Potter pleased to have Felix back for Chelsea's trip to West Ham
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Chelsea boss Graham Potter made his feelings clear on misfiring forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang by leaving him out of the squad once again for Saturday’s meeting with West Ham United at the London Stadium. The Gabon international has endured a torrid time of things since joining the Blues from Barcelona over the summer and it seems as though his situation in west London is not going to improve any time soon unless something drastic changes.
Aubameyang has played just 116 minutes of Premier League football since the turn of the year and was not even included on the bench for Chelsea’s goalless draw with Fulham at the start of this month to mark a dramatic fall from grace for the 33-year-old marksman. It went from bad to worse for Aubameyang on Saturday when he was left out of Potter’s squad for the second match in a row against West Ham, leaving his future at the club in limbo.
The former Arsenal striker was one of just three fit Chelsea players not named in the 20-man group to face the Hammers, with Kalidou Koulibaly and Lewis Hall also missing out on the action. Raheem Sterling was also rested by Potter but his absence was expected after picking up a knock in training earlier in the week.
It remains to be seen where Aubameyang goes from here after being dropped from Chelsea’s squad for the Champions League knockout stages earlier this month, with his opportunities in the Premier League having dried up in the weeks since. He was recently linked with an escape route in the form of a move to the MLS with Los Angeles FC, who reportedly held talks with Chelsea over a possible loan deal until the end of the season.
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Aubameyang has since turned down the opportunity to join LAFC as he remains determined to stay and fight for his place at Stamford Bridge, according to The Telegraph, while Potter recently insisted that he is not closing the book on the forward by leaving him out of recent matchday squads which suggests that he could still play a role for Chelsea before the campaign draws to a close.
“Sometimes situations are difficult, which this one is,” said Potter. “We have got Joao [Felix], we have Kai [Havertz], we have got David [Datro Fofana], but that’s not to say it’s a terminal situation for Pierre. We had to be honest with him and give him time and that was the reason why he was out of the previous match.
“But while he is here it’s not to say that will always be the case. That’s why how he has acted and responded has been really good. Nothing to report [regarding LAFC’s interest], he’s been training with us this week and training really well. A really good professional, supporting his team-mates. He’s doing everything I expect, training well and acting well.”
Aubameyang has scored three goals in all competitions for Chelsea over the course of this season and shone in the two Champions League group stage victories over AC Milan, which have been hailed as the team’s best performances under the guidance of Potter to date. However, only time will tell if he manages to work his way back into the first-team fold on a regular basis as he looks to revive his career at Stamford Bridge over the coming months.
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