Games and Goals
Chelsea Head Coach Graham Potter has caused an incredible upturn in form at Stamford Bridge. Succeeding Thomas Tuchel, he inherited a side who were depleted and performing well below the standards expected at the West London Club. Chelsea had failed to win four of their last seven before Potter walked through the door. However, the new manager has provided Chelsea with a real spark.
His first game in charge of the Blues came before the international break, with Potter managing his first ever Champions League game at home to RB Salzburg. The game ended 1-1, but there was a clear vision to Potter’s game, and the feeling that he was only going to further improve the team over the international break. You could see change was about to happen at the club.
Chelsea returned after the international break, with their first game back being away to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. The Blues conceded first in the opening stages of the game, and it was a feeling all too familiar for Chelsea fans. However, Potter and his men soon turned their fortunes around, in a very positive manner. Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Conor Gallagher secured all three points for the Blues, and Chelsea were back to winning ways. Flashes of brilliant football were shown against Palace, that came into full fruition when Chelsea returned to Champions League action a few days later.
Chelsea then welcomed Serie A Champions AC Milan to Stamford Bridge, and they sat bottom of their group before the kick-off. They performed with dominance and class, sweeping the Italian team aside with a 3-0 victory. In the return fixture they played at the San Siro less than a week later, the 3-0 score line wasn’t quite replicated, but they came away from Milan with a 2-0 win and yet another clean sheet.
Clean sheets and wins are what Potter has been building his team on, as they pick up much needed points and confidence. Since the former Brighton man took over at Chelsea, the Blues have moved into the top spot in their Champions’ League group and are now back into the Premier League top four.
Potter hasn’t been shy of changing his teams and tactics, as different sides faced both Wolves and Aston Villa and they came away with wins and clean sheets from both. The upturn in form from Potter’s side has been remarkable, considering where the same set of players were a few weeks ago. Potter’s tactical approach to games is seriously impressive, he has been known to change formation three times in a game this season. In an interview with Amazon, Potter commented on his tactical approach to games, saying that “we don’t see the formation as the end goal, we see how the team is playing. Team needs to look consistent regardless of formation. Hopefully things look the same even though the system changes."
Despite a 0-0 draw at Brentford in midweek, Chelsea remain unbeaten since Graham Potter took over, and have kept five clean sheets in their last five games.
Graham Potter hasn’t only sparked a change in Chelsea’s form and team results, but he has helped the resurgence of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s form. It is no secret that the Spaniard has had a tough time during his spell at Chelsea, finding himself in and out of the team and in and out of form. He fell out of favour under former managers Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel but was reinstated his number one spot the moment Graham Potter walked through the door. The Spanish international has kept five clean sheets in his last seven appearances and has been awarded several man of the match awards for his sensational performances. Potter has most definitely helped Kepa find his best form.
Graham Potter’s start to life at Chelsea has gone as smoothly as he could have hoped for. The Blues face a tougher test coming up, with Manchester United, Brighton, Arsenal, and Manchester City their next four fixtures in the Premier League. However, the new manager must be credited for the incredible impact he has had on this current Chelsea side.