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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Nizaar Kinsella

Chelsea look for positives as Graham Potter prepares for nightmare run-in

Chelsea continue to endure the pain of their great transition under Todd Boehly and Clearlake as they work hard for a positive end to the season.

A disappointing 2-2 draw with Everton in the final game before the international break leaves Graham Potter's side in 10th having won just four of the last 15 games in 2023.

Top four looks virtually impossible, and even Europa League out of touch, while Real Madrid lie in wait in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Standard Sport assesses the state of the club ahead of the final 11 games of the campaign.

Prospects for the rest of season in one word


Verdict so far compared to pre-season expectations

Few could have imagined during that pre-season tour of the United States what was to come for Chelsea in the months ahead.

A change of ownership, huge transfer spending and then a shock change of manager followed. Expectations have duly been inflated by almost £600million in new signings coming through the door but all the turmoil behind the scenes has nullified any positive impact of the new signings.

How is the manager doing

Underperforming. Potter admitted his position was in “peril” a few weeks ago despite continued backing from the board. The feeling among the fans was turning sour before the manager eased pressure on himself and his squad with three consecutive wins. He will likely see out the season but, externally at least, his position will remain a hot topic in the summer.

Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix are impressing. (REUTERS)

Reason to be cheerful

British record transfer Enzo Fernandez and loanee Joao Felix are beginning to make an impact, N’Golo Kante is back from injury and wing-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James are returning to full fitness and impressing. The key players are all ready to lift a squad who a Champions League in similar circumstances in 2021.

Reason to be fearful

Chelsea face seven of the nine teams above them in their final 11 league matches. Meanwhile, the run to the Champions League final sees them needing to beat reigning European champions Real Madrid and then the victor between Bayern Munich or Manchester City. A season run-in could scarcely be harder.

Fans’ mood

The fan feeling remains divided. Some have taken the bad results in their stride and are willing to wait for results to come under Potter, this young group of players and ambitious new ownership. Others are angry about the results and pine for the old scattergun approach under the previous owner Roman Abramovich.

Overall grade


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