Teamwork makes the dream work

Chelsea beat AC Milan in Potter’s first Champions League win

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LONDON — Chelsea stored their Champions League hopes alive with a dominant 3-0 win over AC Milan at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Wesley Fofana opened the scoring for Chelsea together with his first-half purpose within the twenty fourth minute, however was pressured off injured simply 14 minutes later. AC Milan had spells of possession but it surely was Chelsea who took cost of the match within the second half with objectives from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James.

That allowed Graham Potter to empty the bench and luxuriate in his first Champions League victory accountable for Chelsea, however extra importantly, it was their first win within the competitors this season and retains them within the combine for a spot within the knockout phases.

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JUMP TO: Participant scores | Greatest/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Publish-match quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Fast Response

1. Chelsea delivered in early check of Potter period

Potter didn’t get a lot of an opportunity for a settling in interval at Chelsea. The 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb of their opening Champions League match of the season, in what proved to be Thomas Tuchel’s last match accountable for the membership, put Chelsea on the backfoot. In Potter’s first match in cost, they solely managed a 1-1 draw with FC Salzburg at Stamford Bridge which meant tonight’s was a must-win for Potter — lose and their Champions League hopes could be left hanging by a thread and reliant on different outcomes.

However Potter’s Chelsea delivered. This was by far their finest efficiency of the three in his tenure as they pressed and pulled AC Milan everywhere in the pitch. Whereas the Serie A champions had some respectable possibilities, Chelsea managed a lot of the match and you’ll see the group rising more and more acquainted as a bunch beneath Potter’s cost. It is a philosophy based mostly on overloads, and attacking on the proper moments at blistering tempo. This group are suited neatly to that with the likes of James, Sterling and Aubameyang all implausible.

The 2 central midfielders in Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic performed properly in a pair, switching up who heads ahead and who holds again. After which there was the veteran Thiago Silva on the again who was magnificent. It was his trio of headers from successive set items within the first half which triggered the eventual scramble to permit Fofana to attain his first for the membership and Chelsea’s opener.

And importantly, Kepa Arrizabalaga stored a clear sheet within the Chelsea purpose. With Edouard Mendy match once more having missed Potter’s first two matches, it was going to be fascinating to see who began and it was Kepa, who was so typically second-choice beneath Tuchel. At any time when Kepa was referred to as upon, he did what was wanted.

2. Sterling, Aubameyang shine on entrance line regardless of Mount frustration

Chelsea’s entrance three clicked in opposition to AC Milan. Although Mason Mount is but to attain this season, you may’t think about Potter goes to vary issues up a lot after seeing his entrance three gel like they did on Wednesday night.

Aubameyang put in his finest efficiency but in a Chelsea shirt on his third look as his motion continually pulled AC Milan’s defence out of place. He grabbed his second in as many matches with a neat end off the again of James’ cross within the second half.

Elsewhere, Sterling and James are working brilliantly down Chelsea’s proper aspect with the 2 continuously overlapping each other. It was his help which noticed James end confidently from shut vary for Chelsea’s third. The medium-term image on the opposite flank remains to be a bit ambiguous what with Marc Cucurella on the bench and Chelsea having a wealth of attacking expertise, however Mount and Ben Chilwell dovetailed properly in opposition to Milan.

One in every of Potter’s first principal duties will likely be to get Mount’s confidence again up. Mount will likely be determined to get off the mark this season for Chelsea but it surely’s not for need of attempting. He had a shot well-saved within the first half and one other effort — a neat chip — dominated out attributable to being offside.

3. Leao proves why he is AC Milan key man amid switch hyperlinks

Chelsea made an enquiry about AC Milan’s attacker Rafael Leao in the summertime, and you’ll see why he is one in every of Europe’s most sought-after skills. He had moments of breath-taking ability, however he is excess of only a field of tips. His motion makes him so onerous to choose up — twice within the first-half he glided by way of half of southwest London into the Chelsea penalty space. The second dart previous Reece James — no imply feat — resulted in Charles de Ketelaere having his shot parried by Kepa and providing Rade Krunic an awesome likelihood, however he was unable to transform from eight yards out with the online gaping on the stroke of half time. He additionally had one eye-catching dart within the second half to go away Thiago Silva in his wake however his tried go to Olivier Giroud was intercepted.

