Skip to content
Exclusive

Graham Potter's days could be numbered if Chelsea lose at Tottenham, says Paul Merson

Paul Merson on Graham Potter at Chelsea: "I'm not sure these are his players, that's the major problem. I can't imagine in my wildest dreams these are his players. I would give him until next season to have a pre-season, but I just don't know how it's going to work with these players"

Paul Merson

Paul Merson says it will be extremely difficult for manager Graham Potter to recover if Chelsea compound a particularly poor run of form with a loss at London rivals Tottenham this weekend.

Potter, who supposedly still has the full support of the club's hierarchy, has won just twice in 14 games in all competitions and oversaw the Blues' 1-0 defeat to the Premier League's bottom side Southampton at Stamford Bridge last Saturday.

Chelsea's expensively-assembled side left the pitch amidst anger and a chorus of boos at full-time, with some voices near the dugout calling for the former Brighton manager to leave.

In his latest column, Merson explains why a defeat to Tottenham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, could prove costly for Potter, while also discussing woe at West Ham, Newcastle's goalkeeping conundrum ahead of this weekend's Carabao Cup final and how the Premier League title remains Arsenal's to lose.

Live Super Sunday

'Potter hamstrung by influx of duplicate players'

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Paul Merson says Chelsea are a team of individuals and does not see their bad run of form stopping anytime soon after defeat at home to Southampton.

It isn't good at Chelsea at the moment. Potter is not looking after himself he's looking after the team - which I quite like. Let's be honest, it was a big football match on Saturday, Chelsea were playing bottom of the league. The best two players this season have been Reece James and Thiago Silva - he didn't play either of those two players, he looked after them. He could have said 'my job is on the line, I'm going to play you' and worry about himself but he hasn't.

I think he needs time. I'm not sure these are his players, that's the major problem. I can't imagine in my wildest dreams these are his players. A lot of the players at Chelsea are the same, but no better than what was there before. You buy players to improve a squad and that hasn't happened. I would give him until next season to have a pre-season, I just don't know how it's going to work with these players.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton's win against Chelsea in the Premier League.

From the outside, it doesn't look like these are players he would have gone and got. They are just a lorry load of youngsters put on seven and eight-year contracts. That isn't the way it's done in football.

Also See:

'No way back if Chelsea lose to Spurs? | Mudryk has shown nothing'

People think Potter isn't the right man for the job, but I think he is. For me, I think give him time. I don't see it changing too quickly. I look at the players and I don't get it. This Sunday is Chelsea's biggest game of the season - it's Tottenham. If he loses this one I'm not sure there is a way back because the fans will go ballistic. This game can change everything though - if Chelsea beat Spurs he can also be a hero.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Chelsea boss Graham Potter was disappointed by his side's 1-0 loss against Southampton at Stamford Bridge, admitting his men were below par in the first half.

He's just been beaten at home by bottom of the league and he's still there so maybe they will stick by him. I like him as a manager but I look at the quality of the players and I question it. They brought Mykhailo Mudryk for £88m and, bar a cameo of 20 minutes, he's shown nothing. I mean nothing. You wouldn't expect to need time to settle in at that price.

The forward-thinking players are no better than the ones they've already got so what's the point? You can't tell me that Noni Madueke is a better player than Raheem Sterling or Christian Pulisic. He's not. Why are you buying a load of players that aren't better than what you've got? None of them improve the team bar Enzo Fernandez and the centre-half [Benoit Badiashile].

'West Ham will escape | Moyes key to survival'

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win against West Ham in the Premier League.

West Ham will get out, but the other day [vs Tottenham] was worrying. I watched and thought 'this is one of your biggest games of the season', they didn't play like it was. That's a worry. Get rid of David Moyes and they will get relegated. Keep him and they will be okay. They will not go down with Moyes as manager, no chance.

This league is all about good starts, if you get a good start you've got a good chance. Just look at Fulham, Brighton and Brentford. It's so hard to recover once you are in trouble because you're up against it straight away. It would be one of the biggest shocks in football if West Ham get relegated with David Moyes in charge - he's thick-skinned and he's got the experience to get them out of trouble.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

David Moyes spoke with Patrick Davison after West Ham’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham on Super Sunday and he felt defensive lapses cost his side dearly.

If Moyes got sacked tomorrow morning Leeds would walk over broken glass to go and get him in. You've got to put it in perspective. Leeds would have him in tomorrow morning. It's a no-brainer.

'Pope absence hands Man Utd CC trophy'

I feel for Newcastle. Such a shame with the Nick Pope situation. I think the rules have got to change. You're talking about someone who has been sent off in a totally different competition. It's not the Premier League. I know he's done it, but he's been punished.

He's now going to miss a final that he might never get the chance to play in again. It's such a shame. I don't see anything but a Man United win now. You're talking about playing your third-choice goalkeeper against Man United who are bang in form. If there was one player that Eddie Howe would want in his team for that final it's Pope. Pope saves you. I am worried for Newcastle.

Live EFL Cup

'Ten Hag commands respect at Man Utd - Weghorst signing proves it'

I don't give Man United any chance of winning the league. They won't chase Man City and Arsenal down. I think if you're chasing one you've got a chance but not two. They're flying along but I don't think they will win the league.

They got the biggest result ever with Erik ten Hag going there and then getting rid of Cristiano Ronaldo. It's worked out perfectly for them. I like him, he's a strong manager. Ralf Rangnick wouldn't have been able to get away with the Wout Weghorst signing, he'd have gotten crucified. But under Ten Hag everyone goes 'wow, what a signing'. That just shows you he's got the respect of the club and he runs the show. He's done great, outstanding to be honest.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Erik Ten Hag makes five changes ahead of their Super Sunday match against Leicester.

He's got Marcus Rashford playing as the best forward in Europe at the moment. It's not a foregone conclusion that United are going to go on and win leagues because the game will change next season. Chelsea will be better, Liverpool will be better. It will get harder. Teams like Arsenal have got to make hay while the sun shines.

'Arsenal favourites for PL | City have eyes on Europe'

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal's comeback win at Aston Villa in the Premier League.

Massive football result for Arsenal at the weekend. Two points ahead with a game in hand. It's in their hands. I go with Arsenal to win it still. I've said that before. When push comes to shove I think Manchester City have to win the Champions League - surely they haven't bought in Erling Haaland to win the Premier League for the fourth time in five years. They'll take their eye off it.

Arsenal will be in a situation soon where they have to make a decision, do they go for the league or have a run at the Europa League. They haven't won a European trophy since 1993. You see how quickly football changes - people said last week after the City loss that Arsenal had ruined it. Now everything is rosy again.

Around Sky