GRAHAM POTTER must wish he could start the break for the World Cup now.

Because his team’s season is in danger of unravelling and there is a chance it could get worse still by Saturday evening.

Chelsea have now lost three out of their last four

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Chelsea have now lost three out of their last fourCredit: Reuters
The Blues were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City at the Etihad

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The Blues were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City at the EtihadCredit: PA

The former Brighton manager’s selection here indicated he had one eye on the trip to St James’ Park this weekend.

After a dismal few days, that’s a game they need to go and win now.

Chelsea came into this game on the back of four domestic games without a win – including damaging defeats against Brighton and Arsenal.

That sees them back in seventh place in the Prem and a whopping 13 points behind the leaders with little more than a third of the season gone.

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With second placed City also 11 ahead of them, some will believe the Blues’ title hopes are already over.

But the trip to the Toon has suddenly become a huge one for Potter’s regime.

Lose that one and they would find themselves 10 points behind the Geordies in the race for the top four.

Perhaps it was no surprise that his team selection here reflected the importance of that long trip to Tyneside.

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Raheem Sterling was on the bench for his return to his old club, alongside Mason Mount, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Kai Havertz and Cesar Azpilicueta.

With so many changes it was inevitable there was a disjointed look to Potter’s team at times in the opening half.

They had opportunities with Christian Pulisic and youngster Lewis Hall both going close but the big chances came at the other end.

But nobody could say it was deserved when City took the lead through Riyad Mahrez and doubled their lead soon afterwards thanks to Julian Alvarez.

Some of the first team regulars were thrown on in a quadruple substitution midway through the second half.

They improved – but found City’s understudy keeper Stefan Ortega in inspired form when they did get a sight of goal.

Potter will hope the break will allow him to get some of his methods across to his players – even though many will be away at the World Cup.

It should also give key players such as Ben Chilwell, Ngolo Kante and Reece James chance to recover from their injuries.

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Maybe he can organise a bit of shooting practice too on last night’s evidence.

Two months in and the honeymoon is well and truly over for Potter.



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