Graham Potter showed his ruthless side by making two half time changes during Chelsea’s win at Aston Villa on Sunday. The Blues were ahead by a goal thanks to Mason Mount pouncing on Tyrone Mings’ mistake, but they had to rely on some heroics from Kepa Arrizabalaga to get them out of trouble in the first half.
The scoreline was good for Chelsea, but the performance wasn’t, and Potter wasn’t going to let the 1-0 advantage gloss over what had arguably been the worst half of football during his short reign so far. Kai Havertz was taken off at the interval, as was Marc Cucurella, who started the game on the left of a back three.
Despite being a favourite under Potter at Brighton and being re-united with him at Stamford Bridge, the 47-year-old replaced the Spaniard with Cesar Azpilicueta. “Marc Cucurella was the left centre-back which can work but it didn’t work so much today,” Potter said after the match.
Cucurella has been slammed by Garth Crooks, with the former Tottenham striker questioning why the Blues signed him in the first place. Crooks was scathing in his criticism, stating that the 24-year-old is not a Champions League quality defender.
“Chelsea made hard work of it against Aston Villa in the first half having gone 1-0 up at Villa Park,” Crooks said in his BBC column. “What Marc Cucurella is doing at the club never mind on the pitch at Villa Park I don’t quite understand.
“Graham Potter, having sold the player when manager at Brighton, has now inherited him at Chelsea but the Spaniard is not a top-four defender and it is showing.
“Thiago Silva on the other hand is not just a top-class defender but is having to mentor Kalidou Koulibaly and Trevoh Chalobah in the process. The Brazilian is calm, cool and sophisticated, and head and shoulders above anyone in the Chelsea back line.”