Saturday’s 2-0 defeat came after Potter picked a 3-4-3 formation featuring Ruben Loftus-Cheek as a right wing-back, with James starting in the back three.
Pundit Tim Sherwood felt the decision was symptomatic of Chelsea’s poor display and underlined the increasingly unpopular manager’s struggles at Stamford Bridge, particularly given he had central defender Benoit Badiashile available.
“I cannot understand why Reece James is not playing as a right wing-back,” he told Premier League Productions, via Metro.
“You’ve got Badiashile on the bench, why’s he not playing? Because it makes it more solid. They look a threat on the counter, Aston Villa.
“The most offensive player they have is Ben Chilwell. He’s given them the width, he’s playing high up the field, they’ve just got to force that ball in there time and time again and they’re just not doing it, look at the frustration. He’s got a good delivery, he’s a threat.
“This should be a threat on the right side as well but unfortunately it’s not because you’ve got Reece James playing as a right-sided centre-back instead of a right wing-back.
“For me he has to be there, you’ve taken away a lot of what Reece James gives you, which is offensive threat.
“You look at Loftus-Cheek on the right side, if that’s Reece James he would be as high as Chilwell is on the other side, it’d give them a double-pronged attack down the left and right side.”