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Chelsea’s manager, Graham Potter drops triple Chelsea selection hint for Fulham clash in heavy Manchester City loss



Chelsea Latest: Graham Potter ‘serious’ about landing world-class star for Chelsea with £58m ace offered in exchange

After Chelsea were beaten 4-0 at Manchester City on Sunday evening, takes a look ahead to their trip to Fulham on Thursday and what sort of team Graham Potter could choose

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter
Graham Potter may have already hinted at three selections for Chelsea’s trip to Fulham later this week

It could have been anyone’s guess what team Graham Potter fielded at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday evening. It was an FA Cup third round tie, usually synonymous with numerous changes to the team – especially when it’s back-to-back games against this fantastic Manchester City side.

Some thought Potter may have been more cautious and gone for a back-three formation to try and combat City’s talented attacking players, but the Chelsea head coach opted with the 4-3-3 formation he’s used ever since returning from the World Cup break. A midfield trio of Jorginho, Conor Gallagher and Mateo Kovacic was used from the start in Manchester but they were helpless against the likes of Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden, who dominated them throughout the match.

Jorginho was sloppy in possession and was unable to play against the fierce press of the hosts, and it was a similar story for the other two. Changes were made at half-time, they needed to be, but by then the reality was, with Chelsea trailing 3-0, the damage was already done for the visitors.

Denis Zakaria and David Datro Fofana, who was making his debut for his new club, came on for Kovacic and Kai Havertz. Potter moved to a back-three with Gallagher being shifted out to the right flank as a wing-back and youngster Lewis Hall on the opposite flank.

Zakaria came on and was one of Chelsea’s better performers, despite only playing 45 minutes. It was a genuine surprise to many that he didn’t start at the Etihad Stadium, with Chelsea absolutely poor against the hosts.

Likewise, Carney Chukwuemeka, who was so brilliant against City just a few days before. The 19-year-old did come on for a brief period in the second-half but his performance at Stamford Bridge last week surely should have earned him a start at the weekend.

Having Zakaria and Chukwuemeka both on the bench at the start of the game shocked a few, but there may have been a reason for that. Is Potter prioritising the Premier League? Chelsea are mid-table in the standings at the time of writing and the top four looks more like a dream right now than something achievable, but the head coach may still have his attention on turning their league fortunes around.

A re-arranged trip to Fulham on Thursday awaits and Potter’s team selection in Manchester may have already hinted at what’s to come at Craven Cottage. The fact Zakaria and Chukwuemeka did not start against City surely means they’re both in line for a place in the side against the Cottagers.

Likewise, Thiago Silva, who was handed a much-needed rest against City at the weekend. The 38-year-old’s importance to the team cannot be understated and that was clear to see to everyone as Chelsea were thumped 4-0 by the champions on Sunday.

All three of the above must start at Fulham. Zakaria should genuinely be one of the first names on Potter’s team sheet right now. His performances since returning from Qatar have been nothing short of outstanding.

The Swiss international has added a required steel and physical presence to the Chelsea midfield. He continues to shock people with how capable he is while in possession, as well, with a couple of moments of ice-cold skill in the middle of the pitch.

Chukwuemeka is a raw, but extremely talented midfielder, who is desperate to impress. When you look at some of the senior players at the moment and their attitude, a teenage sensation determined to succeed should 100% be handed a chance.

It’s similar to Hall, who has been largely brilliant whenever called upon. Sunday’s trip to City was probably his worst game in a Chelsea shirt so far, but he was nowhere near the visitors’ weak link in the defeat, which says it all about how well the 18-year-old has done in the first-team.

It’s a big couple of days now for Potter and Chelsea to prepare at Cobham before returning to action on Thursday. Potter seemed downbeat after the heavy defeat to Man City, completely understandably, but he now needs to try and lift the players as games keep coming thick and fast for the Blues.

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