Graham Potter’s Chelsea undroppable star and why he needs to stick with trusted formation vs Brighton

The Blues looked much more solid defensively with this formation


Three matches, two wins and one draw. That’s Graham Potter’s away record in the Premier League so far for Chelsea. The Blues have beaten Crystal Palace (1-2), Aston Villa (0-2) and drew with Brentford (0-0). Just one goal conceded in over 270 minutes of Premier League football. Coincidence or not; that goal came when Chelsea were using a four-at-the-back formation.

Odsonne Edouard’s seventh-minute strike at Selhurst Park was the last Premier League goal Chelsea conceded on the road. Fortunately in that game, Chelsea showed their fighting spirit and managed to overturn the one-goal deficit to win 2-1 in south London. In the two following games against Aston Villa and Brentford, respectively, Chelsea used a three- back formation – something they did frequently under Thomas Tuchel and something Potter also used on a regular basis when in charge of Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Blues looked much more solid defensively in both those outings than the one at Crystal Palace. Trevoh Chalobah sat out of the win at Selhurst Park but has played in the following two matches on the road, helping Chelsea keep back-to-back clean sheets. Another coincidence or not? No, it’s not. The 23-year-old centre-back, who was the centre of plenty of speculation over the summer transfer window, has been arguably Chelsea’s best defender since Potter was appointed.

The Cobham graduate fell out of favour under Tuchel, meaning his game time was severely limited but he has now established himself as a regular since the unfortunate injury to summer signing Wesley Fofana. Chalobah is now undefeated in 31 starts for Chelsea – and while all of those 31 games aren’t solely down to him, it’s certainly not by chance he has that outstanding record. The biggest compliment you can pay Chalobah is that Chelsea haven’t missed the £70million Fofana.

The Blues defender has looked calm and composed in possession and something that might go under the radar is his ability to not let mistakes impact him. See AC Milan away for example, there was one instance where he was a bit rash into a tackle and Rafael Leao skinned him. Chalobah, however, recovered so well and eventually tackled the talented Leao. He went on to have an outstanding game. Rather remarkably, Chalobah, who has been used on the right-hand side of the three or in the middle, has only committed one foul in the Premier League so far this season.

It’s a testament to his decision-making and tackling ability. Right now, if one player in the Chelsea squad is ‘undroppable’, it’s Trevoh Chalobah. Long may his rise continue and then he will be in serious contention for future England squads – if he isn’t already, that is.

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