidelined due to illness.

During the game, one disgruntled travelling fan held up a banner which read: "I don't want your shirt, I just want you to fight for ours".

The charge that Chelsea are not fighting for results was put to Gallagher by TNT Sports after the game, and the Blues' stand-in captain denied that was the case.  

"We definitely are putting the effort in," Gallagher said. "I know how much it means to all the boys. It's a very young squad with not much experience as a team in the Premier League.

"This season we've had a lot of ups and downs. We're still improving and working as a team to get to that next level.

"Today was one of those days where we were nowhere near it and we need to dust ourselves off, look at the performance, where we can improve and all the mistakes we made."

The defeat means Chelsea remain ninth in the Premier League table, three points adrift of sixth-placed Newcastle United and Manchester United in seventh, with both of those teams in action on Wednesday.

Pochettino's men face another daunting task on Saturday when they travel to Champions League-chasing Aston Villa, before hosting Tottenham in another London derby next Thursday.

Mauricio Pochettino slammed Chelsea's lack of consistency after they were thrashed 5-0 by Arsenal on Tuesday, saying: "When we have bad days, we are so bad." 

Chelsea travelled to the Emirates Stadium looking to close the gap to the Premier League's top seven, but instead saw their European hopes further dented by a chastening 5-0 defeat. 

The defeat was Chelsea's heaviest ever against the Gunners in all competitions, and their worst in a London derby since they lost 6-0 to Queens Park Rangers in March 1986.

The fact that dismal performance came just three days after Chelsea pushed Manchester City close in the teams' FA Cup semi-final only served to rile Pochettino.

"We are showing this inconsistency and that is why we are where we are," Pochettino said.

"We are able to have an amazing performance and then one like this. When we have bad days, we are so bad. It's difficult to talk. We were talking in the same way after last season.

"We put in a fantastic performance at Wembley and then today, you can lose a game at Arsenal but in the way we competed… why one day, three days ago and then today in this way?"

Chelsea have now conceded 57 goals in the Premier League this season, their outright most in a single campaign in the competition, having previously shipped 55 in both 1994-95 and 1996-97.

In attack, they managed just one shot on target in the absence of Cole Palmer, with the Premier League's joint-leading goalscorer missing out due to illness.

Asked about the impact of losing Palmer, Pochettino added: "It wasn't the reason we lost the game, but you lose such a creative player that helps to play in the lines. 

"It's difficult to lose players in these circumstances – that made the management very difficult. But today was more than that.

"We didn't compete from the beginning and it was difficult to be in the game against a team fighting for the Premier League. It's no coincidence. 

"We need to compete in a different way but we are talking too much. We want to be in a different position next season. We need to take decisions."

Mikel Arteta hailed an “unbelievable” performance from Kai Havertz after his two goals helped Arsenal move three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a thumping 5-0 win over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

The 24-year-old, who struggled in his early appearances after swapping Stamford Bridge for north London in the summer, gave a superb display against his former side as the leaders heaped more misery on visiting manager Mauricio Pochettino, who saw his ninth-place team slump to a worst-ever league defeat against Arsenal.

Havertz struck twice as part of an 18-minute blitz in the second half as Arteta’s team won for the second time in four days, continuing their recovery from successive losses to Aston Villa and Bayern Munich.

“He (Havertz) was unbelievable, in all departments,” said Arteta.

“For a nine to score two goals the way he scored, his contribution was great. It’s a question for him but I’m sure he’s very pleased.”

The Arsenal onslaught began after only four minutes, Declan Rice sliding the ball into a channel on the left of the penalty area from where Leandro Trossard took over, dinking past defender Alfie Gilchrist, on his first Premier League start, and thudding it through the legs of Djordje Petrovic.

Thereafter Chelsea competed gamely, going close to equalising when Axel Disasi just failed to reach a flick-on from a corner and again when Nicolas Jackson’s effort was deflected onto the post by Gabriel, but in the space of under 20 minutes after the interval they fell to pieces.

First, Ben White reacted quickest to sweep home after Rice’s shot was blocked, then Havertz got his first of the night with a lofted finish over the goalkeeper.

The former Chelsea forward made it 4-0, his shot pinging in off the post with Petrovic rooted, before White provided the moment of the match with a cross-shot that sailed across the face of goal and in from Martin Odegaard’s pass.

“It was a big performance, collectively and individually,” said Arteta, whose side moved clear at the top ahead of Sunday’s derby against Tottenham but have played a game more than Liverpool and two more than Manchester City.

“I thought we were really good, against a really good team that was in great form and were going to ask us a lot of questions. I think we responded really well.

“From the start we were really determined, really flowing, playing with a lot of courage and making things happen. Really happy with the result. It’s a big day for our supporters.

“It’s great for us, for the confidence and for the belief that we can do it, we can come to these stages against big teams and win games the way we’ve done it tonight. So enjoy it, then it’s back to work tomorrow because we have a big one on Sunday.”

Chelsea boss Pochettino, for whom Arteta admitted to have “all the sympathy in the world,” gave a downcast assessment of his team’s prospects of qualifying for Europe after a humbling loss.

“Now it is difficult to see the future because after this game we feel disappointed,” he said. “It is difficult to talk about objectives.

“If we compete like Saturday (in the FA Cup semi-final defeat to City), OK. But if we compete like today, I think we deserve to go into Europe? I think in this way, no.”

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