The England international midfielder led the Blues to a 2-0 victory over AC Milan at San Siro. After Chelsea’s opening two Champions League games, which were supposed to be their easier games against Dinamo Zagreb and Red Bull Salzburg, everything seemed bleak. The Blues had only earned one point.
They were in a precarious situation to even qualify if they had lost to AC Milan, but following two straight victories over the Italian champions, they are currently in a prime position to take first place in the group. Their 2-0 victory at San Siro was virtually as simple as their 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge six days earlier, but that was mostly because Milan was down to 10 men after Fikayo Tomori was sent off against his former team, reducing them to 10 men inside of 20 minutes.
Following Tomori’s foul on, Jorginho converted from the spot to score the first goal. The England midfielder then assisted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in scoring the second goal. Since the international break, Graham Potter’s team has now won four straight games, the past three without conceding, and it is obvious that the former Brighton manager is having a great impact on one of Europe’s most gifted teams.
The Performing Side:
Mason Mount: It doesn’t happen often that a player who was the star of the first half is removed from the game at halftime, but Mount was just that. The England midfielder’s substitution was most likely due to the fact that he had received a booking rather than any other reason. He was superb both with and without the ball. He put in a lot of effort to keep up with Theo Hernandez before playing a crucial part in both of the goals scored in the opening period. His dash into the box resulted in the granting of a penalty before his excellent pass set up Aubameyang’s strike. In a magnificent display, Mount came dangerously close to scoring himself from long range.
Rossoneri: The former Rossoneri stars in the Blues’ line-up had nights to remember upon their return to San Siro, in contrast to the ex-Chelsea players wearing Milan jerseys (more on them later). Aubameyang scored and once more appeared to be a continuous threat, and Thiago Silva continued to dominate at the center of the defense. The key intervention by the Brazil international occurred early in the second half when he cleared under pressure after Kepa Arrizabalaga had pushed a dangerous cross toward three ready Milan forwards. Despite being 38 years old, he is still going strong.
Referee: The match was somewhat marred by its stop-start character, with German referee Daniel Siebert also issuing nine yellow cards in addition to Tomori’s red. It was unexpected that there had only been one red card issued by halftime.
The Losing Side:
Fikayo Tomori: These two matches against his previous club were meant to be a chance for Tomori to demonstrate his abilities to Gareth Southgate because there may be a slot at the center of England’s defense up for grabs before the World Cup. Instead, he struggled at Stamford Bridge, and after being sent for tripping Mason Mount in the box at San Siro, he played for less than 20 minutes. In actuality, it was a shockingly harsh decision to give Tomori his marching orders in addition to the penalty, as this reunion between the Chelsea academy graduate and his old side turned out to be a nightmare for him.
Olivier Giroud: Tomori wasn’t the only former Chelsea player to have a bad game against his old team; Giroud also struggled and was taken off just after the hour mark. After receiving a yellow card for dissent following the penalty, the French striker went on to miss a headed opportunity that would have tied the game for Milan just minutes later. Even though he missed the mark entirely, Chelsea immediately celebrated Aubameyang’s goal for a 2-0 lead. After that, Giroud hardly had a kick.
Reece James: Reece James might have been England’s starting right-back at the World Cup because Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold were both injured, and recent performances indicate he is aware of this. He was once again brilliant here, but after a collision with Theo Hernandez, he had to leave the game with what appeared to be a major knee injury. Gareth Southgate and Graham Potter will both be hoping it’s not as awful as it seemed.
The Defensive Side:
Kepa Arrizabalaga: Kepa didn’t have much to perform, particularly following the red card.
Reece James: Before injury caused him to leave after the half, his brilliant through-ball that resulted in the penalty was almost faultless.
Trevoh Chalobah: Rafael Leao caused him some trouble, but overall he was unconcerned.
Thiago Silva: Silva was still completely in charge of everything despite getting older.
Kalidou Koulibaly: Had a bit of a rocky start after returning to Italy, but as the game went on, he made some crucial interventions.
Ben Chilwell: Very quiet because Chelsea’s most effective attacks tended to come from the right.
Difficult to judge whether Potter got his tactics totally right given the discrepancy between the teams for 70 minutes, but picking Mount as part of his front three was definitely a good call given Milan’s strength down their left.
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