Blues head coach Graham Potter is on the verge of being fired.
Posted by: 2-03-2023, 10:21, , 181, 0
On Sunday, Chelsea lost 0-2 to Tottenham and are even further away from fourth place in the Champions League, 14 points away and 10 away from the relegation zone. The Blues are in terrible form, with only two wins in their last 15 games and just one goal scored in six games. In February, Chelsea have cancelled the traditional voting among the fans for the best goal of the month, because there is banal nothing to choose from. The Blues' results are a shock to everyone. During the two transfer windows London spent a record 600 million euros on the newcomers, and in September they changed the head coach - instead of Thomas Tuchel came Graeme Potter. It seems that with such inputs any team should at least go in the top 4, but Chelsea have enormous problems.
Logically, in such a situation, the main questions are asked of the head coach. Potter's resignation has been looking inevitable for a month now, and the Chelsea coach has been asked about it more than once. After the loss to Tottenham, Potter cited examples in his defense: "Before the game we were discussing the 'All or Nothing' series about Mikel Arteta's second season at Arsenal. He was close to retirement, people wanted to get rid of him, and that's terrible. And now things have changed - that's how it is. Or remember the situation around Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool had no results and people wanted him out. That is the nature of soccer.
It's a weighty argument. In soccer, and most playing sports in general, coaches are often given little time to implement their ideas. But time must be earned. The same Arteta, six months after his appointment at Arsenal, won the FA Cup and the Super Cup, and Klopp reached the Europa League final in the same period. In addition, both the Spaniard and the German progressively implemented their ideas into the game of the team, and the outlines of their philosophy were visible in the first season.
As for Potter, there are a lot of questions because of his tactics. So far, it's clear that the Chelsea coaching staff vacillates between the schemes, combinations of players and contrasting ideas. Potter regularly makes early substitutions, and the players can't get used to their ideas or their partners. Nor do the players have time to remember what they are told in pre-match training sessions, because the approach is constantly changing. So far, it's simply impossible to tell what Potter's playing style is. Flexibility is only good when the coach has worked with the team for at least a season and a half or two seasons and the players have learned his basic ideas. And Potter either wants everything all at once, or gets confused trying to change things.
Tuchel's wasted firingThe Chelsea coaching staff has become hostage to the club's frantic activity in the transfer market. The Blues have spent more than 600 million euros on newcomers in two windows, and the squad has been renewed by more than half since the beginning of the summer. Potter clearly has no idea how to simultaneously combine on the field of a scattering of expensive, but not yet trained to his ideas players.
Now it looks like Thomas Tuchel's September resignation was hasty. It seemed strange even then: yes, Chelsea were sixth in the APL and lost to Dinamo Zagreb at the start of the Champions League by the time of his dismissal, but the situation did not look hopeless. The Athletic wrote that Chelsea owner Todd Boely disliked Tuchel's reticent manner and the German disliked the attempt to give him additional organisational and administrative powers. There is no doubt that Tuchel left because of Boehli. Had Roman Abramovich not been forcibly deprived of Chelsea, the London club would now be thriving with a German coach who gave them the Champions League.
A lost season
Potter is certainly to blame for Chelsea's failure, but the main problem lies above. In less than a year the club has changed the owner, the entire management, the coaching staff, as well as most of the squad. How can you expect to get a result in such a situation? It was in the best interest of Boelie to let the former coach work, not to apply a massive shock therapy.
How to correct the situation? There are two ways. The first one is to finally gain patience, turn a blind eye to the results and give Potter time until the end of the season at least to work out a philosophy of the Chelsea game. The second one is to fire Potter right now and appoint some savior coach to revive Chelsea at least in the Champions League. The Blues lost away to Borussia Dortmund 0-1 in the first leg of the 1/8 finals, so there is still room for success in the European Cup. The club have already done the same trick with Guus Hiddink in 2009, with Roberto Di Matteo in 2012 and with Tuchel himself in 2021. But all that was under Abramovich. Boelho has his own managerial methods. Unpredictable.