Graham Potter Makes Key Chelsea Switch With Pep Guardiola Man City Tactic To Reveal New Plan

Graham Potter Makes Key Chelsea Switch With Pep Guardiola Man City Tactic To Reveal New Plan

Things have rarely been this comfortable at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea in 2022.

You were expecting something to change, a manic VAR call or a baffling individual error to enable a seemingly clueless opponent back into a contest that should have been dead.

That is exactly what happened back in May when Wolves were 2-0 down in the second half, this time though there would be no reprieve.

The ease of the contest was probably summed up in five second-half minutes as Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic danced around Wolves challenges to orchestrate a sumptuous second.

Graham Potter could not have asked for a bigger mood lift around his new club.

A squad that has needed recalibrating and rehabilitating after a pretty turbulent year have looked inspired and expressive in their play.

The easiest way to put it is that Chelsea look to be taking more risks, or at the very least, are widening their margin for error by creating a higher volume of better quality chances.

Just an overview of Potter’s first four games shows an uptick when looking at Expected Goals which calculates the quality of chances a team creates.

Using Wyscout’s expected goals model, in the last five games under Tuchel Chelsea averaged 1.14. In the opening five under Potter, the average has jumped to 2.1.

Chelsea are also steadily taking more shots, all over 10 per game under Potter so far when they dropped to as low as six against West Ham and Leicester in August.

In the first 45 minutes on Saturday, Chelsea took 13, 11 of which came inside the box. The theme of cutbacks is one that has been popularised by Pep Guardiola in the Premier League.

Even before the monstrous impact of Erling Haaland, a regular source of Manchester City’s goals has come from their consistent ability to manufacture overloads out wide, before a cutback into the six-yard box.

City’s potent attack is obviously elevated by an elite coach and game-changing players, but they also do it by regularly creating repetitive high-quality opportunities inside the opposition box.

This sounds like Michael Owen’s punditry but it is something that Chelsea have so regularly failed to do in order to overwhelm inferior opposition.

Already Chelsea look more of a threat around the opposing box because they are committing bodies forward.

Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic all regularly occupied that space on Saturday, meaning that the chances for a lone attacker to be easily crowded out by a Wolves back-five became a harder task.

Potter maybe also gauged that Wolves also liked to try and build attacks from deeper, sacrificing a bit of possession in order to press their backline, forcing them into consistent mistakes high up the pitch.

The club captain had more touches in the opposition box than the entire Wolves side combined during the first half.

It also was an early demonstration of Potter’s ability to rotate the team quite wildly and still maintain a level of performance seen days earlier against AC Milan.

“We can’t succeed with just eleven players,” Potter stressed after.

“I don’t think it’s right to just keep eleven going until they fall down, get injured and then we play the next ones. That is not good for the group dynamic. At the same time, I am conscious that if we lose today, you’d have come with me asking why I didn’t play Aubameyang, that is how it is.”

“But as long as the reason is there, as long as I know in my head why we’ve made the decision, someone has to take it. Today it’s worked out well, and credit to the players because the group is really together and pushing for each other. It’s important everybody knows we can’t do it with just eleven.”

Sterner tests are coming, given Wolves’ complete lack of end product so far this term and their instability following the sacking of Lage, this was not a result that will define this season.

Given Chelsea’s previous flaws at home against inferior opposition, it would flippant to completely dismiss the improvements seen so far under a new coach.

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