Boehly faces biggest test of resolve with Potter under mounting pressure

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Boehly faces biggest test of resolve with Potter under mounting pressure
Boehly faces biggest test of resolve with Potter under mounting pressure

Now we’ll discover whether Chelsea’s owners really will stand by their man in a world of pain - as they should.

Roman Abramovich would have wielded the axe already - as we know. But, doubling down on their shock move to sack Thomas Tuchel last September, Todd Boehly and his co-owner Behdad Eghbali maintained they’d stick with Graham Potter - whether Chelsea finish in the top four in May or not.

So let’s see. The Blues’ struggles are as much of their making as they are his. Tuchel was sacked because he didn’t share their vision. They then saddled Potter with a group of players that were not his - and have watched the club go backwards.

To be fair to Chelsea’s owners, they do have a plan - of sorts. Vision 2030 involves scouting and snapping up some of the best young talents with a view to them maturing together into a formidable senior squad.

The only trouble is, Chelsea’s rivals are not standing still. Arsenal are ahead of schedule, competing for the title. City are serial winners, Newcastle are laying superb defensive foundations for top four tenure and Manchester United are resurgent. Even Spurs are just two points off the top four and looking good again.

Chelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush rriqudirriezinvChelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush

Chelsea, meanwhile, sit 10th. They were put out of the EFL Cup by Manchester City last November, humbled by the Premier League defending champions on Thursday night and are set for more of the same from them in the FA Cup this weekend.

So never mind 2030, Potter needs the results to appease a frustrated fanbase, angry at just three wins in Chelsea’s last 11 games. In fact, his unenviable in-tray is piling higher by the day. For example, how does he address Chelsea’s crippling injury crisis?

Should Todd Boehly stick by Graham Potter? Have your say in the comments!

Boehly faces biggest test of resolve with Potter under mounting pressureGraham Potter is enduring a tricky time as Chelsea manager (Getty Images)

Mason Mount missed Thursday with an injury picked up in training the day before. Raheem Sterling limped out of the game itself with a hamstring injury. Christian Pulisic joined him with a knee problem. Reece James, Edouard Mendy, Wesley Fofana, N'Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Armando Broja are already on the sidelines.

Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still can’t get a game, humiliatingly subbed after being sent on as Sterling’s replacement. His position - with Potter clearly not fancying him - is untenable. Surely he should be allowed to leave this month, with Chelsea negotiating for Benfica’s £106million striker Enzo Fernandez.

What does Potter do about his goalkeeping situation? Kepa has displaced Mendy as No.1 but the Spaniard is being blamed for the Riyad Mahrez goal on Thursday night.

And what about the unhappy player situation? Callum Hudson-Odoi, Marcos Alonso and Timo Werner got out while they could last summer. But Hakim Ziyech was denied the chance to go to AC Milan while Newcastle’s interest in Pulisic was blocked. Surely, with Chelsea trying to hijack Arsenal’s move for Ukrainian winger Mykailo Mudryk, both players will be finally set free.

What does Potter do about Jorginho, who has just six months left on his contract. Or Conor Gallagher, firmly in Tuchel’s plans last summer but now back on the fringes along with Trevoh Chalobah?

Kante, who has played just twice this season and not at all since last August, is in line for a new contract - even though he turns 32 in March.

Boehly faces biggest test of resolve with Potter under mounting pressureTodd Boehly doesn't look like he will pull the trigger on Graham Potter any time soon (Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Outstanding player though he may have been, injuries have clearly taken their toll. Shouldn’t a new, younger commanding defensive midfielder (cc. Declan Rice) be a priority?

Everton chiefs face transfer backlash from fans after deadline day disasterEverton chiefs face transfer backlash from fans after deadline day disaster

Brentford, Brighton and Fulham all sit higher in the Premier League than Chelsea right now. Yes, the Blues clearly have far greater resources than all of them - but the other three are more settled and more consistent.

Potter has the skill, man-management and tactical acumen to do what Chelsea need him to. But the club has to stick with him. Just like they said they would.

Darren Lewis

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation