LONDON — Chelsea saved their Champions League hopes alive with a dominant 3-zero win over AC Milan at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Wesley Fofana opened the scoring for Chelsea along with his first-1/2 purpose inside the twenty fourth minute, but changed into pressured off injured simply 14 mins later. AC Milan had spells of possession however it changed into Chelsea who took price of the match within the 2nd half of with dreams from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James.
That allowed Graham Potter to drain the bench and experience his first Champions League victory in charge of Chelsea, but more importantly, it become their first win within the competition this season and continues them within the blend for a gap within the knockout tiers.
- Chelsea added in early check of Potter generation
Potter did not get plenty of a hazard for a settling in length at Chelsea. The 1-zero defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in their commencing Champions League match of the season, in what proved to be Thomas Tuchel’s final in shape in rate of the club, put Chelsea on the backfoot. In Potter’s first in shape in fee, they best controlled a 1-1 draw with FC Salzburg at Stamford Bridge which meant tonight’s changed into a should-win for Potter — lose and their Champions League hopes would be left putting by means of a thread and reliant on other consequences.
However Potter’s Chelsea added. This was by means of a ways their exceptional performance of the 3 in his tenure as they pressed and pulled AC Milan all over the pitch. Whilst the Serie A champions had some first rate probabilities, Chelsea managed tons of the fit and you could see the group growing more and more familiar as a group below Potter’s rate. It’s a philosophy primarily based on overloads, and attacking at the right moments at blistering tempo. This institution are suitable neatly to that with the likes of James, Sterling and Aubameyang all top notch.
The 2 central midfielders in Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic played nicely in a couple, switching up who heads forward and who holds returned. After which there was the veteran Thiago Silva at the back who changed into incredible. It changed into his trio of headers from successive set pieces inside the first 1/2 which precipitated the eventual scramble to allow Fofana to score his first for the membership and Chelsea’s opener.
And importantly, Kepa Arrizabalaga stored a easy sheet inside the Chelsea aim. With Edouard Mendy suit once more having missed Potter’s first suits, it became going to be captivating to look who started and it was Kepa, who changed into so often 2nd-desire under Tuchel. Whenever Kepa was called upon, he did what became wished.
- Sterling, Aubameyang shine on front line no matter Mount frustration
Chelsea’s front 3 clicked against AC Milan. Although Mason Mount is yet to attain this season, you cannot imagine Potter goes to alternate matters up tons after seeing his front 3 gel like they did on Wednesday nighttime.
Aubameyang installed his first-rate performance yet in a Chelsea blouse on his 1/3 appearance as his motion continuously pulled AC Milan’s defence out of position. He grabbed his 2nd in as many fits with a neat finish off the returned of James’ go inside the 2d half.
Someplace else, Sterling and James are operating brilliantly down Chelsea’s right facet with the 2 often overlapping each other. It was his assist which saw James finish with a bit of luck from close range for Chelsea’s third. The medium-time period image on the alternative flank remains a touch ambiguous what with Marc Cucurella on the bench and Chelsea having a wealth of attacking talent, but Mount and Ben Chilwell dovetailed properly towards Milan.
Considered one of Potter’s first essential duties will be to get Mount’s self assurance lower back up. Mount could be determined to get off the mark this season for Chelsea but it is now not for need of trying. He had a shot nicely-stored in the first 1/2 and every other effort — a neat chip — ruled out because of being offside.
3. Leao proves why he’s AC Milan key man amid transfer links
Chelsea made an enquiry about AC Milan’s attacker Rafael Leao within the summer, and you can see why he is one in every of Europe’s maximum sought-after skills. He had moments of breath-taking talent, but he is far more than just a field of hints. His movement makes him so difficult to pick out up — two times within the first-1/2 he glided via half of of southwest London into the Chelsea penalty location. The second dart past Reece James — no suggest feat — led to Charles de Ketelaere having his shot parried with the aid of Kepa and presenting Rade Krunic a great chance, but he became unable to convert from 8 yards out with the net gaping on the stroke of half time. He additionally had one pleasing dart in the 2d half of to depart Thiago Silva in his wake but his tried pass to Olivier Giroud turned into intercepted.
Of direction the sight of looking Leao dancing through a defence is not anything new to the followers of Serie A and AC Milan. He’s been excellent for Pioli’s facet. He became instrumental of their charge to the Scudetto final time period, and already has 4 desires and four assists in seven Serie A matches this season. But Leao’s ability became there for all to see and if the top of the line League is to be an eventual vacation spot for the 23-12 months-antique Portugal ahead, then this changed into a notable audition.
Whilst Leao became the focal point of much attention, there was additionally a watch on Fikayo Tomori’s homecoming. He changed into a adolescents product at Chelsea however left the membership for AC Milan in 2021 and has established himself as an quintessential a part of their group. He performed properly on his go back to Stamford Bridge and became certainly considered one of AC Milan’s extra amazing performers on the night time however will be frustrated at being not able to cut out James’ go for Aubameyang’s goal.
Chelsea: Kepa 7, Koulibaly 7, Thiago Silva 8, Fofana 7, James 8, Chilwell 7, Loftus-Cheek eight, Kovacic 7, Mount 7, Sterling 7, Aubameyang eight
Subs: Chalobah 7, Gallagher 7, Jorginho 6, Broja 6, Havertz 7
AC Milan: Tatarusanu 6, Dest five, Kalulu 6, Tomori 6, Ballo-Toure 6, Tonali five, Bennacer 6, De Ketelaere 5, Rafael Leao 6, Krunic five, Giroud five
Subs: Rebic five, Gabbia 6, Origi five, Pogeba five, Brahim Diaz five
Satisfactory and worst performers
Pleasant: Thiago Silva, Chelsea.
Aubameyang, Sterling, James and Loftus-Cheek all performed well, however the Brazil defender turned into super on the again. The 38-12 months-old changed into the primary Chelsea participant to virtually get close to Leao and it changed into his barrage of headers within the first half of that gave Fofana a platform to attain their opener. He became superb.
WORST: Rade Krunic, AC Milan.
There are some candidates from AC Milan right here, however Krunic surely struggled. Ben Chilwell stored him quiet and Krunic squandered AC Milan’s satisfactory threat of the fit on the stroke of half-time as he failed to convert from a few metres out.