Chelsea boss Potter must address four glaring issues vs Dinamo Zagreb

Inside Chelsea's preparations for Dinamo Zagreb match

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Chelsea head coach Graham Potter will have been brought crashing back to reality after seeing his nine-game unbeaten end with a crushing 4-1 defeat at the hands of his former club Brighton. But the 47-year-old’s focus must now switch to the games in front of them which could, in part, help decide their season.

With matchesc against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, high-flying Arsenal in the Premier League and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup coming up, it could prove to be an important few weeks before the World Cup break.

But there were obvious issues in the side that need addressing after that damaging defeat at the Amex Stadium and Potter will not need reminding of the task that lies ahead in trying to fix them.

Express Sport looks at four key areas the Chelsea boss may consider addressing before they face Dinamo on Wednesday.

Sterling’s goal drought

After a decent start to life in west London, there are genuine concerns that Raheem Sterling’s best days may be behind him after a woeful run of below-par performances.

While it is true the winger has been used out of position as a makeshift wing-back, there can be no excusing his lack of influence in the final third when presented with the opportunity. Sterling looks devoid of all confidence and the pressure on the £47.5m summer signing is intensifying.

Potter can help resolve the issue in part by playing Sterling where he belongs, either in a two-man attack alongside Kai Havertz or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or on the left of a front three. At the same time, the 27-year-old must demand more from himself or risk losing his place in the team.

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Replacing Kante

In all honesty, there is no replacing a player of N’Golo Kante’s unique abilities and attributes; he is unique, something recognised by Potter and his predecessor Thomas Tuchel. But with a midfield burgeoning with talent, from Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Conor Gallagher, Potter must be able to find the solution.

Gallagher, Jorginho and Kovacic proved to be a menacing trio to face when they secured a 2-1 win in Austria last week and not many clubs in the Premier League would fancy their chances against players with their work rate.

It’s often said that Kante does the job of two players and even three on occasion. And it seems like Potter may need the trio to dig in to provide the energy that has been sapped from the team after Kante’s hamstring injury.

Improving Cucurella

Brighton will be extremely pleased to have made a £44m profit on a player who belonged to them for only 12 months, and especially so now that the Spaniard has struggled at Chelsea after forcing through his move to Stamford Bridge.

The wing-back has been used in all different positions on the left side of the pitch but to little effect. He was subbed off in a tactical switch against Manchester United and Chelsea looked far more balanced with him off the pitch. Likewise, Marc Cucurella’s display against his former club Brighton was somewhat disastrous as he was pulled around the pitch by Solly March.

Cucurella was meant to be a flexible full-back, capable of slotting into the back three when required. But right now, there are some questioning whether he deserves a place in Potter’s team, given his alarming dip in form.

Shipping goals

Chelsea had gone five games without conceding as it looked like Potter had found the perfect formula with Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal. Since conceding a 94th-minute equaliser against United, they have shipped another five goals to Red Bull Salzburg and Brighton.

This can be attributed to the loss of key defensive figures such as Reece James, Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly to injury, with Potter having to cobble together a makeshift backline. But their defensive line left far too much space in the midfield for Brighton to exploit and their three-man backline struggled to cope with the constant pressure.

Switching to a back four should give the Blues more stability in midfield and therefore ease the burden on the four-man defence, at least until Fofana, James and Koulibaly return to action.

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