Todd Boehly brutally sacked long-term Chelsea physio over Zoom, ditched medical director in staff cull and failed to fix injury-prone squad – how much of Blues crisis is bad luck?

    Chelsea manager Graham Potter truly cannot catch a break.

    Two minutes at Craven Cottage on Thursday night summed up his lack of luck quite brilliantly.

    Chelsea players are dropping like flies

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    Chelsea players are dropping like flies

    With the Blues back on level terms and dominating, Denis Zakaria became the latest addition to a long, long injury list in the 56th minute.

    Moments later, a moment of madness from new loan signing Joao Felix resulted in a straight red card on his debut.

    Just like that, Potter was without two more key players, with Felix to miss the next three games as Chelsea wait to discover the full extent of Zakaria’s thigh problem.

    Potter’s opportunity to turn things around vanished and Fulham went on to inflict a seventh defeat in the Blues’ last ten matches.

    The irony is that Felix was rushed into the starting XI because of all the players missing – and perhaps that lack of time to climatize contributed to his rash challenge.

    Having agreed to cover 100 per cent of his £250,000 wages, along with a £10million loan fee to Atletico Madrid for a five-month deal, Felix’s suspension will cost Chelsea around £3m.

    Felix only added to Chelsea’s misery

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    Felix only added to Chelsea’s misery

    It all begs the question: at what point does this stop being bad luck and, instead, point to more systematic failings?

    Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly, who took over in May, has spent more than £300million on players – and the Blues are currently tenth.

    Having acted as interim director of football, the American billionaire has assembled a squad of players who don’t fit and get injured all the time.

    While the sheer extent of Chelsea’s injury problems is unfortunate, how many games can players like Reece James, Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Wesley Fofana be expected to play in a season, given their records?

    How much of this is Boehly’s fault?

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    How much of this is Boehly’s fault?

    Unavailable Chelsea players

    Edouard Mendy

    Reece James

    Ben Chilwell

    Wesley Fofana

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek

    N’Golo Kante

    Denis Zakaria

    Christian Pulisic

    Raheem Sterling

    Armando Broja

    Joao Felix (suspended)

    Despite the spending spree, the Blues do not have a squad they can depend on to survive a rigorous domestic campaign. Their most reliable player, in terms of fitness, is 38-year-old Thiago Silva.

    Is it just wild coincidence that such terrible recruitment and an unprecedented injury crisis occur the season after Boehly culled the long-term staff who took care of these things?

    While the departures of Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech dominated headlines, the medical team was also dismantled.

    Head physiotherapist Thierry Laurent was reportedly sacked on a short Zoom call after 17 years at the club.

    Laurent was a highly-respected figure at the club

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    Laurent was a highly-respected figure at the club

    Biosca oversaw Chelsea’s medical operation

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    Biosca oversaw Chelsea’s medical operation

    Meanwhile, the club’s medical director Dr Paco Biosca was also given his marching orders after 11 years at Stamford Bridge.

    Suddenly, The Telegraph has revealed Chelsea are launching a review into their medical department, with claims of players being rushed back and playing with fitness problems.

    It is also suggested the players think people who could be trusted with their fitness are no longer working for the club and changes were made too quickly.

    The biggest casualty, of course, was manager Thomas Tuchel – another decision which looks increasingly curious by the day.

    Tuchel’s sacking came as a huge shock

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    Tuchel’s sacking came as a huge shock

    Could they have prevented any of this? It is impossible to say.

    But Boehly made this target for his back by ripping up successful, pre-existing methods and insisting his were better.

    With that comes responsibility when it all goes to pot.

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