Emery impact puts Potter in a pickle as Chelsea stretch Boehly’s patience…
Chelsea have now lost more games than they have won under Graham Potter and Todd Boehly will be rueing the contrast between his struggles and Unai Emery’s impact on Aston Villa…
Todd Boehly professes patience but Chelsea are stretching their owner’s limits while they languish in the bottom half of the Premier League table. The owner didn’t spaff £600million for the best view of a relegation battle.
Chelsea find themselves looking up at the top 10 after being turned over by Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. The home fans certainly don’t appreciate the current company they are keeping, with calls for Graham Potter to go before those who stuck around booed their beaten team off the pitch.
Potter can only hope that Boehly is benevolent billionaire but his treatment of Thomas Tuchel suggests it might be forlorn. Having now lost more games than he has won as Chelsea manager, Potter is perilously close to the edge.
Of course, he tried to look at the bright side after watching Villa do a job on his players. “If you look at the stats of the game, it’s a positive performance,” he said, and he might have a point. Chelsea had a better xG – 2.09-0.81 – using their 69 per cent possession to muster up 27 shots.
Is it Potter’s fault that his players don’t possess the necessary ruthlessness? This was no one off – Chelsea have failed to score in nine of the manager’s 22 games in charge. The absence of a clinical goalscorer is more damning on the individuals who threw together the Blues’ bloated squad, Boehly included.
Nor can Potter legislate for the kind of defending that gifted Villa their opener. Marc Cucurella meddled where he has no business, diverting the ball beyond Kalidou Koulibaly to allow Ollie Watkins a free run on goal. That’s on the Spaniard.
But Potter is responsible for fielding Cucurella in a back-three and some of the other decisions over shape and selection that have so baffled the Chelsea supporters. And the lack of potency is becoming a theme around the manager. He had the same problems at Brighton, and it is looking less of a coincidence that their profligacy went with him and his staff when they jumped ship for Stamford Bridge.
That made Potter the most expensive manager in the game and Boehly has previously made it known that he will judge that particular investment on seasons, not streaks. If Potter offered any suggestion that he knew the formula to make Chelsea tick, it would be easier for Boehly to stand by his man. But Potter has convinced no one that he has an effective plan, let alone implement it. ‘You don’t know what you’re doing,’ chanted the Chelsea supporters and the evidence suggests they too have a point.
Chelsea have only beaten one team currently in the top half of the Premier League this season, Aston Villa, and Villa are only in the top half because they have just beaten Chelsea.
— Richard Jolly 🇺🇦 (@RichJolly) April 1, 2023
The contrast with Villa and the impact Unai Emery has made was stark and damning on Potter. Emery was appointed after Potter but the fruits of the Spaniard’s labour since November were once again clear for all to see as Villa took Chelsea’s place in the top half of the table.
From there in April come four of Chelsea’s next five opponents in the Premier League, with a Champions League double-header against Real Madrid amid a run of fixtures bookended by Liverpool and Arsenal.
Smack bang in the middle is a reunion with Brighton, who will be desperate to show Boehly how good life after Potter really can be. By then, without swift and dramatic improvement, Chelsea might already be experiencing it for themselves.
Read more: Potter heads towards front of Premier League sack race but two long-serving (and suffering) bosses lead