Graham Potter must be feeling like Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Just when you think he is absolutely full of new signings, Todd ‘Willy Wonka’ Boehly shoves another chocolate covered Enzo Fernandez in his direction. Potter, already overwhelmed by the amount he has consumed this January, somehow finds space to indulge once more.
Having been showered with riches to the tune of £600m since Todd Boehly took ownership of the club, Chelsea now need Potter to pull out the golden ticket. He has been promised time but the American will want to see a return on that investment, and his goodwill can only last so long.
Potter has already been forced into making big decisions. This morning (Thursday) he had to submit the three players he wants to add to his Champions League squad, even though eight new faces joined in January. That means defender Benoit Badiashile is likely to miss out despite recent good performances as the big names of Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez are added. But what does Chelsea’s best XI now look like under Potter if everyone was fully fit? The squad depth is simply ridiculous, so we’ve had to leave some big names on the sidelines.
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Formation - 3-4-2-1
Let’s start with the system. Potter has tended to flick between and back four and a back five so far, with the back five keeping Liverpool out at Anfield. Now, with the attacking Reece James and Ben Chilwell returning from injury, a system with wing-backs is seemingly more suited to these players.
GK - Kepa Arrizabalaga
Edouard Mendy is an exceptional goalkeeper but Potter clearly has his number one in Kepa. The Spaniard remains the most expensive goalkeeper in history and has impressed since coming back into the team this season even if the results haven’t gone Chelsea’s way.
RWB - Reece James
One of the finest right backs in world football has been sorely missed since he picked up a knee injury against Milan in October. Chelsea and Potter just haven’t been able to recreate his attacking qualities from that position and his imminent return will lift the Blues massively. Get him as far up the pitch as possible.
CB - Wesley Fofana
He was another big money signing for Chelsea in the summer but injury has stopped him from establishing himself in the team. Expected to return in February he will provide another boost for Potter’s defence even though Kalidou Koulibaly provides stiff competition.
CB - Thiago Silva
Despite all the new signings, Thiago Silva is still the best centre-back Chelsea have got and one of their savviest additions in recent years. The best thing? He didn’t cost a penny. 38-years-old and Chelsea would be wise to renew his contract for another season.
“Chelsea need me with the rebuilding of the club — and here I'm”.
CB - Benoit Badiashile
What a signing Badiashile has been already. The 21-year-old joined from Monaco in January and has looked right at home as a composed figure in the back line. He’s kept two clean sheets from two so far, against Crystal Palace and Liverpool, and could be the key in the back three.
LWB - Ben Chilwell
Chelsea have been unlucky with injuries this term. Three of their ‘first choice’ back five have been out for the last few months but all three are now close to a return to action. The signing of Marc Cucurella hasn’t quite worked out and, although Lewis Hall has coped, the return of Chilwell should help them improve going forward.
CDM - N’Golo Kante
Chelsea need to form a solid double pivot in the middle and Kante can be key to doing so. His energy and relentless running should provide a shield for the back line and allow the wing-backs to fly forward, all while complimenting the man next to him perfectly.
CDM - Enzo Fernandez
Fernandez is the mega money signing and will slot straight into the starting XI. His desire to win the ball back and range of passing should see him compliment Kante perfectly, and Chelsea will have the perfect base to play from. We’re excited to see what the £106m man can do in the Premier League.
RF - Joao Felix
We’ve put him down as a right forward but the front three should be given licence to roam and Felix in particular can play in the free role. He is such a dangerous player and even though his Chelsea career started disastrously with that red card against Fulham, he will be a key player for the Blues.
LF - Mykhailo Mudryk
With just one substitute appearance to his name so far, Mudryk is still working his way into life at Chelsea, but we saw enough in that brief appearance at Anfield to suggest he will be an important player for Potter. In this left-forward position, he has the freedom to cut in, get shots away or link up with Felix. It’s a mouth-watering prospect.
ST - Kai Havertz
Havertz may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but he could be the perfect forward to allow the stars behind him a chance to flourish. He’s still just 23, has scored the winning goal in a Champions League final and has five league goals to his name this season. With better players around him he could start to fire them in, although his role is more likely to be an unselfish one to provide for Felix and Mudryk.
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