Chelsea stars will need the much-needed World Cup break as they enter this rest period with five successive Premier League games where they dropped points.
Entering the Qatar break with three consecutive losses in all competitions isn’t the position that Chelsea boss Graham Potter wants to be in. Three back-to-back Premier League defeats make it even worse.
First, it was a 4-1 thrashing from Potter’s old team Brighton, and London rivals Arsenal joined the list with a 1-0 success at Stamford Bridge. Most recently, Newcastle continued their journey to returning as a top six clubs when they overcame the Blues at St. James Park (1-0).
Light can be seen at the end of the tunnel as the 2020/21 Champions League winners qualified for the UCL Round of 16 once again. To add, we cannot ignore the glaring issue at Stamford Bridge, injuries!
Rio Ferdinand defends Potter and his Chelsea squad
After Chelsea’s London derby loss to Arsenal, former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand highlighted a plethora of players that Potter cannot utilize on the pitch.
Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, Kepa Arrizabalaga, N’Golo Kante, and Reece James are unavailable for the Chelsea team.
“That was a patched-up Chelsea team,” Ferdinand said. “They are missing Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante, and there are six players that more or less start in that team.
“I was so impressed with how Arsenal played but let’s have a little reality check; Arsenal are a serious team now, but it wasn’t even their [Chelsea’s] first time.”
A more straightforward 2023/24 season schedule
The 2023/24 English Premier League schedule was recently revealed, and it will begin on Saturday, August 12, 2023, giving 73 straight days between the end of the current campaign and the beginning of the next.
As the football calendar has been a drastic one in recent years, players can receive much-needed rest periods they need. The winter break returns in early January to assist players with rest time. The schedule returns to familiar surroundings following consecutive seasons impacted by COVID-19 and the winter World Cup in Qatar.
Gregg Berhalter and Christian Pulisic
One Chelsea man who won’t get much rest this winter is Christian Pulisic, as he’ll be joining the USMNT in Qatar with hopes of matching the talents of England, Wales, and Iran in Group B of the tournament. And despite struggling to find the elite form of seasons past, US boss Gregg Berhalter knows he has a top talent in Pulisic.
There’s no denying that Bookies in the UK won’t be quick to doubt the Three Lions when they compete against Pulisic and the USMNT, but one man is betting on the young. In a recent interview, USA boss Berhalter hyped up the talent that Pulisic owns – declaring the Chelsea frontman has “special quality”.
“He’s the catalyst; he’s the guy who can jump-start everything, can make everything happen because of his ability,” Berhalter said when discussing Pulisic. “It’s not to add pressure to him because without everyone else performing well, he’ll have no opportunity to do that. But that’s what I mean; he’s like the top of the iceberg, he’s like that last bit that really can put you over the top with his special quality.”
If any US player can assist the team in overcoming Gareth Southgate’s England squad, it would be Pulisic, the man who’s played in the Premier League for the past two seasons – winning the Champions League with the Blues in 2020/21 and notably scoring in the semi-final to assist their UCL success.
“We know if we look at the odds, it will be the normal names who are the favourites to win in Qatar,” Pulisic commented.
“Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, England, and one or two more. We know we won’t be considered in that group.
“But we don’t look at the odds, and we’re not at The World Cup just to make up the numbers. We go, give it everything in every game we play, and make America proud. Wherever that takes us, we have to wait and see.”
Pulisic could be squaring up against Chelsea teammates Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, and Conor Gallagher when England faces the USA on November 25 in Qatar.