Mikel Arteta’s Success Shows Why Chelsea Must Stand With Graham Potter

Arsenal fans were far from convinced of Mikel Arteta at first. In fact, the Gunners could only muster eighth Premier place
League ends in each of the first two seasons with the Spanish in charge. Even last season, when Arsenal finished in fifth place, they were widely considered to have finished bottles in the Champions League.

This season, of course, was completely different. Everything Arteta was building for has come together as Arsenal top the Premier League table after 23 games. A team that plays a quick and exciting brand of soccer has once again fired up the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal is a good place to be again.

The same cannot be said of Chelsea at the moment. The Blues are 13 points off the pace set by Arsenal at the top of the Premier League and are falling firmly in mid-table. This comes after the Stamford Bridge club spent close to $600m on new signings in the last two transfer windows.

Graham Potter is under a lot of pressure. Chelsea are without a win in their last five games in all competitions and defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Southampton have reinforced the sense of malaise around the club. Even going further back, Chelsea have won just two of their last 14 games in all competitions. Their slump is long.

“We’ve had a tough time and a lot of challenges integrating young players into the Premier League,” Potter said after the win against Southampton. “When you don’t get results, it can be tough. That’s how it is. Some people will think that I am the problem. I don’t think they’re right but that doesn’t mean they can’t have their say.”

Chelsea continue to reaffirm their faith in Potter and should see Arteta’s success this season as reason to stick with the 47-year-old. Arsenal faced a crossroads where it would have been easy, and commonplace, to get rid of their manager, but they are fully committed to the Arteta project and are now reaping the rewards.

No wonder Potter is struggling to find the right formula. Chelsea have essentially signed a new set of players in the last nine months so it will take time for any manager to assess what qualities are within the Stamford Bridge dressing room now. There is no guarantee that Potter’s replacement would fare any better.

Todd Boehly and the recruitment team at Chelsea are to blame for the team’s current problems, not Potter. They are the ones who have thrown too many new signs at the wall in the hope that one or two people will obey. Those are the ones that Potter hired with a vision in mind and quickly departed from that vision. But they are also the ones now obliged to stand by the manager they can still succeed at Stamford Bridge.


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