Chelsea verdict: Potter must be sick of Man City but at least woeful Blues won’t face more cup final heartache this year

    THE only consolation for Chelsea was that they know only too well it could have been worse.

    Four years ago, they shipped six goals here at the Etihad – and maybe if Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne had played it could have been similarly embarrassing here.  

    Graham Potter has plenty to reflect on after another humbling

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    Graham Potter has plenty to reflect on after another humblingCredit: AFP
    Chelsea new boy David Datro Fofana played the second half but could do little as Man City won easily

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    Chelsea new boy David Datro Fofana played the second half but could do little as Man City won easilyCredit: Getty
    Mason Mount shows the pain of Chelsea's FA Cup mauling

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    Mason Mount shows the pain of Chelsea’s FA Cup maulingCredit: Reuters

    At least it was only four this time.

    But the sight of Chelsea fans streaming out of the exits in the 39th minute told you everything about where Graham Potter’s reign is right now.

    Maybe some were looking to beat the queues for the toilets or to get their half-time pie in early.

    However, the fact their team were 3-0 down to a rampant Manchester City and many of the seats were unoccupied when the second half resumed suggested some were already heading home.

    Potter must have almost wished he could join them too – he must be sick of the sight of the champions and their boss Pep Guardiola.

    The former Brighton boss now has only two wins in his last 10 matches – yet three of those have been against City.

    That is one of the mitigating factors which Potter must hope spares him the same fate as many of his predecessors.

    Even when they are not quite at their brilliant best, nobody wants to face Guardiola’s side three times in the space of six matches.

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    Phil Foden completed Man City's burst of three quick goals

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    Phil Foden completed Man City’s burst of three quick goalsCredit: Getty

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    And when you are going in without a whole team of absent first teamers it becomes an even more daunting assignment.

    Yet they still had nine senior players in their starting line-up and the way heads dropped after Chelsea went behind will be a huge concern for Potter.

    The fact that some of the travelling fans sang the name of Thomas Tuchel – the man who Potter replaced in September – during the second half felt quite telling.

    The word from the Stamford Bridge board room before the game was the manager still has their backing despite the face they are in 10th place in the table.

    Well now they are out of both domestic cups too – at least their fans are spared the pain of losing in the final – as they experienced in both last season.

    To be Chelsea did OK for the first quarter here – keeping the ball for long periods without ever really opening the home side up.

    But the way the visitors seemed to fold after Riyad Mahrez’s stunning free-kick on 23 minutes shows this is a team with real problem.

    Fifteen minutes later it was 3-0 and the tie was over.

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    Potter now has to rally his troops for a West London derby at Fulham – who currently sit three places and three points above them in the table.

    Lose that and the calls for Potter’s head will be deafening.

    Kai Havertz struggled as an out-of-out striker as Chelsea slumped

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    Kai Havertz struggled as an out-of-out striker as Chelsea slumpedCredit: Getty
    Man City scorers Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden celebrate

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    Man City scorers Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden celebrateCredit: Getty

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