Graham Potter has been criticised for his management of Chelsea against Brighton after a humbling 4-1 defeat at the hands of his former club.
The Blues were 2-0 down after 15 minutes and went into half-time three behind after two own goals. It means that the new manager has just two points from his last three matches in the league after draws to Brentford and Manchester United.
Although Potter’s record after 10 games is still impressive and turning fortunes around in Europe is just as important early on, as the results go against Chelsea the microscope has been put on them and Potter’s management.
Speaking to talkSPORT after the match, Gabby Agbonlahor picked out Marc Cucurella for the most scrutiny. He said, “I’ve watched Cucurella since he’s been at Chelsea, there’s been maybe two games maximum where he’s looked okay.
“He got dragged after 36 minutes against Manchester United, he was the one that had to be sacrificed for the formation. Today, sacrificed in the 64th minute. £60m they paid for him and you’ve got Ben Chilwell sitting on the bench.”
Cucurella has struggled as a left-sided centre-back since joining the club and hasn’t adapted to the role as fans had hoped. His struggle against his former employers only demonstrated that further. He has been used there in consecutive matches no and in four of the last five but only made it out for the second half in three of those after tactical and personnel changes from Potter.
“This is what I’m saying about the problem with Graham Potter,” Agbonlahor continued. “When it works everyone is like ‘amazing, great rotation’ but today, why is Aubameyang not starting, why is Chilwell not starting? These players can play two games in a week.
“There’s three weeks left before the World Cup. These players can play more than Graham Potter wants to play them. Too much rotation and Cucurella looks like a bad £60m spent by Chelsea.”
Although it is far too soon to truly judge Cucurella at Chelsea – he hasn’t been helped by a lack of cover at wingback or midfield – his early form is a worry following such a big-money move. Potter must now respond quickly with decisive top-four matches against Arsenal and Newcastle on the horizon.