Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Chelsea 3-0 AC Milan: What Were The Main Talking Points As The Blues Lay Down A Champions League Marker At Stamford Bridge?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 5 Oct 2022

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Knowing that they faced a crucial Champions League showdown on Wednesday night, Chelsea cruised their way to an eye-catching 3-0 romp against AC Milan at Stamford Bridge.

Leapfrogging the defending Italian champions and now sat in pole position to book their knockout stage ticket, goals from Wesley Fofana, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James wrapped up a routine victory for Graham Potter’s new side.

Not really having to get out of second gear and largely untested by a depleted Milan outfit, Chelsea also clinched their first Group E win at the third attempt.

On a night that was largely one-way traffic in west London, we have taken a look at the main talking points as the Blues laid down a real Champions League marker on home soil.

A perfect night for Potter

Finally making his first Premier League appearance as Chelsea boss last weekend as the Blues marked their return from September’s international break, Potter really couldn’t have wished for a better performance from his superstars here.

Eventually snatching a last-gasp 2-1 victory away at Crystal Palace a few days ago after Conor Gallagher’s stunning injury-time winner, the ex-Brighton boss is looking to stamp his identity on the former European champions.

While fans around Stamford Bridge might have been worried to see Fofana limp off the pitch with a knock just 14 minutes after opening the scoring, they did clinch their first clean sheet since August 6th.

With Potter calling on his side to use Wednesday’s display as a platform to build off, Chelsea should be smelling a golden chance when they turn their attention back to domestic duties this weekend.

Looking to find some top-flight stability, Potter’s new squad will be next seen on Saturday afternoon when they welcome a struggling Wolves to Stamford Bridge.

Aubameyang can be the main man for Chelsea

Although Chelsea might have seen Armando Broja put pen to paper on a new long-term deal this summer, it was no secret that the Blues were desperate to add a heavyweight striking option to their ranks.

Watching Timo Werner make his return to RB Leipzig on a permanent basis, some around west London might have been surprised to see Aubameyang arrive at Stamford Bridge on Deadline Day.

Making the move from Barcelona in a deal worth £10.3million, the Gabon international had undoubtedly been tempted to make his Premier League return due to his close relationship with former Chelsea boss, Thomas Tuchel.

However, only making one appearance under his former Borussia Dortmund manager before Tuchel was given his marching orders, Potter has made it clear that Aubameyang remains a crucial part of his plans this season.

Opening up his Chelsea account last weekend on his full debut after producing a wonderful solo strike at Selhurst Park, the ex-Arsenal skipper also notched his 16th Champions League strike here.

Milan unravels under the bright lights

Marking their return from September’s international break last weekend with a routine 3-1 victory away at Empoli, some in AC Milan’s camp could have been smelling the chance to spring an upset in west London.

However, although the defending Italian champions might have been without a host of first-team stars on Wednesday night, Stefano Pioli would have been frustrated by a lacklustre display at Stamford Bridge.

Failing to ask any questions of a Chelsea side that had shown some extended defensive issues since opening the 2022/23 campaign, the Rossoneri also saw their knockout stage dreams take a real dent.

Watching Salzburg extend on their Champions League romp with a 1-0 win at home against Dinamo Zagreb earlier in the day, AC have now slipped down to third in the Group E table and face an uphill struggle.

With attacking talisman and Serie A Player of the Season Rafael Leao almost epitomizing Milan’s toothless display here, the former Lazio boss will be desperate to show that this was nothing more than a minor blip.

Match Report:

Chelsea: Kepa, Fofana, Silva, Koulibaly, James, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Chilwell, Sterling, Mount, Aubameyang

Subs: Havertz, Mount, Jorginho, Gallagher, Chalobah

AC Milan: Tatarusanu, Dest, Kalulu, Tomori, Toure, Tonali, Bennacer, Leao, De Ketelaere, Krunic, Giroud

Subs: Rebic, Origi, Diaz, Gabbia, Pobega

Goals: Fofana (24′), Aubameyang (56′), James (61′)

Yellow Cards: Chelsea: Silva, Kovacic – AC Milan: Tomori, Toure, Krunic

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Danny Makkelie

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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