ESPN FC pundit Craig Burley has criticized Graham Potter’s decision to leave Benoit Badiashile out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad in favor of two forwards.
The Blues signed seven players to their squad during the January transfer window, and it was inevitable that at least four of them would be signed up for the Champions League.
Under the rules, each club was allowed to register a maximum of three players and Chelsea decided to add Enzo Fernandez, Joao Felix and Mykhailo Mudryk, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled out to make space.
Fernandez was a no-brainer as he effectively replaced Jorginho in the squad.
However, instead of using the other two remaining spaces on the attacking players, Burley argued that the in-form Badiashile deserved a spot.
“You’re not going to give yourself a chance if you’re defensively weak,” the former Blues midfielder told ESPN FC of Badiashile’s absence from Chelsea’s Champions League squad.
“You can always save players like Joao Felix and add that to [Kai] Havertz and others [who are already in the squad].
“You registered Mudryk that you removed at halftime [against Fulham].
“So it’s one of those balancing acts.
“Why don’t you register a player who is in your starting XI now?
“However, the people who will sit on the bench are registered. It just doesn’t make sense.
In an ideal world, Badiashile would undoubtedly be in Chelsea’s Champions League squad.
It was always going to be a tough decision for Potter to make, and he ultimately went with Mudryk and Felix, which is hardly unreasonable given Chelsea’s poor attacking form.
Badiashile has started in the Blues’ last three games, in which they have managed to keep three consecutive clean sheets. As Burley pointed out, it is a regular starting material.
However, Potter might have considered Kalidou Koulibaly’s experience and Wesley Fofana’s imminent return from injury to be enough to make up for the France international’s absence.
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