Exclusive: Expert reveals how Chelsea have taken information from Arsenal to justify Graham Potter decision
Graham Potter remains safe in his job as Chelsea head coach, Ben Jacobs has told TEAMtalk, partially because of what their owners have heard from across London at Arsenal.
Potter has struggled to cope with the step up from Brighton to Chelsea since taking charge of the club in September. After replacing Thomas Tuchel, Potter has been unable to steer Chelsea up towards more familiar territory in the table.
Hence, there has been some pressure on him already, at least from the fanbase and media. Yet Chelsea have him under contract until 2027.
Nevertheless, Potter needs to oversee a turnaround in their fortunes sooner rather than later to prove he is the right man for the job.
But respected journalist Jacobs has already told TEAMtalk that Potter is safe as things stand. After all, Chelsea are implementing a focus on the long term.
Elaborating on why Potter still has the backing of the Chelsea board, Jacobs has addressed the faith the club have in him, which might contrast how some fans feel.
“Potter is safe for now,” Jacobs told TEAMtalk. “Yes, football is a results-driven business. But the ownership group is doing everything in their power to try and back him because they’re backing themselves in doing so, this is their vision. And they believe that in the long term, Potter and their faith in him is going to pay off regardless of what happens this season.
“But Potter doesn’t just have to win over or continue to get the backing of the ownership group. He also obviously has to keep the fanbase on side and that’s where the loss to Southampton didn’t help because the boos that rang out after that defeat to Southampton showed that the mood had changed, actually in the last two, Dortmund in the Champions League, the fanbase were quite in inverted commas ‘pleased’ because they saw an away performance that was hungry, energetic, and it was just a case of not taking a whole host of chances.
“But then Southampton, there were changes and it was flat. And the chorus of boos was quite damning.
“So it’s tricky now for Potter because he’s got Tottenham, away, Leeds at home in the Champions League build-up and then Dortmund, where Chelsea are trailing 1-0. So those three games are going to be very important.
“And Potter can alleviate a lot of pressure by getting by getting a big result away at Spurs. And perhaps most importantly, keeping Chelsea in the Champions League because if they come from behind and beat Dortmund and progress, the mood will change once again.
“So the fanbase are growing frustrated, understandably because Chelsea are midtable and trailing in the last-16 of the Champions League. But Potter for now is safe. And that’s because the ownership group see this as a long-term project and not a short-term one.”
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Chelsea owners well aware of potential Arsenal parallel
Interestingly, Chelsea are basing their judgement of Potter at present on what is happening elsewhere in the capital, with one of their rivals.
Mikel Arteta found himself under similar pressure earlier in his reign as Arsenal manager, but now has the club competing for the Premier League title.
And Jacobs has revealed that Chelsea are all too aware of that progress in north London. Therefore, they are hoping Potter may be able to oversee similar growth.
“And they look as well to Arsenal specifically,” Jacobs continued. “And they know that certain members of the club hierarchy have watched the All or Nothing documentary. So they’ve seen Arsenal, from what they’ve heard, from who they’ve spoken to, and even on TV. And they’re aware at times of how much pressure Mikel Arteta was under from the fanbase and within the club.
“But Arsenal persisted with Arteta. And now their project is moving in the right direction, they could well win the Premier League and the stability. And I think that just what Chelsea want to get to a scenario whether it’s tomorrow, six months, or another season, where they look back, and they say, we’re glad that we stuck to our principles. We’re glad that we stuck to our manager. We’re glad that we stuck to it, stuck to our strategy.
“And that’s where they’re looking at Arsenal as kind of proof in the pudding, that if you think your vision is right, and your manager is right, then there’s a bit more slack over short-term results, because you still think that you’ve got all of the right ingredients for success.
“And that’s the thing about Potter, that from the outside in, there’s a lot of clamour and noise but from the inside out, as in within Cobham, he remains respected. He has an open door policy, there’s no real drama or soap opera, even though that’s what’s built from the outside in.
“And I think that’s the most important thing that these owners are seeing and hearing from Potter every day, not just on a matchday. And they’re interacting with him on a football level, a strategic level and a personality level. So they’re more informed, which is why again, they want to be more patient around him.”
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