Graham Potter’s new Chelsea system is a nightmare for one summer signing – opinion

Graham Potter has elected to play a back four in the two Chelsea games since Premier League football returned.

Marc Cucurella, Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly have been starters in the fixtures against Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest, while Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James have both started games on the right.

However, it is clear to see one player in particular has struggled to adapt to the new system at Stamford Bridge.

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

After being signed in the summer, the Senegal international has already struggled to live up to the expectations set upon him when he was signed as the direct replacement to Antonio Rudiger.

It’s universally accepted that the club had made a mistake in not tying the German down to a new contract before his deal expired last summer.

Koulibaly in danger

However, signing someone who had dominated Serie A for a number of seasons at the back looked a fair replacement. Instead, Blues fans have endured a shaky start to his time in England.

The match against Nottingham Forest on New Years’ Day showed every weakness he has threatened this campaign.

He was consistently outpaced and outmanoeuvred by Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi, a player who has only three Premier League goals to his name this season.

Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

There will no doubt be bigger tests coming for the Blues. Look no further than Thursday when they welcome a wounded Manchester City to their home.

It is unclear whether Potter looks to resume with the new system for the mammoth task of two games against Pep Guardiola in a week. There is almost certainly going to be heavy rotation for the FA Cup tie.

However, with Benoit Badiashile set to be added to the ranks, and Wesley Fofana only weeks away from what’s hopefully a permanent return to fitness, there are worrying times ahead for Koulibaly.

Jack is a writer for The Chelsea Chronicle. He has been a part of GRV Media since June 2022. He has a First Class Honours degree in Football Journalism from the University of Derby, graduating in 2021. Jack has experience working freelance for The Sun and The Athletic, whilst also being published for the Non-League Paper and reporting for Burton Albion's academy side. He is a lifelong Chelsea fan and will debate with anyone about everything and anything football related. He also holds a passion for gaming and music, and thinks he knows every word to every Oasis song ever released