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Graham Potter offered ‘perfect’ Chelsea starting XI vs Tottenham with Havertz recall and £97m snub

Graham Potter offered ‘perfect’ Chelsea starting XI vs Tottenham with Havertz recall and £97m snub

Paul Merson, a commentator for Sky Sports, has shared his opinions on the current state of affairs at Chelsea and the prospects for Graham Potter ahead of their upcoming Premier League match against Tottenham.

 Chelsea experienced an unexpected defeat against Southampton in their previous game, during which Potter chose to make six alterations to the team that had drawn with West Ham. Notably, both Reece James and Thiago Silva were absent from the starting lineup, while David Datro Fofana received his first start. 

Meanwhile, Ben Chilwell and Mateo Kovacic returned to the starting lineup following their injuries. Despite having a strong team, Chelsea were unable to beat Southampton, who were at the bottom of the league and without a manager. James Ward-Prowse’s free kick secured a much-needed win for the Saints and increased the pressure on Potter.

After the match, Potter faced substantial backlash for omitting important players from the starting lineup. However, it was later disclosed that he had received counsel from the medical staff, who had warned him that Reece James, Thiago Silva, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Kai Havertz were at risk of injury if they played.

 As a result, Potter opted to name Havertz and Mudryk as substitutes and exclude Silva and James entirely. This decision won the approval of Paul Merson.

“What I love about Potter is that he has looked after the club and the players before himself,” he wrote in his SportsKeeda predictions column. “He is under major pressure. He could have played Reece James and Thiago Silva last weekend because he has a job to keep. But what did he do? He didn’t want to risk injuries for those players and chose to leave them out.

“He has looked after them. He could have chosen not to protect those players but he opted to look at the bigger picture.”

Chelsea’s next game is a highly anticipated London derby against their arch-rivals Tottenham. In their previous meeting at Stamford Bridge, the game ended in a chaotic brawl, with Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte at the centre of the dispute. 

This upcoming match holds particular significance for both teams, given their ambitions for the season. Tottenham recently climbed back into the top four for the first time since New Year’s Day, following a win against West Ham. However, for Chelsea, this game may hold even greater importance as it represents a crucial moment in Graham Potter’s tenure as manager.

“This is one of Chelsea’s biggest games of the season,” Merson said. “These are two teams that do not like each other. If Chelsea go and get beaten here, it adds more pressure on Potter. I want him to stay.

“If Chelsea play the team that squared off against Southampton last weekend, they won’t win the game against Spurs. If Potter goes back to his tried and tested system, the Blues will beat Spurs all day long.”

The Chelsea starting XI for the upcoming match against Tottenham Hotspur is a significant decision, and Paul Merson has shared his opinion on who should be included in the team. Surprisingly, his recommendation involves leaving out two of Chelsea’s January signings.

He said: “This is the starting XI I hope Potter goes with: Kepa, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Benoit Badiashile, Thiago Silva, Enzo Fernandez, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Raheem Sterling, Kai Havertz and Joao Felix

“If this team plays, they will beat Tottenham 3-0. If he plays Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke, they won’t beat Spurs.”

Graham Potter offered ‘perfect’ Chelsea starting XI vs Tottenham with Havertz recall and £97m snub

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