Chelsea’s decline from world champions has been concerning, as the Blues enter January with holes in their squad despite heavy investment last summer.

Potter believes it would be unfair if Chelsea took more than one point from the Forest game.

Their reign will last for another six weeks. Chelsea have until February 11 to declare themselves world champions, but it is probably best if they do not. It would highlight the gap between past and present, between supposed status and sad reality, when the table suggests they are not even the top team in west London, falling below Fulham on goal difference. If 2022 began with a crowning glory preceding the dramatic collapse of Roman Abramovich’s empire, 2023 began with more proof that Todd Boehly’s is a fraud.

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It wasn’t so much the fact that Chelsea drew with Nottingham Forest as it was the manner and context in which it happened. “It was below par for us,” Graham Potter admitted, but par for Thomas Tuchel’s team used to be startlingly high, and it now feels significantly lower. “It’s not a performance we’re proud of,” Potter added. There have been none that should truly satisfy him since beating AC Milan in San Siro.

Chelsea only had one off-target attempt in the second half against the team with the league’s second worst defensive record, and only seven from 72 percent of possession overall.

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A seven-game winning streak has resulted in just one victory, and with two of Chelsea’s remaining three league opponents this season being Manchester City and Liverpool, their position could deteriorate further. Meanwhile, January, like the summer before it, promises wild bidding and excessive spending.

Chelsea’s overall spending under the new regime will soon exceed £300 million, but after winning the Champions League in 2021, they are unlikely to compete in it again in the autumn of 2023. Rarely has a club spent so much money to regress. It’s only partly because they continue to overpay. As the first of Potter’s signings, £12 million striker David Datro Fofana, was in the stands at the City Ground and had yet to make his debut following his move from Molde, the manager is far from the only one to blame.

In its own right, it is astonishing that, as Benoit Badiashile prepares to become the club’s second January signing, their spending on centre-backs, or, in Marc Cucurella’s case, those who are occasionally deployed as such, is set to reach £200 million in six months. Thiago Silva, a 38-year-old defender signed on a free transfer, remains their best central defender. They still lack Antonio Rudiger, and Badiashile may have to compete with Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly, two other recent additions, for a spot on the left side of a three-man defense. Meanwhile, Serge Aurier’s equalizer served as a reminder that they continue to concede too many goals from set pieces, while also appearing to be vulnerable to pace.

Chelsea’s interest in Alexis MacAllister and Enzo Fernandez, both of whom have release clauses of £105 million, is evidence of the club’s expensive evolution: from Club World Cup winners to the world’s biggest spenders. Premature decisions can be made, but given their ownership’s apparent willingness to turn to the flavor of the month, they must be. So far, none of their summer signings have been a success: Wesley Fofana is constantly injured, Cucurella is frequently substituted, has been a major let-down, and was far better for Potter at Brighton, and Koulibaly has a long contract but has shown signs of decline amid erratic play. Raheem Sterling scored his first league goal since August against Nottingham Forest. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is an outcast.

Jule Kounde chose not to join Chelsea after hearing this from Thomas Tuchel

There are mitigating factors in every case. Each is hindered by what appears to be a lack of strategy. Potter is unaware of his strongest side or best formation, and his flatness makes it difficult to discern a distinct style of play. It is also difficult to identify potential and appropriate combinations. Chelsea’s attackers appear to be underachievers and incompatible, as they rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of goals, expected goals, and shots. Potter has gotten the better of none of them thus far, which is an indictment of his abilities. Chelsea has scored 12 goals in his ten league games.

Rising reputations are among the injured elsewhere on the field. N’Golo Kante, Reece James, and Ben Chilwell may appear to become more important with each game they miss. Chelsea is struggling to compensate for the loss of their current players as they pour more money into the transfer market. A squad of ever-increasing parts is less than the sum of its parts.

Chelsea’s large outlay and the length of the contracts they give signings are meant to set them up for the future, and Potter can be long-termist. However, it is a short-termist club with a new regime that has made rash decisions that have jeopardized their immediate prospects and possibly Potter’s.

Despite being one of the reigning world champions in club football, Chelsea has yet to defeat any of the current top-half sides this season. And if that is an issue for them heading into two meetings with Manchester City, Potter has a problem in that Tuchel was the ultimate big-game manager for much of 2021.

By michel

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