Prior to the World Cup, Chelsea will face three of the league’s top teams, which could be Graham Potter’s hardest test yet. When the Blues welcome Dinamo Zagreb to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night for the last Champions League group stage match, they will be hoping to get back to winning ways.
Normally, with three significant matchups on the horizon and the west Londoners already qualified, the tie would have been the ideal opportunity for Potter’s team to ease off a bit, rotate the squad, and provide starts to youngsters like Omari Hutchinson. But after losing to Brighton, Chelsea will be eager to pick up some form and resume winning ways.
Arsenal (H) – November 6
Potter will be glad to be back at Stamford Bridge following a stretch of five away games in six, especially after a contest that won’t bring him much in the way of concrete reward.
However, there won’t be a respite when high-flying Arsenal, who haven’t lost there since 2018, visit Stamford Bridge. Despite suffering a bad week, the Gunners, one of the top teams in the table, nevertheless exude confidence. For his first home London derby, Potter will need to be prepared because a loss might push them farther adrift in the standings. However, a victory might turn the season around.
Man City (A) – November 9
Players will need to be ready for a significant Carabao Cup test before one of the most aggravating games on the schedule, which is just three days before the World Cup break.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see both managers use a heavily rotated lineup because the league and World Cup are probably far more important here. This would have been a nice opportunity to rest players before going to Newcastle if Manchester City hadn’t drawn them; as it stands, a trip away before another lengthy travel up north is exactly what Chelsea didn’t need at this point.
Newcastle (A) – November 12
The last game before the break might be a real gem, and it might also be very significant. Newcastle has only dropped one league game as of the writing of this sentence. Even though they have played one more game, Eddie Howe’s team has scored more goals and given up fewer than Chelsea.
The Blues know they will have a tough test in the northeast, and it might also have unforeseen Champions League repercussions, having already taken points from Tottenham and Manchester United.