Since taking the throne at Chelsea from Brighton, Graham Potter has been unbeaten across all competitions. Despite not-so-dominant performances, the English manager has managed to secure enough points to keep Chelsea level on points in fourth place while they have booked their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League thanks to a win over AC Milan at the San Siro. Potter has been hailed for making bold moves on a tactical basis.
Despite experienced and proven Premier League forward, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, adorned in blue and a marquee signing from Brighton, Marc Cucurella, making his move to North London, Stamford Bridge is yet to become a fortress but things are moving in the right direction under Potter.
Chilwell impressed with the new boss!
The left-back was all in praise for Potter in the aftermath of Chelsea’s 1-1 draw vs Man United. Potter was quick to respond tactically to Ten Hag’s constant peppering of attacks in the blue half of the field.
Just 35 minutes into the game, Potter shifted from Chelsea’s favoured 3-4-3 to a back four as he subbed off his apprentice from Brighton Marc Cucurella to bring on a dynamic Mateo Kovacic in midfield. The effect of the change was evident as the blues looked much more potent in attack.
Chilwell credited the manager for recognizing United’s dominance -which wasn’t a pleasure to those with Chelsea tickets- and making the subtle change citing that the team “adapted really well”. He added that the home side retained much more possession and adopted a diamond in midfield, which outnumbered United in the middle of the park. He was in total praise for the home fans, to whom he apologized for not being able to hold on to the lead.
Kepa Arizzabalaga is making a solid case for the starting spot
When the Blues hosted Man United, Kepa was undoubtedly the busiest of the two glovemen. The reds brought in several goal attempts during the 90, where the Spaniard was exquisite at guarding the goal, notably denying United forward Marcus Rashford on several occasions.
But he, unfortunately, could not save the late stoppage time looping header from Casemiro, which proved to be the equalizer.
Thanks to Kepa, Chelsea have eeked out narrow wins and draws, helping Potter keep his unbeaten record intact. Going by the number of chances and especially the nature of circumstances Chelsea conceded, they should have been comfortably behind Aston Villa and Brentford.
Kepa has been red hot, his best form since the goalkeeper signed for a whopping 72 million pounds in 2019. Having played second fiddle to Edouard Mendy, injury to the Senegalese was the perfect opportunity for Arizzabalaga, who, despite Mendy’s heroics, is reputed for his far superior skills with the ball at feet.
However, United legend Roy Keane was particularly critical of Arizzabalaga’s stoppage time miss, as the Spaniard’s near-save deprived those with Chelsea tickets a chance to go home with the joy of having achieved 3 crucial points.
Keane cited that given the form the Spaniard had shown in the game, he should have done more to deny United the equalizer.
Trevor Chalobah impresses
Interestingly, Chelsea has never lost a game that Trevor Chalobah started. And of the games he has subbed on, Chelsea has only lost games in penalty shootouts.
The 23-year-old has conceded only 1 goal under Chelsea’s new manager. Despite the blues missing the services of the potent Reece James, Chalobah has strung together an impressive partnership alongside Brazilian skipper Thiago Silva. The duo have only conceded one goal since Potter’s arrival.
With him being out of favour with Champions League-winning former manager Thomas Tuchel, in hindsight, it is pretty surprising that Chelsea considered allowing Chalobah to leave. The defender is yet to be beaten as a starter across the past 14 months.
Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin was impressed with the defender, citing that Chalobah is undoubtedly among the standout performers for Chelsea this season. Infamous Arsenal star Ian Wright drew Chalobah parallel to Dutch skipper Virgil van Dijk at the peak of his powers.
Given the work ethic that Chalobah has shown, what lies ahead in the future is much to be known, especially once Reece James is back. A defender of quality and poise, Chelsea will be looking to put pen to paper with Chaloba very soon.
Injuries and Suspensions
Record signing Wesley Fofana was already nursing an ACL injury at the time of his 75 million pound transfer from Leicester. It was heartbreak for the defender as he sustained a knock in Chelsea’s UCL fixture vs Milan.
A date for Fofana’s return is still not on the cards, with the youngster’s recovery and rehabilitation indefinitely continuing. However, Potter quickly pointed out that the injury was not “as bad as they thought”.
Conor Gallagher is touted to undergo an assessment following the midfielder falling prey to illness. It is likely that Gallagher will return to action in the immediate future.
It’s devastating news for Reece James as the Englishman is set to miss the Qatar 22 world cup during his 8-week recovery process.
Ngolo Kante, too will miss the world cup with no positive developments as of yet in terms of the Frenchman’s hamstring injury keeping those with Chelsea ticket holders in further dejection.
With West Ham serially interested in star Napoli forward Khvicha Kvaratshkelia, Chelsea seemed to have entered the race as a strong contender to sign the Georgian.
The winger bagged 8 goals and 2 assists in 11 league starts while on loan for Batumi last season. Subsequently, going on to rack up 15 goal contributions in 14 games. Graham Potter is said to have some serious interest in bringing the star forward to Stamford Bridge.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been no stranger to Chelsea transfer talks since the summer transfer window. Despite the Portuguese legend’s immaculate fitness and abilities in front of goal, Graham Potter is said to have others in mind along the line of long-term investments.
Although the fans with Chelsea tickets would love to see the legendary striker adorned in the Stamford Blues, Potter has taken an interest in the likes of Jonathan David, Rafael Leao and Brentford striker Ivan Toney per journalist Ben Jacobs.
Despite Marina Granovskia’s reluctance to welcome Declan Rice back to Stamford Bridge, the new ownership under Todd Boehly is keeping a watch on the West Ham skipper’s situation as he closes in on the end of his tenure at the Hammers.
With Ngolo Kante ageing and falling prey to injury, Chelsea is supposedly “waiting for an opportunity to pounce” to sign Rice back to North London, giving hope to anyone with Chelsea tickets.
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