Graham Potter’s brief reign as the Chelsea boss ended with a whimper as the Blues were outclassed by an Aston Villa side who have seen the kind of improvement under their new manager that Chelsea fans could only dream of.
The 22/23 season has been a miserable one for Chelsea and it brings back memories of the dismal 2015/16 campaign. The Blues would right their wrongs and win the league in 2016/17, however a title win next season seems astronomically-unlikely at best. Chelsea’s only domestic objective this season is to finish in the Champions League, and even that seems like a tall order.
Graham Potter was recruited by Blues owner Todd Boehly due to his stellar work at Ostersunds, Swansea, and Brighton and the American believed Potter was the long-term coach he was looking for. Brighton’s 21/22 season was superb and their former manager won praise for his style of play and penchant for sensible transfers, Marc Cucurella and Leandro Trossard standing out in particular.
Boehly must have concluded that if Potter could work such magic at Brighton, then he’d surely succeed at Chelsea, where funds and resources are much more abundant. Backed with a five-year contract, Potter was seen as the man who’d take Chelsea into the future, even if it meant a short-term reduction in trophies won.
What Went Wrong
It is unfair to pin all of Chelsea’s woes on Potter, but the manager is always the first in the firing line when results go awry. Things got off to a good start with a nine-game unbeaten run and an impressive win over AC Milan in the Champions League, but the optimism Potter generated quickly ran dry.
A critical milestone in Potter’s ill-fated reign came on 29 October 2022, when Brighton crushed the Blues 4-1 at the Amex Stadium. Brighton fans were jubilant as they mocked their former coach, and the Seagulls utterly outclassed Chelsea across 90 minutes. Losses to Arsenal and Newcastle followed, and Chelsea entered the World Cup break in stagnating fashion.
A huge January spending spree followed, including the arrival of £105 million World Cup-winner Enzo Fernandez and £33 million defender Benoit Badiashille. Despite the heavy spending, Chelsea weren’t able to play the exciting, swashbuckling football Potter showcased at Brighton and the Blues quickly found themselves fighting to stay in the top half of the table.
Potter By Numbers
No British manager has been backed as much as Graham Potter has been, yet the 47-year-old’s reign concluded with a 38.7 win percentage.
Of the 31 Chelsea games overseen by Potter, the Blues won only 12 of them and spent £312 million in the process. The club’s January transfer window was the most expensive in history, and the £89 million Mykhalio Mudryk was briefly the Blues’ record signing before Enzo Fernandes shattered the record.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly spared no expense in the transfer market, however the American subsequently spent £26 million per Graham Potter victory. It was this dismal record that helped end Potter’s reign, and the former Brighton manager walks out of Stamford Bridge with his reputation in tatters.
The five-time Premier League winners are in a perilous position and they are quickly losing momentum in the race for Europe. With Julian Nagelsmann, Antonio Conte, and Luis Enrique being linked with the manager’s job, Chelsea need an instant turnaround if this miserable season is to be salvaged.
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