The Chelsea stars will need the much-needed World Cup rest as they enter this rest period with five straight Premier League games in which they dropped points.
Going into Qatar’s break with three straight defeats in all competitions is not the position Chelsea manager Graham Potter wants to be in. Three straight losses in the Premier League make it even worse.
First, it was a 4-1 thrashing of Potter’s old team Brighton, and London rivals Arsenal joined the list with a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge. More recently, Newcastle continued their journey to return as a top six club when they beat the Blues at St. James Park (1-0).
The light at the end of the tunnel can be seen as the 2020/21 Champions League winners qualified for the UCL round of 16 once again. To add, we cannot ignore the glaring problem at Stamford Bridge, injuries!
Rio Ferdinand defends Potter and his Chelsea squad
Following Chelsea’s London derby loss to Arsenal, former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand highlighted a plethora of players Potter is unable to use on the pitch.
Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, Kepa Arrizabalaga, N’Golo Kante and Reece James are not available for the Chelsea squad.
“That was a patched-up Chelsea team,” Ferdinand said. “It’s missing Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante, and there are six players more or less starting on that team.
“I was so impressed with the way Arsenal played, but let’s get real; Arsenal are a serious team now, but it wasn’t even their [Chelsea’s] first time.”
A simpler 2023/24 season schedule
The 2023/24 English Premier League schedule was recently revealed and will kick off on Saturday 12 August 2023, with 73 days running between the end of the current campaign and the start of the next.
As the football schedule has been drastic in recent years, players can get much-needed rest periods. Winter break returns in early January to help players with down time. The calendar returns to a familiar setting after back-to-back seasons affected by COVID-19 and the winter World Cup in Qatar.
Gregg Berhalter and Christian Pulisic
One Chelsea man who won’t be getting much rest this winter is Christian Pulisic, as he will join the USMNT in Qatar hoping to match the talents of England, Wales and Iran in Group B of the tournament. And despite struggling to find the elite form of past seasons, USA boss Gregg Berhalter knows he has great talent in Pulisic.
there’s no denying that bookies in the UK will not be quick to doubt the Three Lions when they compete against Pulisic and the USMNT, but one man bets on the young. In a recent interview, US boss Berhalter praised the talent Pulisic possesses, declaring the Chelsea leader has a “special quality”.
“He is the catalyst; he’s the guy who can drive anything, he can make anything happen because of his ability,” Berhalter said of Pulisic. “It’s not to add pressure because without everyone else performing well, he won’t have a chance to do it. But that’s what I mean; It’s like the tip of the iceberg, it’s like the last part that can really take you to the top with its special quality.”
If any US player can help the team move past Gareth Southgate’s England team, it would be Pulisic, the man who has played in the Premier League for the past two seasons – he won the Champions League with the Blues in 2020/ 21 and notably scored in the semi-final to help their UCL success.
“We know that if we look at the odds, it will be the normal names that are favorites to win in Qatar,” Pulisic said.
“Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, England and one or two others. We know that we will not 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. Come on, we give it our all in every game we play and make America proud. Wherever that takes us, we have to wait and see.”
Pulisic could face his Chelsea teammates Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher when England take on the United States on November 25 in Qatar.