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Graham Potter’s ruthless streak is a welcome sight for Chelsea as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s call-up sets the standard


The 33-year-old striker has struggled for minutes under Potter in recent weeks but got his chance after Raheem Sterling picked up the injury within the first two minutes of the game.

An anonymous outing saw him touch the ball just once in the opposition box and 14 times in total.

Potter was soft, gentle and relaxed in the face of poor performances and poor body language, but he cracked here, taking off the Gabon international to hand Omari Hutchinson his debut.

Aubameyang was furious as he walked off the pitch, shaking his head in dismay as the substitute was substituted.

There was no hiding place and his manager exposed his performance, choosing to prioritize the needs of the team to bring in a deserving youngster.

Hutchinson was not only making his debut for Chelsea, as he tried to help his former club Arsenal in the title race, but also his professional debut.

He needed a lot of coaching during the match from Potter and his assistant Bjorn Hamberg, but he still looked more threatening than his senior teammate.

It wasn’t just Aubameyang who was taken off, with Marc Cucurella, who was one of the goalkeepers, taken off for teenager Lewis Hall.

No changes influenced the outcome, but it was a signal of future standards of what is acceptable and what is not.

Riyad Mahrez’s tap-in got all three points after hanging on to Jack Grealish’s excellent cross. That leaves Chelsea ten points off the top four, 19 behind league leaders Arsenal and tenth in the Premier League.

Still, there was something to lean on in the performance with Potter’s team responding well to his tactics and decisions for the first time in months.

They were unlucky to lose and the players and fans reacted well to Potter showing his most charismatic and aggressive side to date.

It may take more of that spirit to see Chelsea through an injury crisis and a run of dismal results, and to prove their critics wrong.

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