Chelsea are again on the lookout for a new manager after Graham Potter’s brief tenure was cut short on Sunday.
While the news may have taken some by surprise, given that Chelsea insisted that Potter was hired for the long term when he was originally appointed, many will assume it’s written on the wall.
Premier League management is a cutthroat business and Chelsea’s actions are a case in point: Just 206 days prior, Potter reportedly cost them £21m in compensation.
Despite his excellent reputation, Potter failed to meet the demands at Stamford Bridge and left with a track record that did not serve him well.
Dive into new depths
Chelsea’s confirmation of Potter’s sacking was very respectful and made it clear how much they regret the decision, but even he wouldn’t claim that everything went well.
Potter’s record of 1.27 points per game in the Premier League is the worst among Chelsea bosses who have managed at least 20 league games.
1.27 – Graham Potter has the fewest points per game of any manager who has managed 20+ Premier League games for Chelsea:
1.27 – Graham Potter
1.27 – Glenn Hoddle
1.28 – Ian Porterfield
1.65 – Ruud Gullit
1.67 – Frank Lampard
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 2, 2023
Considering how high expectations have been for Chelsea for much of the last two decades, this has been a particularly killer comeback.
Potter is leaving and Chelsea are languishing in the bottom half of the table – 11th to be exact – and it takes something like a miracle to close the 12-point gap between them and fourth.
The last time they weren’t in the first half was after at least 28 games in 1995-96.
In addition, with 38 points in 28 games, Chelsea have their worst record at this stage of the season since 1994-95, when they had just 36 points.
The essence of the problem
To be sure, there were times when Potter’s Chelsea were praised for good football.
But never once did they know how to score goals, which is very important in football …
-7.4 – Chelsea lost their xG by 7.4 during Graham Potter’s reign in the Premier League, the worst result of any team since his first game (21 goals out of 28.4 xG).
-7.4 | Chelsea
-6.7 | West Ham
-6.1 | Everton
-5.8 | Southampton
-5.3 | Forest
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 2, 2023
Between 6 November and 28 February, Chelsea scored just six goals in 15 games in all competitions, the fewest of any team in England’s top four teams.
Although this period was followed by a run of three straight wins, a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday showed they were still suffering from the same problems.
They had 27 shots against Unai Emery’s team, the best goalless Premier League game since January 2014 against West Ham.
This feeds into a broader problem of extravagance: Chelsea were 7.4 behind their xG (expected goals) in the Premier League during Potter’s tenure, the worst margin of any 20 top division teams.
On top of that, Chelsea’s 29 goals is their worst so far in the league since 1978-79, when they also only scored 29 goals.
27 – Chelsea made 27 goalless shots against Aston Villa; their most attempts in a Premier League game without scoring since January 2014 against West Ham (39 shots, 0 goals). Blunt. pic.twitter.com/IrEiCPcdQt
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 1, 2023
But is success possible without due patience?
Chelsea’s transfer activity has been frankly ridiculous. Of the 32 players currently on their team who have made at least one league appearance this season, 13 are new this season, and that doesn’t include the likes of Armando Brocha and Conor Gallagher, who have returned from long-term loan spells.
His name may be Potter, but he can’t just wave a magic wand and guarantee cohesion – in fact, he may have always been hiding from nothing.