The previous Arsenal captain was as soon as once more named as an alternative to Thursday night time’s west London derby at Craven Cottage, with new signing Joao Felix handed a right away debut up entrance alongside Kai Havertz after finishing his high-profile mortgage swap from Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
Chelsea fell behind early in SW6 courtesy of a closely deflected strike from former winger Willian, who didn’t have fun in opposition to his outdated membership, however they obtained again on degree phrases by means of Kalidou Koulibaly’s close-range end earlier than shedding Denis Zakaria to damage and seeing Felix despatched off and now topic to a three-match ban for a woeful excessive problem on Kenny Tete.
Ex-Tottenham loanee Carlos Vinicius then popped up with a successful header 17 minutes from time to pile extra strain on the under-fire Potter, whose workforce have now claimed just one win in 9 matches both aspect of the World Cup break and nonetheless sit tenth within the Premier League, a full 10 factors adrift of the highest 4.
Potter made his full allocation of 5 substitutes within the second half in opposition to Fulham, first changing the injured Zakaria with Jorginho in a like-for-like change in midfield.
He made 4 extra subs in a single fell swoop minutes after Vinicius’ purpose, however nonetheless didn’t flip to striker Aubameyang regardless of desperately needing an equaliser.
As a substitute, Potter despatched on Marc Cucurella, Hakim Ziyech, Conor Gallagher and Carney Chukwuemeka instead of Trevoh Chalobah, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic and Lewis Corridor.
Regardless of his poor type since returning to the Premier League from Barcelona in a £12million deal over the summer time, the choice to depart Aubameyang – who has scored simply as soon as within the top-flight all season – on the bench as Chelsea chased the sport late on in opposition to Fulham was nonetheless greeted with shock by followers and pundits alike.
Requested why he didn’t ship for the Gabon skipper after one other depressing night time, Potter defined that it was merely tactical pondering.
“We had a back five and felt we should go to a 4-4-1 and keep Kai on because I felt he was leading the line and winning challenges and duels,” he mentioned.
“We wanted to use Hakim and Carney to break from wide and Conor to break from the centre because you know you’re going to get driven back a bit. So that was the thinking.”