The end of the road for Graham Potter? Winners & losers as Tottenham pile pressure on beleaguered Chelsea boss

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The Blues manager has now overseen a run of just two wins in 16 matches, and patience must surely now be wearing thin in the Stamford Bridge boardroom

Graham Potter certainly deserved the Chelsea job when he was handed the reins in September. He had been successful everywhere he had been until that point, and was the kind of progressive coach that felt the right hire to replace Thomas Tuchel.

But as we approach the six-month anniversary of his appointment at Stamford Bridge, it's fair to now ask whether he will actually reach that milestone.

Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham means the Blues have won just one of their last 11 matches in all competitions, and are all but out of the top-four race after slipping 14 points behind Spurs.

Even qualifying for the lesser European competitions now looks a tall order, and Todd Boehly and the rest of the Blues board now have a decision to make on what is the best route forward for the club - let Potter see out the season and see if improvements are made, or sack him now in a bid to salvage something from a campaign that is almost totally lost.

It's not an easy call to make, but it was clear in north London that the Blues are a team going nowhere fast as Potter fights to find the right combination of expensively-assembled players to get positive results.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium...

  1. LOSER: Graham Potter
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    LOSER: Graham Potter

    Potter clearly hasn't been dealt an easy hand in trying to get the best out of Chelsea's bloated squad, but can any manager of such a big club really continue after winning just two of their last 15 matches in charge?

    The ex-Brighton boss is clearly a good coach given what he has done previously in his career, but this job - in part due to the reckless spending of the club's new owners - feels too big for Potter now.

    His decision to match up against Tottenham's 3-4-3 formation actually worked well for the first 20 minutes of the game, but once Spurs had sussed the visitors out, Chelsea lacked any kind of cutting edge in the final third.

    Potter's desperation was summed up by him throwing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a player who he has left out in the cold since the end of the January transfer window, on for the final 10 minutes to try to save the game, but the Blues never looked like getting back into it.

    Todd Boehly insists that he adopts a different attitude towards potentially sacking managers than his predecessor Roman Abramovich, but it feels like we've entered Potter's endgame now.

    Things cannot continue like this.

  2. WINNER: Oliver Skipp
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    WINNER: Oliver Skipp

    There were concerns that Tottenham's campaign could fall apart after key midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur suffered a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago, but if Skipp carries on playing like this, then Spurs might not miss the Uruguay international as much as they thought.

    A product of the north London side's academy, Skipp has had to wait to get a run of games under his belt, but early signs are that the 22-year-old is ready to shine at the top end of the Premier League.

    A fine performance on Sunday was capped by a stunning goal to open the scoring just 20 seconds into the second half, as Skipp forced himself in front of Joao Felix to latch onto a clearance and power a shot past Kepa Arrizabalaga from 20 yards.

    It was some way for Skipp to open his account for his boyhood club, and if he can add goals to his game, then he is well on the way to becoming the complete midfielder.

  3. LOSER: Thiago Silva

    LOSER: Thiago Silva

    Amid the burning mess that has been Chelsea's 2022-23 season, Thiago Silva has stood strong and continued to shine at the heart of the Blues' defence.

    So to see the Brazil centre-back limp off with a knee injury inside the first 20 minutes will have been particularly concerning for Potter, and his team certainly missed their stand-in captain's leadership after he left the field.

    With the crucial second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund to come in just 10 days, Chelsea really need their Player of the Season in waiting to have avoided a long-term issue.

    If he is missing for that game, then their campaign may well be all but over before the March international break.

  4. WINNER: Tottenham's top-four hopes
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    WINNER: Tottenham's top-four hopes

    With Newcastle otherwise engaged on Sunday, this game presented Spurs a chance to rubber-stamp their candidacy for a top-four finish after moving above the Magpies in the table last week.

    It was an opportunity they eventually took, with their second successive 2-0 home win moving them four points clear of Eddie Howe's side in the table.

    Newcastle do, admittedly, have two games in hand on Antonio Conte's team, but if they can pick up a head of steam as they did in the second half of last season, then they could quickly move away.

    They have the perfect chance to do just that, too, with five of their next six league matches coming against sides in the bottom eight of the table before they travel to Newcastle on April 23.

  5. LOSER: Stuart Attwell
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    LOSER: Stuart Attwell

    All the headlines will now be focused on Potter, but had Tottenham not won the game, then all eyes would likely have gone towards referee Attwell after a shambolic display.

    While letting the game run is admirable, Attwell clearly misread the tension that has grown between these two teams in recent years, and for the final 20 minutes of the first half he allowed things to heat up to such an extent that a brawl was inevitable.

    It eventually came on the cusp of half-time, at which point Attwell did not cover himself in glory.

    Having booked Kai Havertz and Emerson Royal for their part in the altercation, he clearly did not know what to do about Hakim Ziyech, who had committed a foul to spark the incident before he shoved Emerson in the face in the middle of it.

    After a long delay, Attwell showed Ziyech a red card, only to be told almost instantly to watch some replays by the VAR.

    Attwell then decided to rescind Ziyech's red and instead give the Morocco winger a yellow. It was an incident that did not end up mattering come the full-time whistle, but it was not a good look for such a big match.