- Chelsea have been rather unfortunate with injuries this season with close to 10 players currently missing from action
- Graham Potter has struggled to keep the club afloat with the injury to Reece James particularly stinging
- Mason Mount's slump in form means he would be dropped to the bench if everyone was fit
Graham Potter's maiden season at Chelsea has been full of lows with the Blues currently in 10th place.
The Head Coach made a positive start to life in West London after replacing Thomas Tuchel in early September but fell off the pace after the first 9 games.
Potter might still be green in dealing with a top-six side but in all fairness, injuries haven't done him huge favours either. Chelsea has a full starting XI out with injuries. Sports Brief takes a look at a hypothetical situation of how Potter's side would look like if he had all his stars available.
1. Goalkeeper - Kepa Arrizabalaga
Edouard Mendy might be out with a finger injury but he had already lost his place to Arrizabalaga before the World Cup break. Potter prefers a goalkeeper who can comfortably play out from the back and that's not one of the FIFA Best Goalkeeper of 2021 strongest fortes.
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2. Defence - Reece James, Thiago Silva, Benoit Badiashile, Ben Chilwell
Chelsea's loss of form this season and the one before has coincided with their main fullbacks getting lengthy injuries. James was arguably Europe's best right-back before his knee injury against AC Milan last year.
Potter has fumbled between Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek with no success. Marc Cucurella has also failed to impress so far, and Chilwell easily displaces him.
In the middle of the defence, Silva remains one of the best centre-backs in the league despite his age. Badiashile's first games have been decent and he, therefore, locks out Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Chalobah out of the team.
Should Potter revert to a back three, Fofana would most likely get the nod ahead of Koulibaly or Cucurella could be used as a left centre-back.
3. Midfield- N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic
Kante is yet to play under Potter this season but there is no telling that a fit Kante is the best box-to-box midfielder in the league. Kovacic meanwhile has been one of the better players under Potter with his ball progression.
4. Attack- Kai Havertz, Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk, Hakim Ziyech
Chelsea's recent splurge in the transfer market has left Potter spoilt with options up front. The biggest omission from this squad is Mason Mount who has been criticized in recent weeks.
Ziyech starred for Morocco in Qatar and has looked lethal in the last few games coming in from the right. He benches Raheem Sterling who is yet to get going in London.
New signings Felix and Mudryk slot directly into the starting XI after impressive debuts. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn't convinced Potter yet and thus Havertz maintains his position as the false number 9.
In a back-three set-up, one attacker will have to pave way for an extra defender to allow Chilwell and James to push forward. Ziyech could be the player to cede his place.
The starting XI looks strong on paper with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Aubameyang, Dennis Zakaria, Jorginho and Sterling options from the bench.
Chelsea's next game is in two weeks which could give a couple of the injured players time to get back to speed and try to salvage what remains of Potter's first season.
How UEFA plans to stop Chelsea's heavy spending
Chelsea has been on the spot in recent times for splashing large wads of cash on several players which could potentially flout the FFP rules.
No club has spent more money on signings than Chelsea since Todd Boehly took over the club last summer. The latest acquisition was Noni Madueke from PSV who they got for an excess of 35 million euros.
Source: Sports Brief News