Chelsea secured Champions League qualification on Tuesday night with a win over RB Salzburg and that has made things a little easier for Graham Potter ahead of playing Premier League leaders Arsenal on November 6.
Graham Potter was handed a major Chelsea boost for Arsenal clash with key advantage over Mikel Arteta. The Blues head into matchday six of the competition top of Group E, having secured 10 points from their opening five matches. Although AC Milan can technically finish above them on goal difference, with bottom-of-the-group Dinamo Zagreb the only team left to play, Chelsea are very much in control of their own fate.
Qualification does make things easier, though, as it means that Potter can afford to rotate Chelsea's squad at home to the Croatian outfit next week rather than play a full-strength side. Playing two games a week is significantly more challenging to manage than just playing one, so with the Englishman able to rest a few of his biggest stars, they may be slightly fresher ahead of Arsenal.
That in turn obviously becomes a bit of a blow for Arsenal, who have to play the day after in the Europa League themselves. Whilst the Gunners can also afford to rotate their squad - perhaps in its entirety if they manage to avoid defeat against PSV to officially come out as group A winners on Thursday night - they still have a day less to prepare for the game by comparison.
It's fine margins, sure, but victory over Salzburg has given Potter a healthy option he didn't quite have before. That in turn bodes well for the London derby next weekend.
Prof. Carl Boniface
Source: football.London 26/10/22