Chelsea Keep UCL Knockout Hopes Alive

Chelsea players celebrating after scoring in their 3-0 win over AC Milan

Chelsea ran away 3-0 winners over Serie A champions AC Milan on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge, picking up a valuable three points to keep their UEFA Champions League knockout hopes alive.

New signings Wesley Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both scored against Milan before right-back Reece James capped off the result with a third goal, giving Graham Potter his first ever UCL win.

The Blues move up to 2nd spot in Group E, a point ahead of the Rossoneri. Chelsea face a trip to the San Siro next week for the return fixture, before another away game against RB Salzburg followed by a clash with Dinamo Zagreb at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s result on Wednesday night made it two wins on the bounce for new boss Graham Potter, who remains unbeaten since taking over the Club in early September.

Speaking after the result, Potter expressed how happy he was with the performance, opening up about how the players were aware their level had dropped.

“They [the players] knew the level had dropped a bit and when you do that at this level you can be punished,” said Potter on BT Sport.

“This performance was a credit to the players and my job is just to remind them that they can play at the level they did today.

“The boys have been really open, responsible, honest, they’ve been fantastic to work with. They know they can do better, which is great from a coach’s perspective.”

The undoubted man of the match was Chelsea academy graduate Reece James, who put in a dominant display against the Italian champions, grabbing a goal and an assist from right-wingback. The English International is in fine form, with many putting James up there as the best right-back in world football.

The sentiments are echoed by his manager, who claims James can become a legend at Stamford Bridge.

“Reece is just a fantastic player and a young player so he’s developing all the time. He’ll get better and better as we go.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with him. He’s got a lot to offer and he can play in any game in the world so my job is to help him reach his potential because his potential is beyond the sky.

“We love him and he’s so important for us. His potential is he could be a Chelsea legend and that’s the level he has, but for that to happen he has to be part of a successful team and that’s what we’re working towards.”

Chelsea right-back Reece James
Chelsea right-back Reece James

Another Chelsea academy graduate that played in the fixture, although for Milan, is centre-back Fikayo Tomori. Tomori joined Milan in January 2021 and became an instant success in Serie A. Given the fortunes spent by Chelsea on centre-backs this past summer, Tomori had a point to prove against his old club on Wednesday, with the aim of showing them what they could’ve had.

However, the former Chelsea player had a game to forget against his old club as he was at fault for two of the goals conceded. In the 25th minute, Tomori and his centre-back partner Pierre Kalulu failed to make an effective clearance from a corner, resulting in Chelsea new-boy Fofana grabbing his first goal for the club.

Soon after, Tomori got lucky again after his stray pass was latched on by Mason Mount, who played in Raheem Sterling. Luckily for the Milan defender, his recovery pace bailed him out as he made it back in time to deal with the danger.

But Tomori was caught out just before the 60th minute-mark as he missed a Reece James cross, which fell to Aubameyang behind him who put the chance away, topping off a disastrous return to Stamford Bridge for Tomori.

The only negative for Chelsea from the game against Milan is that new signing and goal-scorer Wesley Fofana was forced off with an injury and subsequently left the stadium on crutches.

The Blues will be hoping to receive some positive news regarding the injury before they face Wolves this weekend, as Potter looks to make it three wins on the bounce for the first time this season.

Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana on the ground after picking up an injury during their 3-0 over AC Milan
Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana on the ground after picking up an injury during their 3-0 over AC Milan