Premier League giants Chelsea did not have the start to life under new boss Graham Potter that they would have hoped for tonight as the Blues struggled to make their dominance count on the scoresheet in an eventual 1-1 draw against Austrian Bundesliga outfit RB Salzburg at Stamford Bridge.
Potter, who garnered considerable success at Brighton with his ability to push the south coast club above its station in the Premier League during his tenure at the Amex Community Stadium, is facing a different animal entirely when it comes to Chelsea and the Blues failed to deliver the full three points despite some promising tactical signs under the English headmaster.
Despite seeing more than 70% of the ball and generating four times the amount of chances as their Austrian counterparts, Die Roten Bullen return home with a valuable point after second-half substitute Junior Adamu set up center-forward Noah Okafor for the match equalizer to cancel out Raheem Sterling’s strike just after the break which took him to second all-time in the Champions League goal chart among English players.
Regardless of the manner in which the match ended, Potter remained upbeat and positive in the wake of the draw and commended the effort made by his new players in the way they approached proceedings in west London.
But on nights like tonight, Potter will have to quickly begin to guarantee the right sort of result if he is to repay the faith shown in him by new club co-owner Todd Boehly.
The harsh reality now for Chelsea remains that, with just a point in their opening two group stage fixtures against what is lesser opposition on paper, the Blues have now begun life in the 2022-23 Champions League with their worst start to group play in the club’s tournament history. Potter will have to move quickly in a pair of fixtures against Serie A holders AC Milan to get the club back on track if this is not meant to be a short continental campaign this season.
Chelsea Player Ratings
GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga (6.5) - A halfway decent outing from the Spanish keeper but still looks second-rate when stacked against Edouard Mendy.
RCB: César Azpilicueta (7) - The ageless Spanish veteran defender put in another solid shift as part of a back three deployment under new management. Removed as Chelsea looked to find a match winner.
CB: Thiago Silva (7.5) - Timeless as ever, the Brazilian veteran has been one of the club’s best performers this season despite his age and looks set to continue his key contributions under Potter.
LCB: Marc Cucurella (7) - With Potter’s arrival Cucurella looks set to benefit and regularly be picked ahead of Ben Chilwell. He was good overall tonight but can still offer even more.
DM: Jorginho (7) - Was on the radar as a possible player that could have a reduced role given new management but his performance this evening gives Potter something to think about.
RWB: Reece James (7) - A booking perhaps maybe deserves a slightly reduced rating, but Reece James should thrive under his new manager overall and was good on the night.
RCM: Mason Mount (7.5) - Whether or not it remains clear where the England international will be deployed under his new manager, Mount continues to stand up and be counted.
LCM: Mateo Kovačić (6) - The Croatian international may have a clean slate under Potter but he was hardly the presence required tonight given his level of ability.
LWB: Raheem Sterling (7.5) - A goal for the England star in his first performance under his new boss that left many fans hopeful that his contributions are set to increase considerably this season.
RCF: Kai Havertz (6) - A six might possibly be considered generous for the former German wunderkind who continues to struggle during his stint at Stamford Bridge.
LCF: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (6.5) - An assist for Aubameyang in his Chelsea debut but despite his contribution he was largely on the periphery in a new system under Potter.
Sub: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (6) - Another outing from the club academy product that shows he is still off the standard required for him to build a better career at Stamford Bridge.
Sub: Armando Broja (6) - A profile of a striker familiar to Potter, Broja may have to be content with a substitute role after Aubameyang’s arrival. An okay appearance off the bench.
Sub: Conor Gallagher (6) - It becomes more clear by the day that Gallagher’s initial choice to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea may well have been the wrong one.
Sub: Hakim Ziyech (6) - The Moroccan could not have done any worse than Havertz on the night in an attacking role and he could have a new lease on life if he starts to perform when given a chance.
Sub: Christian Pulisic (6) - Calls for Pulisic to come on - or even start - after the first half display by Havertz were not rewarded with something different from the American star.
RB Salzburg Player Ratings
GK: Philipp Köhn (6.5) - Not at fault for Sterling’s goal and generally had a decent night when all factors are taken into account.
RB: Amar Dedic (6.5) - Dedic did what he could from his station on the right side of the defense in a similar outing to his mirror on the other flank in Ulmer.
CB: Bernardo (5.5) - An error leading to Chelsa’s goal marred his contributions on the pitch in what was a frustrating night for the Brazilian.
CB: Strahinja Pavlović (6.5) - Billed as one of the next in line for Serbia, Pavlović performed admirably in defence but a booking gets him a reduced rating here.
LB: Andreas Ulmer (6.5) - One of four players to go into the book tonight for RBS, Ulmer was relatively sound in his duties in all phases of play.
CM: Nicolás Capaldo (6) - A frustrating night in the heart of midfield for Capaldo as Chelsea remained dominant throughout.
CM: Nicolas Seiwald (7) - Just about one of the better performers overall for RBS tonight in a result that certainly flattered to deceive for the Austrians.
CM: Maurits Kjærgaard (6) - A relatively ineffective outing from the Danish midfielder tonight and justifiably removed at half-time in a much-needed tactical tweak.
CAM: Luka Sučić (6) - The budding Croatian creator has been one of the next generation to come through at RBS but did not leave his mark on proceedings with Liverpool potentially watching.
CF: Benjamin Šeško (6) - Was bright in a handful of moments and displayed why bigger clubs were tracking him this summer but ultimately failed to make a difference.
CF: Noah Okafor (7) - A goal for the Swiss striker on the night as his profile continues to grow in Austria this season.
Sub: Lucas Gourna-Douath (6.5) - A slightly improved contribution from Gourna-Douath when he replaced Kjærgaard at the interval which could serve him well moving forward.
Sub: Junior Adamu (7) - An effective appearance off the bench fro Adamu that saw him bag the assist on Okafor’s equalizer.
Sub: Dijon Kameri () - Tasked with replacing the talented Sučić who struggled in his own right, Kameri was unable to offer anything to the contrary off the bench.
Sub: Sékou Koïta (N/A) - Five minutes plus stoppage off the bench was hardly enough to judge Koïta’s night on.