It has been a mixed start to the 2022/23 campaign for Chelsea but once the Premier League returns following the World Cup, they remain in the hunt for trophies and a top-four finish in the table.
Manager Graham Potter has now had time to enforce his style of football on the squad he inherited when he took over from Thomas Tuchel earlier in the year. The former Brighton boss was selected to get the best out of a talented squad.
Here are three players Potter must get more from if the Blues are to finish the campaign successfully in the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League.
When Chelsea signed Raheem Sterling from Manchester City back in the summer, it was seen as a big coup. The forward had been a big part of the success Pep Guardiola has had in Manchester, but the Spaniard could no longer guarantee the Englishman regular first-team football.
At the age of 27, Sterling has a lot of football left in his career. He has been around at the highest level since 2012 when he featured for Liverpool. With over 100 Premier League goals to his name, there is no doubting his ability.
3rd World Cup with the Three Lions 🦁 🏴 pic.twitter.com/zS7bPH1F1z
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) November 10, 2022
Sterling’s form in the early stages of his Chelsea career has been questioned by some pundits. However, England manager Gareth Southgate has stuck by the Blues forward for the World Cup in Qatar. The Three Lions boss is likely to start him alongside Harry Kane in his side’s attack.
As of the 10th of November, England are fourth best in the World Cup betting at 7/1. A positive tournament could help Sterling come back to club football full of confidence. Hopefully, he scores a few important goals for his country and then shows what he can do for Chelsea in the new year.
Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored just one goal from his opening six Premier League matches since arriving from Barcelona. He has netted a couple of times in Europe, but he will need to find a better goal return in the Premier League if he is to lead the line as he did in the defeat to Arsenal.
The 33-year-old scored 68 Premier League goals in 128 matches for the Gunners during his time in north London. He departed the Emirates Stadium after falling out with manager Mikel Arteta.
Aubameyang did well in Spain in his short spell with Barcelona. He scored 13 times in 24 matches in all competitions for the Catalonian club. The signing of Robert Lewandowski meant he longer was the first choice with the La Liga side.
One of the reasons Aubameyang favoured Chelsea over other offers he had on the table was to play for Tuchel, his former head coach at Dortmund. Potter now must build a relationship with the striker and try to get the best from him.
Unlike many of the Chelsea squad, Aubameyang will not be featuring at the World Cup, as Gabon did not qualify. He should be fully fresh when the Premier League returns.
Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly was signed by Chelsea in the summer transfer window to replace Antonio Rudiger who left the club on a free transfer to join Real Madrid. The Blues spent £34 million on the Napoli defender, who had a reputation for being one of the best centre-backs in Europe.
— Koulibaly Kalidou (@kkoulibaly26) October 7, 2022
Koulibaly has not yet adapted fully to English football. He has picked up five yellow cards and one red card in his opening 15 matches for the club. His tackling has not been well-timed at times, which is why he has entered the referee’s book so often.
In the EFL Cup defeat against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Koulibaly struggled to handle Riyad Mahrez. He gave away a lot of fouls in that game which the home took advantage of with their set pieces.
There is no doubt Koulibaly is a defender who has a lot of ability. Potter will need to work on his confidence and find the right balance in his team to protect the defence better.
Chelsea’s opening game following the 2022 World Cup comes on the 27th of December when they take on Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.