Chelsea boss Graham Potter responds after ‘poor’ Aubameyang display

Chelsea v Arsenal: Pictures

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Chelsea boss Graham Potter has defended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s performance against Arsenal on Sunday and says his team “didn’t function” in their usual manner. The Blues were defeated 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League and now face an uphill battle just to force their way into the top four.

After the match had ended, BT Sport reporter Des Kelly said Aubameyang “didn’t play well.” And he asked Potter if that was “down to him or service – what went wrong?”

But Potter quickly deflected the question away from discussions about his striker. “I wouldn’t say that,” the ex-Brighton boss replied. “It’s part of the team. We didn’t function as fluidity as we’d have liked. They come in a good moment, good structure and Mikel [Arteta] has done a good job. What’s important, we understand where we’re at.”

Aubameyang was anonymous for large spells of the match in west London and struggled to threaten the Arsenal goal as the hosts failed to make a breakthrough. And the 33-year-old was dragged off just after the hour mark as he was replaced by Armando Broja.

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Ahead of the match at Stamford Bridge, much of the talk focused on Aubameyang. The Gabon international enjoyed a fecund four-year spell with Arsenal after joining the club from Borussia Dortmund in 2018 but was banished from the team and stripped of the captaincy under Arteta last season following disciplinary issues, before quitting to join Barcelona in January.

Aubameyang returned to the Premier League in the summer as he linked-up with his former Dortmund mentor Thomas Tuchel in west London. But Tuchel was given his marching orders just days later as Potter was appointed to oversee the team.

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Aubameyang has struggled to rediscover his scoring form in the Premier League and has only found the back of the net in one of his six matches. But he scored twice during Chelsea’s Champions League group stage matches as the Blues booked their place in the knockout stages by winning Group E.

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Chelsea were second best throughout their encounter with the Gunners and fell behind after 63 minutes as centre-back Gabriel poked in Bukayo Saka’s corner after the home defence had failed to deal with it. And the visitors saw out the game as they leapfrogged Manchester City to return to the top of the Premier League table. Chelsea, meanwhile, stay seventh and are now just two points ahead of west London rivals Fulham.

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