Chelsea News: The last time Chelsea was in the Champions League they had Thomas Tuchel as their manager. But they lost in game week 1 of UCL to Zagreb. After that loss bells rang at Chelsea. Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly fired Thomas Tuchel the following day.
After Tuchel was fired Chelsea was looking for a new manager and their search ended with ex Brighton man. Chelsea in the coming days announced Graham Potter as their new head coach. With the appointment of Potter, there was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm among Chelsea supporters.
Potter’s first game in charge was in the premier league, but the games were postponed due to the Queen’s death in the UK. Thus Grahm Potter’s first game in charge came in the Champions League.
The first game of Graham Potter’s tenure as Chelsea manager ended in a tie, leaving the Blues’ prospects of advancing through the group stage of the Champions League in the balance. Two losses have put them at the bottom of Group E, and their next opponents are a Milan club that includes several former teammates who may be out for revenge.
The first game of the Graham Potter era at Chelsea ended in a draw. Let’s look at what changes Grahm Potter made at Chelsea.
Chelsea News: Changes made by Graham Potter at Chelsea
Within just a few days of taking charge of Chelsea Graham Potter didn’t make wholesale changes to the team. Potter adopted a simple system that looked like 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 at times. But the ball system looked completely different.
It was 3 a back system with Silva, Azpilicueta, and Cucurella being the third left-footed center-back. James and Sterling played as wingbacks who had to do a lot of running up and down the flank.
Another tweak came into the system wherein Jorginho was deployed as the sole holding midfielder. Kovacic and Mount were ahead of him with proving the muscle and creativity in the midfield. Kai Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were deployed as two forwards in Potter’s line-up.
Chelsea News: Sterling shines
Raheem Sterling was signed from Manchester City for a whopping 50 million. Under Tuchel, Sterling looked a bit confused in his new formation. Sterling wasn’t able to perform in Tuchel’s forward line which was flexible with Mount Sterling and Havertz operating over there.
But with Potter’s arrival, we saw a change in the system and in Sterling’s role. Sterling was deployed as a left wing-back against Salzburg by Potter. Sterling was given the responsibility to marshal the Chelsea entire left flank on both occasions be it attacking-wise or defensively.
Yet Sterling was Chelsea’s best player on the night. He was dictating the play at times from that left-wing-back role. He even scored Chelsea’s only goal of the night.
In an after-match interview, Potter explained why he decided to play Sterling in an unusual role at left wing-back.
“Against Salzburg, they block the middle really well, it’s not easy to play through the center, so we thought we’d use Raheem and Reece in the wide areas, Azpi and Marc to support that. More bodies are central in the pitch with Kai, Mason, and Mateo. It worked ok but not well enough. I thought we got Sterling into one-v-one situations quite often, dangerous situations in the box, they blocked well. The goal was a good result of that.”
Chelsea News: Potter at the touchline
Potter was calmer and more composed on the touchline than his predecessor Tuchel. The new manager is still demonstrative, choosing to applaud pleasing moves with hands above his head, and there was plenty of direction given.
But Potter isn’t an over-enthusiastic character at the touchline. He isn’t the one who would kick the ball and show his emotions upfront like Tuchel does. At times the new boss took a back seat and allowed his assistant to take over.
We saw Anthony Barry coming out from the dugout and instructing his players. Potter is much calmer at the touchline which perhaps might be a good thing for Chelsea as they look to build something for the long term.
For more such articles do click here