Graham Potter’s Chelsea in-tray: Getting attack firing and integrating new signings among issues for new boss

·3-min read
Graham Potter’s Chelsea in-tray: Getting attack firing and integrating new signings among issues for new boss

Graham Potter will take his first training session at Chelsea on Friday as he gets to work following his appointment.

The 47-year-old has replaced Thomas Tuchel and been tasked with leading a new era at Stamford Bridge.

Here, Standard Sport assesses what is in his in-tray as he starts his new job.

Get goals from the Chelsea attack

There can be no excuses for Chelsea’s attack misfiring in recent years. They’ve had a £97.5million striker in Romelu Lukaku, and other big-money signings like Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz.

Lukaku and Werner were replaced by Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the summer but Tuchel was still unable to get his side firing. Some blamed the German and it felt like, at times, that he blamed the players.

No Chelsea player has scored more than 20 goals in a season since Eden Hazard did it in 2018-19. Potter will know this is an historic issue but it is also a systemic issue.

Tuchel’s 3-4-3 was characterised by an obsession with stopping counter-attacks and high-energy pressing, which some players felt did not leave enough capacity for attackers to be creative or get into goalscoring positions.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Properly integrate the new signings

Chelsea spent almost £300million in the summer but so far that huge investment has not revolutionised the team. Only Sterling has consistently performed, having had a proper pre-season.

Kalidou Koulibaly has struggled with the pace of the Premier League after arriving from Serie A as a 31-year-old. Marc Cucurella has been marginally better but has had as many bad days as good.

Wesley Fofana had a positive debut against West Ham but was arguably at fault for the Dinamo Zagreb goal in Tuesday’s 1-0 Champions League defeat. Aubameyang was given a debut in Croatia but looked rusty, having arguably come in too soon after just one full training session in the last week.

It will be up to Potter to not only adapt to his squad but help these players adapt to each other to bring the kind of fluidity and tactical play that he needs to succeed.

 (AP)
(AP)

Develop young players

Tuchel had increasingly alienated the young players in the squad, who began to feel that he did not trust them. Images of Tuchel shouting at Conor Gallagher mirror treatment of Callum Hudson-Odoi before his exit to Bayer Leverkusen.

With Trevoh Chalobah and even increasingly Mason Mount as back-up players, these are stars that Potter might thrive working with, having signed Billy Gilmour and Tariq Lamptey from the Cobham academy. Potter also tried to sign Tino Livramento before he joined Southampton in 2021.

Chelsea’s great advantage is Neil Bath’s youth talent factory and it is something that the new owners want the manager to be conscious of over time.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Sort the goalkeeping problems

Increasingly, Edouard Mendy's form is a cause for concern. High-profile errors against Leeds and West Ham may have led to him being dropped against Dinamo, although Tuchel insisted that the Senegal international was injured.

Just minutes later he was facing shots in Chelsea's warm-up, leading to suspicions that Tuchel was covering for the Blues' No1. With Kepa Arrizabalaga unhappy at his prolonged time on the bench and Mendy also not best pleased, Potter has a decision to make.