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Graham Potter sacked, Champions League winners: Pundits predict Chelsea end of season outcome

Graham Potter sacked, Champions League winners: Pundits predict Chelsea end of season outcome

Despite finishing third in the league and reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, along with the acquisition of ambitious new owners, Chelsea’s performance in the 2022/23 season was unexpected. 

However, their season took a turn for the worse in September when Thomas Tuchel was replaced by Graham Potter. Although Potter had a promising start with nine unbeaten games, the season has since been derailed. 

A series of injuries, a high turnover of players and staff, and a run of poor form with only one win in 11 games, and three in 15, have severely damaged their chances of making it into the top four. With ten league games remaining, their only hope for the season lies in a last-ditch effort.

Chelsea has made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League once again and will be facing Real Madrid for the third consecutive year. 

Their performance in this tournament will be crucial in determining how this season will be remembered.

 With a two-week break to regroup and prepare for this tie and the remaining matches, experts have offered their predictions on how Chelsea will end their campaign.

Graham Potter sacked

Jamie Carragher doesn’t see a way that Potter starts next season in charge. “The fans aren’t going to change after one game but I think this gives him time to get them on board,” he told CBS Sports after the 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund.

“He’s going to be there until the end of the season now. There were questions a few days ago as journalists were getting fed information from the club that he could be on a knife-edge. He’s won both games and that will be massive for him. Once you get to the Champions League quarter-finals, you’re almost at the end of the season so they’re not going to change it.

“They’re not going to make the top four in terms of league position but [the Champions League] could be the way they make it. They have got great pedigree when you think of the history they’ve got in European competition. That cements [Potter] until the end of the season, but whether he’s there next season or not? I still don’t think he will be.”

Stan Collymore is in the same boat: “I understand that he’s trying to find his preferred lineup, but he’s running out of time,” the former midfielder said. “Todd Boehly’s patience is being tested and although all the heat is on the manager at the moment, if the fanbase starts to question the owner, then it’s only a matter of time before Potter is sacked.

“I’m a huge Potter fan, I really like him. I think he’s a good manager and a good guy away from the touchline, but as we all know, management is a results business and he’s under so much pressure that he’s now in a position where he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

“He’s got to make a final decision on which 11 players he believes are best for his system and formation and stick with them. I am struggling to see where Chelsea and Potter go from here though – so much is against the manager – the fanbase appears to have made their mind up, as has the media. It’s very toxic at the moment so unless he can turn it around immediately, it isn’t looking good.”

Champions League winners

There are some Chelsea fans who have shown a sense of skepticism towards the optimistic outlook on their team’s chances in Europe, and have instead expressed a belief in the possibility of another miraculous win in the tournament. This sentiment is attributed to the fact that Chelsea’s previous two Champions League wins came after their managers were sacked mid-season, highlighting the unpredictable nature of the club’s history in the competition.

Ex-Blues midfielder Jason Cundy is one of the optimists, saying, ““The two times that Chelsea won the Champions League, we have been in turmoil, sacked our manager halfway through both seasons.” He told talkSPORT: “It’s happening again. Chelsea will win the Champions League.

“Would you be shocked if we did? We have no idea what’s going on at Chelsea, but I would not change it!” In response, Cole replied: “I see why Jason’s gone there. The last two times Chelsea have won it, they’ve had poor league campaigns by their standards.

“We can all hope that can happen this year, but it’s slightly different because there’s such an overhaul around the club. Backroom staff, ownership, management, players, ethos… everything has changed.

“The goal for Potter and this Chelsea team is just to get some synergy and cohesion. By the end of the season, we’ll start seeing some good football, Chelsea winning games, and the Champions League is almost a bonus.

“There needs to be a settling-in period at Chelsea and once they get that, I think things will move forward. Sometimes it’s written in the stars. You’ve just got to hope this might be one of those years where they have a terrible league campaign and lift the Champions League.”

He also continued that positivity, adding at a later date: “It’s definitely possible. Chelsea have a chance, that’s 100 per cent for sure.

“It’s the pinnacle of European club football to climb that mountain. It will be welcome for the players to have it in the back of their minds like a welcome distraction. It could also be the one big performance in a big game to turn the confidence.”

Rio Ferdinand is perhaps more of a realist. “Qualifying….. Real, City, Inter, Napoli,” the former Manchester United defender wrote on Twitter. Thierry Henry was more gun-barrel straight. “For the first time, I don’t see a clear favourite,” he admitted. “At the end, we always know the big guns are always in the final or one of the big guns wins it. It is open but still you have to knock those guys out for me.”

Carragher can see Serie A stars potentially Napoli lifting the trophy though. “Yeah I think Napoli right now are the form team,” the Sky pundit said. “I would love to see them win it, an outsider behind the big teams you expect to win it. But I think this could be the season of Manchester City.”

Signing to pay off

Cole has also predicted that the January loan signing Joao Felix will perform well before the end of the season. Despite being dismissed in his first game, Cole has praised the skill of the Portugal forward.

“I thought Joao Felix was brilliant tonight,’ Cole said on BT Sport. ‘I’ve seen enough to know he’s going to be a good signing for Chelsea.

“He showed his ability and personality but that moment of madness changed the game. Felix showed signs he can make a difference in a Chelsea shirt.”

Graham Potter sacked, Champions League winners: Pundits predict Chelsea end of season outcome

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