Graham Potter’s appointment as Chelsea’s manager means that change is inevitably coming to Stamford Bridge. Admittedly, this is almost always the case when a new manager takes charge at a club and it’s worth noting that as far as Chelsea goes, the changes won’t necessarily be wholesale. Indeed, the Blues’ outgoing boss Thomas Tuchel is a lot like Potter, in the sense that they’re both progressive managers who like to keep possession. Instead, we’re likely to see a change in personnel rather than the current footballing philosophy at Stamford Bridge.
Given that the tweaks will be relatively minor at first, you could even argue that Chelsea may have been better off backing their Champions League-winning manager to find his magic touch again. The reality, however, is that anyone who watched Tuchel’s side since the beginning of the season would have known something was fundamentally wrong. Today's football betting odds on the winner of the Premier League will prove as much with the Blues struggling to find form after just six games of the new season
Indeed, Chelsea found themselves in an early tailspin, and the club’s new owners didn’t have the nerve to wait around and see if Tuchel could arrest it. So, with Potter now the man tasked with returning the club to winning ways, who is in line to be dropped by the former Brighton boss?
At first, it’s likely that Potter will, as initially suggested, make gradual changes but the one swap that seems a certainty is Kepa Arrizabalaga for Edouard Mendy. The goalkeeping position is, at least, one of the first major changes that Potter made after taking over from Chris Hughton at the Amex Stadium in 2019.
On that occasion, it was Mathew Ryan who made way for a new goalkeeper, albeit only in Potter’s second season in charge after not meeting the required standards. Crucially, the difference in Ryan’s distribution over this time was noticeable with the Australian keeper kicking over 90 percent of his passes 40 yards or further under Hughton as opposed to just 46 percent when Potter took charge.
Tellingly, this dramatic change in approach from Ryan still wasn't enough for Potter to persist with him which shows you how much emphasis Chelsea’s new boss puts on having a keeper that will, effectively, double up as an extra man in the build-up.
Now, as far as Mendy goes, it’s been well documented that the Frenchman has struggled with his distribution and was even guilty of recording a few high-profile errors during the end of Tuchel’s reign. In particular, Mendy’s indecision against Leeds United set the tone for a humiliating afternoon at Elland Road after he failed to clear his lines and lost the ball to an onrushing Leeds attacker who tapped the ball into an empty net. Leeds would go on to win 3-0 and the end was all of a sudden nigh for Tuchel.
In reality, you can’t imagine that Potter would give this unpredictable run of form the chance to affect his start as manager at Stamford Bridge. In addition to that, the evidence is overwhelming that Mendy doesn’t have the necessary attributes to fit into a typical Graham Potter team. Ultimately, when a player is not up to what is asked of him under the Englishman, history tells us that they’re usually shown the door.