Joleon Lescott column: Potter’s Blues unlikely to end any time soon
Graham Potter appears to be on borrowed time ahead of Chelsea's trip to Tottenham on Sunday.
If I'm being honest, I can’t see him riding out this rough period, which is a shame because I really wanted him to succeed at Stamford Bridge.
That's not to say I don't think he's capable of turning things around, but I just think time is against him when it comes to halting this woeful run the Blues are on.
Losing the the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Borussia Dortmund was no disaster. Losing at home to Southampton is a different matter entirely, though.
Todd Boehly has seemed keen to stand by his man but is he willing to give him until the end of the season to continue implementing his ideas without fear of the sack?
That's not easy for any owner to do. But when you've spent the money the Blues have, there's an even greater need to see some improvement.
Tough to unpick
It's tough to pinpoint exactly where things are going wrong for the ex-Brighton boss.
Some may point to him giving the players days off after the Saints loss as a strange move but I'm almost certain that will have been pre-planned.
Potter is an intelligent coach who will be fully aware of player workloads and it's crucial to manage those properly, even when results aren't great.
After all, the last thing he needs is more injuries.
With new signings often needing time to bed in, it may be up to some of Chelsea's more established stars to dig them out of this hole — but look at Mason Mount's current position off the pitch.
Talks over his new contract have stalled and it's a shame someone who has come through the club's academy and is long established as a first-team regular finds himself in such a position.
Although we can see he's a valuable player as football fans, the club haven't paid a fee for him, so he gets treated differently to a new signing.
It's bizarre, but it's always been the way in top-level football.
Sadly, I doubt we'll see any kind of resolution to Mason's situation until the summer, when there could yet be a new man in charge. Time will tell!
Another side likely to be low on confidence this weekend are Liverpool following their midweek humbling at the hands of Real Madrid.
Facing the European champions is always going to be tough and there's no shame in losing to the current Madrid side — just look at the teams they had to beat last season in order to lift the trophy.
But we expect the Reds to be able to go toe-to-toe with any side, especially at Anfield, so the manner of the defeat will definitely have knocked the players.
Prior to Tuesday, Jurgen Klopp’s men had managed back-to-back wins over Everton and Newcastle, though those victories weren't exactly backed up by dominant performances.
The side just looks a long way away from where they have been for so long, so you'd have to expect a busy summer on the transfer front.
I said it at the start of the season and have said it a few times since, but the loss of Sadio Mane has had a huge impact on Liverpool.
Even when he wasn't playing at his best or scoring goals, Mane set the tone with his pressing and understood what Klopp wanted from his forwards.
In hindsight, you'd have to say not strengthening the midfield last summer was a mistake on the German's part — though I don't think just signing a new midfielder solves their problems.
In fairness, if you bring in someone of Jude Bellingham's calibre, perhaps that does have a telling impact. But would Jude want to join if they miss out on the top four?
I see Bellingham as a potential Ballon d'Or winner but you have to be playing in the Champions League if you want to win those kind of accolades.
The top four isn't out of reach for the Reds just yet but games like Saturday evening's trip to Crystal Palace are becoming must-win fixtures.
On that note, time for my weekend predictions!
Joleon Lescott’s Premier League Matchday 25 predictions
Fulham vs Wolves (Friday, 8pm, Sky Sports)
Fulham's success this season shows that promoted sides with the right style and recruitment can aim higher than simply staying in the division.
They've been a joy to watch and even though Wolves are improving a lot under Julen Lopetegui, this is a tough task for my old club.
I have to lean towards a home win.
Prediction: Fulham 2-1 Wolves
Everton vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 3pm)
Two teams that have seen new managers make a positive impact meet here, so both have good reason to be confident.
Unai Emery admitted he has a few concerns over his defence when teams really go after them, though I don't see Everton taking that kind of approach.
Villa would probably be narrow favourites but I'll go for a draw given it's at Goodison Park.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Aston Villa
Leicester vs Arsenal (Saturday, 3pm)
Arsenal showed fantastic character to come back at Villa last weekend and this is another tricky trip for Mikel Arteta's men.
Leicester were well beaten by Manchester United in the end but they should've been at least one goal up in that contest before the hosts took the lead.
That said, I think Arsenal will find a way past them.
Prediction: Leicester 0-2 Arsenal
West Ham vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 3pm)
Nottingham Forest did really well to get a point off Manchester City last weekend, even if they did ride their luck for long periods.
On the other hand, West Ham continue to struggle and I fear this game is a must-win if David Moyes is hoping to keep his job.
I'm rooting for him to turn things around and I think the Hammers will find a way.
Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Leeds vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)
Another huge game down at the bottom. And if Javi Gracia is going to keep Leeds out of trouble, these kind of games are important.
Southampton keep plucking the odd win out of nowhere but they've lacked consistency all season, so can they really go to Elland Road and make it back-to-back victories?
Given the new manager effect, I'll opt for a home win.
Prediction: Leeds 2-0 Southampton
Bournemouth vs Manchester City (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)
Manchester City's performances have been much more consistent, even if they did rue a lack of clinical finishing against Forest last weekend.
Bournemouth's win against Wolves was a bit of a smash and grab, not that they will care, but it's hard to see them threatening the champions here as a result.
I have to go with Pep Guardiola's men.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester City
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool (Saturday, 7.45pm, Sky Sports)
Liverpool will want to put in a dominant performance after that Madrid mauling but Palace are well suited to the counter-attack.
The Reds have generally gotten the better of Palace in recent times, though the season's earlier meeting finished level and nobody is going to fear Liverpool at the moment.
Maybe this is me leading with heart over head but I think it ends level.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-2 Liverpool
Tottenham vs Chelsea (Sunday, 1.30pm, Sky Sports)
As discussed earlier in the column, the lack of cohesion on show at Chelsea has to be a huge worry coming into this one.
Of course, derby games often play out differently to how the formbook suggests but you'd have to fancy Spurs to have too much for their London rivals.
It's hard not to see the home forwards getting through that Chelsea backline, so I'll lean towards Antonio Conte’s men.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea
Joleon Lescott was talking to Matthew Hill
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