Graham Potter has finally banishes an unwanted records set by Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel

Chelsea news: Graham Potter must get his new club back to their early 2021 form before looking further ahead and the signs are already looking good for the former Brighton boss

Before Graham Potter took over at Chelsea the last time they had gone unbeaten in four matches was March. The last time they won three in a row was March. The last time they did that in successive league games was March. The last time they kept back-to-back clean sheets was February. The last time they did that at home was October 2021.

That demonstrates the struggles, the inconsistencies and the toil that Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea had been through in 2021. Crowned World Champions in December, top of the league in November but the season had fizzled out by April and watching matches had become a chore.

The circumstances behind that are plentiful. It’s too simple to say it was all because of the disruption of Romelu Lukaku’s interview or a re-emegence of Covid-19 impacting matches. The winter schedule was tough and didn’t treat the squad nicely.

Then the bombshell dropped. Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government, the club was put up for sale, the impacts of the pursuing events were unknown, a war had started in Ukraine and football was expected to go on without challenging these incidents.

To add to that, the league had all but gone by this point, Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup final on penalties to Liverpool and had very little to play for. The cliff got steeper, the players fatigued early and Chelsea panted across the line. March all but ended the season. Things have only just recovered.

By recovered, that doesn’t mean Graham Potter has solved everything. It’s too soon to say a page has been turned. The wheel is still intact, it hasn’t been reinvented. The baby is still in the bathwater. It’s Chelsea Football Club in 2022, same but different.

The players have always been good enough to win a few games and keep clean sheets. That wasn’t really in doubt. Potter was always a good enough coach to get them to play well together. This isn’t a massive surprise, it’s just refreshing. Chelsea aren’t the complete package but they’re better than they have been.

Chelsea have had so much going on that a low-key press conference is fine. Potter’s calmness is okay. Players not being berated from the touchline is cool. It’s not a lack of intensity or energy or desire, it’s just a way of taking the pot off boil for the first time in too long.

Potter’s start isn’t ground-breaking, it’s just what it needed to be. It’s very Graham Potter. Flexible, refreshing, balanced, calm. Everything that Chelsea haven’t been during 2021. Before March, which will surely go down as one of the strangest months in the club’s history, Chelsea were decent. Comfortably third, Champions League quarter finalists, Carabao Cup finalists, things were bubbling. Chelsea can still get to that same point this season, and it won’t be impacted by a sale or the same extreme external influences. The club had become scrambled and nobody knew which way was up, what day of the week it was, oh, we’re playing tomorrow, best play Gallagher in Jorginho’s role.

Albeit a winter World Cup adds a completely unknown factor, every club will feel the effects. How Potter overcomes that will be key because realistically they should have improved from where they were in March 2021. £250million worth of transfers should make that happen.

It won’t be a straight line to success, but moving some of the unwanted nine-month long runs and resetting them is a start. Before Chelsea can become world beaters they need to get back to a Janaury-March level first. That’s not unacheivable, if anything it’s the minimum fans will want, but at times of panic and uncertainty it’s the small steps that need to be made.

Things weren’t as drastic as they appeared, really. It was a mess but not unsolvable, Potter’s mini-clear out with the minds of Todd Boehly behind him are seeing things from a different perspective and that’s the guide that the club have to follow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *