Chelsea will face Liverpool in the Premier League on Tuesday evening as both clubs desperately grapple for European qualification in some capacity to save their miserable seasons.
It has been a last couple of days at Stamford Bridge as Graham Potter was dismissed as manager thanks to an appalling display in a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa that sees the West London outfit in the bottom half of the table.
The Blues hierarchy has named Bruno Saltor as the interim coach until the end of the season in a last-ditch attempt to reverse this disastrous campaign.
If the Spaniard is to reignite Chelsea’s season, then he must consider dropping Marc Cucurella after the summer signing produced yet another nervy and unconvincing display against Unai Emery’s side last time out.
Should Saltor drop Marc Cucurella vs Liverpool?
The 2021 Champions League winners batted off serious interest from Manchester City last year to secure the signing of Cucurella from Brighton for over £60m with add-ons – the eighth most expensive signing in Chelsea history.
The Seagulls’ Player of the Season across the 2021/22 campaign was highly thought of and praised for his versatility, appearing for Brighton as either a wingback or a left-sided centre-back.
However, the 24-year-old has drastically failed to replicate his imperious form on the South Coast and his mistakes played a part in Potter’s abrupt sacking.
The £175k-per-week defender was regularly picked by Potter and Thomas Tuchel but he has only recorded the 15th-highest average rating (6.65) in the squad across 22 league appearances, as per WhoScored.
In Potter’s last game at the helm against Villa, he opted to start with the one-cap international but this trust backfired as he failed to Douglas Luiz’s lofted pass and inadvertently cushioned the ball to the in-form Ollie Watkins, who opened the scoring.
This damning view has been echoed by 1998 World Cup winner Frank Leboeuf, who fervently believes that the defender doesn’t belong at Chelsea.
“The player is not good enough for Chelsea. It’s as simple as that. It’s crazy that they signed him for £60m or £70m, but we can see that he doesn’t belong to this level.”
It is perhaps even more frustrating for fans that Benoit Badiashile, who has arguably been Chelsea’s best performer since the turn of the year, has been dropped whilst the Barcelona youth product continues to be selected.
In a tricky game that will see Mohammed Salah hugging the touchline, it would be a disastrous decision to expect the former Getafe man to contain the league’s most dangerous and electric players.