For the uncertainty around Chelsea’s starting XI picked to face Wolves, Graham Potter’s side did a swift job of ensuring there was no panic.
After making seven changes to the side that beat AC Milan 3-0 in midweek, Potter chose a fourth different system in a row and once again demonstrated his skills as a manager, utilising players in a way that had previously failed during the end of Thomas Tuchel’s tenure.
The only remaining outfield players from Wednesday night’s dominant win were Mason Mount, Kalidou Koulibaly and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. This was one of the Blues’ best showings of the season so far though. With Jorginho anchoring the side and Cesar Azpilicueta moving to an orthodox full-back position, Chelsea fans were scared of being overrun by a dangerous looking Wolves attack.
Chelsea were quick to snuffle their opponents early on though and never let the managerless visitors settle. It was a confidence booster and exactly the type of win needed ahead of a trip to San Siro in midweek.
Potter also did it in statement fashion, leaving out Raheem Sterling, Reece James, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thiago Silva, arguably two of the best players against the Italian champions.
Only James came onto the pitch at all as goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja sealed a third consecutive win in the league for Chelsea.
Their impressive start has moved them out of the grey clouds, for now, and has changed the atmosphere at the club and Ian Wright believes that Potter is doing the right things to impress his squad. Speaking on Match of the Day, Wright said:
“Once the guys see that you’re putting on good sessions, it’s interesting. The only problem I see is that Potter is going a different level of player. He knows that he can’t pick all of them but it’s going to take all of them to do what they’re doing in the Champions League, Premier League and everything.
“All they want to see is that he’s being fair with them. Good coaching. He’s earnt his right to be there and to get there. I’m so happy to see an English manager.”
Perhaps the former Brighton boss’ best skill, apart from tactical ingenuity, is his communication and ability to present ideas simply and effectively.
Although there is no right and wrong, his calm demeanor on the touchline is a stark contrast to Thomas Tuchel’s constant berating and micromanaging of situations on the field.
Potter is already working his way around a squad that still has 10 games to play in the next 33 days before the winter World Cup break, but beating Wolves in style will do a lot for the team, said Micah Richards:
“They’ve got a great squad haven’t they, Chelsea? No Aubameyang, no Sterling but the attackers really did well today. Gallagher, Mount, Pulisic, Havertz. We have the formation as a 4-2-3-1 but it’s a hybrid like we saw at Brighton, it can chop and change, go to a three.
“Mount’s link-up play today was excellent, he’s not started the season particularly well but today I thought he had a really good game. Pulisic has been in and out of the team and had various interviews, talking about not being happy but he took his chance. For his goal Wolves didn’t know how to deal with him. It’s a delightful dink. Chelsea were absolutely excellent.
“Azpilicueta looked comfortable in the right hand side and got forward at every opportunity and they got runners into the box. People have talked about Chelsea and the new number nine but today showed, actually, the fluid system allows them to do their stuff.”