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Three things we learned from Graham Potter’s first game in charge of Chelsea as Blues held to draw

What Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Salzburg revealed about Potter’s new ideas


Graham Potter’s Chelsea reign began with a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in a game that they will be left ruing missed chances, and which leaves them with just a point after two games in Europe.

A high-octane first half was entertaining without being clinical, and the Blues failed to take any of the chances that fell their way. A mistake finally allowed Raheem Sterling to open the scoring with a fine curling finish, but searching for the second goal they were caught on the break, with a mistake from Thiago Silva allowing Noah Okafor to level the game, and another series of wasted chances meant that the spoils were shared.

Here are three things that stood out from Potter’s Chelsea debut.

1. Formation change is afoot

There was plenty of speculation as to how Chelsea would set up under Graham Potter, and this continued with the lineup announcement. While many speculated that it could be a change to a 4-3-3 system, with the defenders at his disposal a back three seemed far more likely. The only question was what came after that.

And to everyone’s surprise, it was Raheem Sterling who lined up on the left flank in front of the back three- a wingback on paper, but one that remained high and wide, giving him plenty of attacking impetus.

Beyond that, it was Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Kai Havertz that led the line, with Mason Mount, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic deployed as a midfield three.

Whether this remains a long-term solution remains to be seen, but Potter’s inventiveness was already on show at Stamford Bridge.

2. Runners everywhere

Potter may have only had a few days with his new side on the training ground, but his blueprint was clear, with Chelsea flying out of the blocks with boundless energy in the first half.

Perhaps taking cue from Brighton, who are known for their high-octane football, traditional positions were thrown out of the window as bodies were thrown forwards, which offered a stark contrast to the static system that Tuchel preferred.

Cucurella, Mount, Kovacic, Sterling and James all found themselves in the penalty areas at one time or another, and if it is a sign of things to come, Chelsea fans have every right to be excited despite the result.

3. What to do with Kai Havertz

It is safe to say that Kai Havertz is out of form in west London at the moment. The 23-year-old has just one goal to his name thus far this season, and was hooked after just 66 minutes after another poor display.

The German completed just 22 of his 31 passes (71%), and couldn’t manage a shot on target, while the Blues faithful were not shy in singling him out for criticism in an otherwise positive first half.

One of Potter’s biggest issues will be working out just where Havertz’s best position is, with the youngster having played as a striker, a no.10 and on the wing under Tuchel. Undeniably talented, he needs to be rejuventated at Stamford Bridge.

Read more:

Lionel Messi takes Champions League record off Cristiano Ronaldo with latest strike

‘He needs to change sports’ Chelsea fans slam one man in first half of Graham Potter’s reign


Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.



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