Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!
Chelsea Fans May Not Love Graham Potter, But At Least He's Got A Friend In Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta
Graham Potter’s under extreme pressure to turn the Chelsea's season around before it’s too late.
Things have gone from bad to worse for Premier League giant Chelsea after suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, and now that Stamford Bridge’s devout faithful are sharpening their pitchforks as they call for Graham Potter’s head, Chelsea’s manager is receiving some much-needed support in the most unlikely of places – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
“We are colleagues, and we all know the pressure, the demands and the uncertainty that this industry has,” Arteta recently commented, according to the BBC. "You can have difficulties in your job and challenges, which we do, especially when you lose, but when you are winning as well because this job is so demanding.”
Potter, who, prior to the clash against Tottenham, referenced Arteta after watching Arsenal’s All or Nothing documentary, is under no illusion of what he’s up against, but he also recognizes that perceptions can shift within the Premier League.
RELATED: Wrexham To The Premier League? Ryan Reynolds Sets 10-Year Goal After Riveting FA Cup Performance
“Two years into Mikel’s reign, he’s close to getting the sack, and people are wanting him out, and it’s a disaster,” Potter stated, according to the BBC. “Now, things have changed a little bit, and that’s just the way it is.”
The Blues’ lackluster performance against the Spurs follows a precipitous decline in the quality of their play that has been steadily snowballing for weeks now. The shutout loss also marks a severe low point in Potter’s short-lived tenure with the club as Chelsea have only won two of 12 games in all competitions since resuming play after the World Cup break. As it now stands, Potter’s squad is treading water in the 10th spot on the table, 27 points behind league leader Arsenal, and closer to the dreaded relegation zone than they are to the top four.
Chelsea's problems are almost too many to count: their uninspiring play has seen them net just one Premier League goal in the month of February, following a massive January transfer window spend that saw them shell out nearly $390 million on players such as Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Noni Madueke, as well as a loan move for João Félix. The lack of cohesion with so many new faces at Stamford Bridge is hard to ignore, despite a roster that is brimming with talent. The Blues are also dealing with their fair share of injuries, with Christian Pulisic and N'Golo Kante recently being joined by veterans Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva.
Arteta’s support for Potter, who came over from Brighton after Thomas Tuchel was sacked in September, couldn’t have come at a better time as Potter recently revealed that he and his children have been receiving death threats from enraged Chelsea plans.
"You cannot destroy your life because of that,” the Arsenal boss continued, speaking about the stress of managing a Premier League club through dark times. “Your family, your friends, your loved ones, the people around you, don't deserve to have their lives affected in such a negative way because you don't win a football match.”
"So, that balance I think in my case was critical,” the Spaniard added. “But you need some help, someone to paint that picture in front of you because sometimes when you are in that position it is not easy to see."
Arteta knows a thing or two about potentially being on the chopping block as he was regularly under fire from fans earlier in his tenure with the club, which is why he “absolutely” empathizes with his counterpart.
“The fact is the ball has to go into the net, and there are many factors that prevent that, that you cannot control, so of course you empathize because you suffer, and you know how it is when he is going through those moments,” Arteta stated.
Despite Arsenal’s Arteta coming to Potter’s defense, that doesn’t lessen the mounting pressure at Stamford Bridge. Though Chelsea's new ownership group has supported Potter to this point, fan outrage at the club's lack of progress under the manager may be reaching critical mass. And that means anything could happen.
Watch Premier League coverage on USA Network, featuring Premier League Mornings, select matches, and Premier League Goal Zone (check listings for games/schedule). And catch up on all the action on Peacock.
USA Insider is your source for all things USA, from behind-the-scenes access to breaking news, information about USA’s original shows, and much more. Sign up for USA Insider and be the first to get extras and updates on your favorite shows.