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Absolute Chelsea

How Graham Potter can utilise international break before first Chelsea Premier League clash

Nick Emms

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How Graham Potter can utilise international break before first Chelsea Premier League clash

Graham Potter has plenty of time to work with some of his players during the international break ahead of his first Premier League match with Chelsea.

Since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, it will have been 22 days until his first Premier League clash against Crystal Palace on October 1.

This is a longer period of time than what Thomas Tuchel had for pre-season with his squad, although Potter's preparations have been interrupted by the September international break.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II saw Chelsea's matches against Fulham and Liverpool postponed.

Therefore Potter stepped foot in the dugout for the first time against FC Salzburg in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Potter was appointed Chelsea head coach earlier this month (Image: Alamy)
Potter was appointed Chelsea head coach earlier this month (Image: Alamy)

There were plenty of positives to take, with Chelsea dominating the match, but further frustrations with the result as the Blues struggled in front of goal once again.

Luckily for Potter, he has been handed an extended period of time to work with his team and get them sharp ahead of their return to Premier League action.

The clash against Crystal Palace is a nice one for the former Brighton boss, facing his old rivals at Selhurst Park as he looks to get off to a winning start in the league.

Potter will look to bring the momentum from his time at Brighton, with the Englishman leading the Seagulls to a strong start to the season.

This task has been made slightly easier by the time granted to Potter on the training ground ahead of the Crystal Palace clash.

Lining up against FC Salzburg with Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella in a back three, it is clear that the new head coach opted for experience.

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The problem with this is that there was over £100 million of defenders brought in this summer left on the bench.

Having been granted time with his team, Potter will have been able to assess the new boys Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly and identified where they can best fit into his side.

The pair are off on international duty at the moment, however, which leaves Trevoh Chalobah at Cobham to impress the new coach.

The youngster was heavily linked with a departure in the summer due to lack of game time but now must look to make his mark under Potter, who has previously transformed the games of Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk, Dan Burn and Ben White.

The latter became a £50 million player under Potter on the right of a back three, the position that Chalobah occupies for Chelsea.

With Chalobah not receiving an international call-up, Potter will have the opportunity to work closely with him alongside other players such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Trevoh Chalobah before the Champions League loss to Dinamo Zagreb. (Alamy)
Trevoh Chalobah before the Champions League loss to Dinamo Zagreb. (Alamy)

The midfielder was converted into a wing-back under Tuchel and this could favour Potter also, who previously opted for an unconventional wing-back on the right.

While Reece James will be difficult to displace in the Chelsea squad, Loftus-Cheek must use the time that the England international is away to prove his worth, both as a wing-back and midfielder, with Potter handed the time to work closely with Loftus-Cheek and work out his role in his side.

Furthermore, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was clearly brought in due to Tuchel's insistence on working with the player again after their time at Borussia Dortmund.

He will no doubt have been disheartened by the departure of the German, but with no international football for Gabon during this break, the striker can work on getting match fit.

He recently provided an update, stating: "I need more time. I’m not 100 per cent fit. It’s not easy to play with a mask and with an injury, but hopefully I will get 100 per cent as soon as possible."


Now, he has the time to work on his fitness as well as being granted the opportunity for Potter to work on sharpening his game.

Without a doubt, Aubameyang is one of the most clinical finishers in the league and this is something that Potter lacked at Brighton.

There is time for him to work with the Gabon international to make sure that he is fit and firing for when Chelsea return to Premier League action, and he will be looking to resume his new Chelsea career with goals when they face Crystal Palace in October.

With the time to work with players not on international duty, Potter must get it right this international break to ensure that he has the best possible start in the league, with Chelsea chasing a top four finish this season.

Featured Image Credit: Chelsea FC

Topics: Chelsea, Graham Potter, Football, Premier League

Nick Emms
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