EPL

Chelsea sack Potter: Magic in short supply as Opta numbers paint glum picture of ill-fated reign

By Sports Desk April 02, 2023

Chelsea are once again on the hunt for a new head coach after Graham Potter's brief tenure was brought to an abrupt end on Sunday.

While the news might have caught some by surprise given Chelsea's insistence about Potter being a long-term hire when initially appointed, many will feel the writing was on the wall.

Premier League management is a cut-throat business and Chelsea's actions are the case in point, with Potter reportedly costing them £21million in compensation just 206 days earlier.

Despite his excellent reputation, Potter was unable to meet the demands at Stamford Bridge and leaves with a record that does him few favours.

Plumbing new depths

Chelsea's confirmation of Potter's dismissal was very respectful and made clear how remorseful they were about such a decision, but not even he would claim things have gone well.

Potter's record of 1.27 points per game in the Premier League is the joint-worst among Chelsea bosses to take charge of at least 20 matches in the division.

Considering how high expectations have become at Chelsea over the best part of the past two decades, that was a particularly damning return.

Potter leaves with Chelsea languishing in the bottom half of the table – 11th to be exact – and requiring something of a miracle to close the 12-point gap between them and fourth.

The last time they were not in the top half after at least 28 games was in 1995-96.

Additionally, with a haul of 38 points from 28 games, Chelsea have their worst total at this stage of a season since 1994-95 when they had only 36.

Core of the issue

There have certainly been occasions when Potter's Chelsea have been praised for playing good football.

But at no point have they been good at scoring goals, which is quite important in football...

Between November 6 and February 28, Chelsea scored just six goals in 15 games across all competitions, which was the fewest of any team from England's top four tiers.

While that spell was followed by a run of three successive wins, Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa showed they were still suffering from the same issues.

They had 27 shots against Unai Emery's side, their most in a Premier League game without scoring since January 2014 against West Ham.

That feeds into a wider issue of wastefulness, with Chelsea underperforming their xG (expected goals) by 7.4 in the Premier League during Potter's reign, which is the worst differential of all 20 top-flight teams.

On top of that, Chelsea's 29 goals is their worst return at this stage of a league campaign since 1978-79, when they also only managed 29.

But was success without proper patience ever possible?

Chelsea's transfer activity was frankly ridiculous. Of the 32 players currently in their squad who have made at least one league appearance this term, 13 are new signings this season – and that does not include the likes of Armando Broja and Conor Gallagher, who returned from long-term loan spells.

His name may be Potter, but he cannot just wave a magic wand and guarantee cohesion – in reality, he was arguably always on a hiding to nothing.

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