Graham Potter’s honeymoon at Stamford Bridge has ended. After replacing Thomas Tuchel as Brighton & Hove Albion’s manager in September, Potter got off to a great start in west London. He won nine consecutive games in all competitions and reestablished Chelsea as the favorites.
The wheels have started to turn, with the shocking 4-1 loss away to the Seagulls in October on his return to Amex. The draw with Brentford and Manchester City before that loss may have been the first signs of cracks, but Chelsea has suffered three consecutive defeats against Arsenal, Manchester City (in League Cup), and Newcastle United since.
It will not surprise that some of the Blues’ fans have lost faith in Potter’s tenure. If they were under Roman Abramovich’s previous ownership, Roman might have felt that the World Cup hiatus was the right moment to pull the trigger on Roman’s time at the Stamford Bridge hotseat. With six weeks to find someone else and allow them to settle in before the season begins on Boxing Day.
As a Champions League winner, Todd Boehly showed Tuchel that he was ready to fire him. There were also signs that Todd Boehly would be following a similar approach in firing managers. Potter, however, is expected to have the support of the new owners. He will be given all the resources and time needed to make things right.
Potter’s unprecedented World Cup break came at the perfect time. He was winless in seven domestic games, which is unacceptable for a club like Chelsea, regardless of who their owner is. This six-week break allows the 47-year-old to regroup with his staff to find a solution.
The 45-day period allows Potter to be away from the spotlight and not suffer the wrathful Chelsea fans. The pressure is building and if the Blues resume the season as they did against Bournemouth on December 27, then there will be boos all around the stadium. Boehly and Co. may have to go back to the drawing board.
Potter’s five-year contract is a sign that the new consortium doesn’t plan to let him go anytime soon. They chose him to replace Tuchel. He must be a good fit for their long-term plans for Stamford Bridge.
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However, the short-term is equally important and Boehly would expect at least a fourth-place finish in his first year of ownership. This seems almost impossible in today’s football tips. Chelsea is currently back in eighth, eight points behind London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, in fourth.
Chelsea will travel to the Middle East to train during the World Cup. However, Potter won’t have an easy time implementing his plans to restart the team. The core of his squad will be competing in Qatar, while others are still recovering from injuries — such as Reece James and N’Golo Kane.
Chelsea must bounce back from their poor form. Not just beating Bournemouth but also going undefeated which allows them to climb back up the table. Potter has the January transfer window at his disposal, and Cristiano Ronaldo is just one of many names Chelsea is linked to after his fallout with Manchester United.