After all the sight of watching Leao dancing by way of a defence is nothing new to the followers of Serie A and AC Milan. He is been distinctive for Pioli’s aspect. He was instrumental of their cost to the Scudetto final time period, and already has 4 objectives and 4 assists in seven Serie A matches this season. However Leao’s means was there for all to see and if the Premier League is to be an eventual vacation spot for the 23-year-old Portugal ahead, then this was an excellent audition.

Whereas Leao was the main target of a lot consideration, there was additionally a watch on Fikayo Tomori‘s homecoming. He was a youth product at Chelsea however left the membership for AC Milan in 2021 and has established himself as an indispensable a part of their group. He performed properly on his return to Stamford Bridge and was undoubtedly one in every of AC Milan’s extra spectacular performers on the evening however will likely be pissed off at being unable to chop out James’ cross for Aubameyang’s purpose.

Participant scores

Chelsea: Kepa 7, Koulibaly 7, Thiago Silva 8, Fofana 7, James 8, Chilwell 7, Loftus-Cheek 8, Kovacic 7, Mount 7, Sterling 7, Aubameyang 8
Subs: Chalobah 7, Gallagher 7, Jorginho 6, Broja 6, Havertz 7

AC Milan: Tatarusanu 6, Dest 5, Kalulu 6, Tomori 6, Ballo-Toure 6, Tonali 5, Bennacer 6, De Ketelaere 5, Rafael Leao 6, Krunic 5, Giroud 5
Subs: Rebic 5, Gabbia 6, Origi 5, Pogeba 5, Brahim Diaz 5

Greatest and worst performers

BEST: Thiago Silva, Chelsea.

Aubameyang, Sterling, James and Loftus-Cheek all performed properly, however the Brazil defender was excellent on the again. The 38-year-old was the primary Chelsea participant to actually get near Leao and it was his barrage of headers within the first half that gave Fofana a platform to attain their opener. He was excellent.

WORST: Rade Krunic, AC Milan.

There are a number of candidates from AC Milan right here, however Krunic actually struggled. Ben Chilwell stored him quiet and Krunic squandered AC Milan’s finest likelihood of the match on the stroke of half-time as he didn’t convert from a number of metres out.

Highlights and notable moments

A pinpoint cross by Reece James to provide Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang his first Champions League purpose in practically 5 years.

A key save by Kepa proper earlier than halftime that will have modified the dynamics of the sport had the ball gone in.

After the match: What the managers, gamers stated

Chelsea coach Graham Potter: “Delighted with the efficiency and perspective in opposition to high opponents. I believed we needed to react properly and we did. We needed to endure as properly which is sweet to do. I am actually happy for the gamers and that is an excellent begin for us.

“Chelsea vs. AC Milan is a implausible soccer match and to be concerned in it’s one thing I am grateful for, however to win the match is nice. We have to get well now and go once more on the weekend.”

Potter on Wesley Fofana’s harm: “We do not know but. That is the one disappointing factor on the night. He wants a scan tomorrow and fingers crossed. I would not wish to speculate on it, however we’re involved, and we’ll have the scan tomorrow.”

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli: “We might’ve performed higher, it is clear our opponents performed at a really, very excessive degree however our accuracy wasn’t nearly as good because it ought to’ve been. After a few minutes we began doing issues we weren’t meant to be doing and our opponents might exploit area behind us shortly.

“It wasn’t an excellent night, that is simply an episode. We weren’t harmful in any respect and did not do sufficient in entrance of the opposition purpose. It wasn’t our day at present. We knew it was going to be a tricky sport, however mentally, we did not play as a group.”

Chelsea’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, to BT Sport: “It was not a straightforward sport. They performed properly within the first half. Then we stored the depth actually excessive. We had been assured.”

Key Stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Info)

– Regardless of his time at Arsenal and Barcelona, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had his first Champions League purpose since he scored a Dec. 6, 2017 brace vs. Actual Madrid again when he performed for Borussia Dortmund.

– Earlier than Wednesday evening, AC Milan had by no means misplaced a Champions League group stage sport by 3+ objectives. They’ve misplaced by that margin on 5 events in knockout spherical matches.

Up subsequent

Chelsea: Again to Premier League motion with Wolverhampton Wanderers visiting on Saturday, then off to the San Siro in opposition to AC Milan subsequent Tuesday.

AC Milan: A pair huge residence matches on the horizon, with Serie A rivals Juventus coming by way of on Saturday earlier than Chelsea’s go to on Tuesday.

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