Starting XI: Kepa, Fofana, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly, James, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Chilwell, Mount, Aubameyang, Sterling.
Substitutes: Bettinelli, Mendy, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Cucurella, Gallagher, Jorginho, Zakaria, Pulisic, Ziyech, Havertz, Broja.
AC Milan: (4-3-2-1)
Starting XI: Tatarusanu, Ballo, Tomori, Kalulu, Dest, Bennacer, Tonali, Krunic, De Ketelaere, Leao, Giroud.
Substitutes: Mirante, Jungdal, Gabbia, Coubis, Gala Rebic, Diaz, Pobega, Origi.
Referee: Danny Makkelie
A dominant display against the Serie A champions, was exactly what the Blues needed to get this season’s Champions League campaign on track. Potter’s men found the net on three occasions, along with keeping a clean sheet, their first since the start of the season. It was Graham Potter’s first win in the Champions League.
The game did come with its negatives however, as Wesley Fofana went from being on cloud nine after scoring his first goal for Chelsea and in the Champions League, to being forced off the field with a knee injury.
Chelsea weathered an early Milan storm as the game kicked off. Silva was called into action a few times in quick succession, as he put in a near-perfect performance in the centre of Chelsea’s back line.
After soaking up Milan’s pressure, Chelsea’s chances came flooding in from the corners. Thiago Silva was denied by Ciprian Tatarusanu as he headed the ball towards goal from a free kick. A few minutes later, Ben Chilwell put an inch perfect cross in, and on the third attempt, Milan couldn’t clear. Wesley Fofana found himself in the right place at the right time during a goalmouth scramble and was on hand to tap home his first Chelsea goal, 1-0 Chelsea.
Shortly after the first goal, Mason Mount thought he had made it 2-0 with an exquisite chip over AC Milan goalkeeper Tatarusanu, but the offside flag went up against him.
Just as things were looking increasingly good for the Blues, they suffered a setback and were forced into an early substitute. Trevoh Chalobah was called into action halfway through the first half, after Fofana sustained a knee injury forced him into an early substitution. His dream night was brought to an unfortunate end as he was aided off the pitch.
Raheem Sterling could have done much better to give Chelsea a two-goal cushion after being played a lovely through ball from Mount. Sterling hesitated to shoot and allowed Pierre Kalulu to recover with a last-ditch challenge.
Chelsea went into half-time 1-0 and the better side, but their lead was precarious. Right before the first half ended, Rafael Leao danced his way through the Chelsea defence and into the penalty area, where he slid the ball perfectly through to Charles de Ketelaere. The Belgian put the pass on a plate for Rade Krunic, who on the stroke of half-time, blazed his effort over the bar.
Milan came out in the second half with more intent, as Chelsea found themselves on the backfoot in the opening stages. Nothing came of their period of possession, but Chelsea had to suffer. The Blues took a more patient approach in the second half. After Milan’s flurry of possession, Chelsea slowly took control. Mount did exceptionally well to break down the left-hand side of the field, dragging the defence with him and leaving the Italian side short at the back.
For a slight moment it looked like the chance had gone as Mount overcooked his pass, but Reece James did excellently to keep the ball in play. The right-back delivered a perfectly weighted cross into the box, which landed perfectly for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who got ahead of Fikayo Tomori, to tap the ball home for 2-0.
Before Milan had time to regroup and force a comeback, the Blues put the game to bed. Reece James, the standout performer of the night, got himself on the scoresheet. Mount again was involved in the build-up, with the ball then falling to Sterling, who neatly slipped it through to James who made a run in on the right-hand side. James made no mistake when the ball fell to him, smashing it high into the roof of the net at the near post. Chelsea went 3-0 up and looked like the Blues’ side so many fans had been anchoring to see.
The third goal seemed to knock Milan, as they had very little fight left in them. The Italian side seemed more than content to keep the score-line at 3-0, to avoid any more damage.
Chelsea continued to see the game out in a professional manner, maintaining possession without overexerting themselves as they look ahead to a crammed October fixture list. The latter stages of the game weren’t the most entertaining but took nothing away from the performance of Graham Potter’s Chelsea side.
The Blues knew that nothing less than a win would suffice. Coming up against the side deemed to be Chelsea’s toughest competition in the group, they put on a display of quality to kick start their European campaign into life.