Chelsea’s resurgence under Graham Potter continues on all fronts after the Blues come away with the full boatload of points after a 2-0 win at the San Siro against holding Serie A champions AC Milan on a contentious evening in Lombardy.
The Blues have now won four in a row under the former Brighton tactician and are a much better version of themselves in comparison to the final weeks of the Thomas Tuchel reign in west London, and they came into tonight’s proceedings brimming with confidence after dispatching Milan at Stamford Bridge last week in a comprehensive 3-0 win in the English capital.
Former Blues center-back Fikayo Tomori, who recently spoke out regarding his motivation to set the record straight tonight will feel aggrieved at the way events unfolded in the nation’s fashion capital, after the English center-back was given his marching orders after seeing a straight red produced by referee Daniel Siebert after being judged to have pulled Mason Mount back when he was through on goal.
Replays showed that a red card could have been harsh but Siebert and the VAR contingent were content with their decision and midfielder Jorginho gave the Premier League outfit a justified lead in the 21st minute before summer addition Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the visitor’s lead just thirteen minutes later when he found himself free in the box after smartly being put through by Mount before finishing low at the near post past Ciprian Tătărușanu.
That would be all that Chelsea needed on the night as they would go on to coast to another credible result under Potter who has now headed-up wins against Crystal Palace and Wolves as well as a brace of results against Milan.
The improvement has been evident and glaring from the club, and they could be primed for another unexpected deep run in Europe while already sitting back in the top-four race on the domestic front.
AC Milan Player Ratings
GK: Ciprian Tătărușanu (6) - Not the best night for the Romanian shot-stopper, though he cannot be held accountable for Jorginho’s penalty, or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s smart finish.
RB: Pierre Kalulu (6) - Has grown leaps and bounds at Milan since last season but it was a difficult night for the Frenchman, like most Milan players, after the club went down a man.
CB: Matteo Gabbia (6) - A booking on the night for the young Italian center-back, who has continued to develop but was put under increased pressure when his central partner was sent walking.
CB: Fikayo Tomori (5) - Given his marching orders in the 18th minute for what can only be described as a very soft foul after Mason Mount went down far too easily in the penalty area.
LB: Theo Hernández (6.5) - A halfway decent outing from the French international defender but it was always going to be difficult on the night after Tomori’s sending-off.
DM: Ismaël Bennacer (6) - Typically one of Milan’s key performers in that deep 6 role, the Algerian international was unable to pull the strings and eventually was overrun through no fault of his own.
CM: Rade Krunić (6) -
CM: Sandro Tonali (6) - Lauded as one of the brightest young talents in the Italian player pool, the central midfielder could not get anything going on the night from a creative standpoint.
RW: Brahim Díaz (6) - Unable to make a real difference for Milan, especially with the Serie A holders going down to ten men which gifted Chelsea license to remain dominant throughout when in possession.
LW: Raphael Leão (7) - Influential as ever from the Portuguese star but was unable to apply the final accent marks on any attacking move that Milan managed to muster on the night, which wasn’t many. A threat nonetheless.
CF: Olivier Giroud (6) - The veteran French striker has been reborn since his arrival at Milan last season but struggled against his former employers and was largely isolated after his side went down a man.
Sub: Sergiño Dest (6) - Perhaps provided a little more than the man he replaced (Díaz) in one or two phases of play but the United States international was unable to be a difference maker overall.
Sub: Tommaso Pobega (6) - On for Bennacer and unable to improve play in the center of the park after his introduction as Chelsea were comfortably in command with no signs of relinquishing control.
Sub: Ante Rebić (6) - More on the periphery at Milan now after the emergence of Leão and the continued contributions of others, with the Croatian international unable to provide a spark on the bench despite the physical nature of his play and pace in open spaces.
Sub: Divock Origi (6) - A cult hero at Liverpool on the back of a cadre of influential Champions League appearances, the Belgian international could not replicate that same influence off the bench tonight.
Sub: Fodé Ballo-Touré (6) - Part of the last throw of the dice by Milan manager Stefano Pioli in the final ten minutes of action but all he could contribute was a yellow card and offered little.
Chelsea Player Ratings
GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga (7) - Strong when called upon and it seems as though the Spanish keeper has officially regained the number-one shirt for the club after a string of much-improved performances.
RCB: Trevoh Chalobah (7.5) - Reserved to a rotational role at Chelsea but a night like tonight is the prime moment for Chalobah to put in the performance that he did to give his new manager something to think about. Very good throughout.
CB: Thiago Silva (7) - Solid as ever as Thiago Silva continues to stand up and be counted despite getting on in years. The veteran center-back remains cool as ever in the heart of the defense.
LCB: Kalidou Koulibaly (7.5) - Fully settled a the club, Koulibaly continues to show why Chelsea stumped up the cash to prize him away from SSC Napoli in the summer, and he should continue to thrive under a Potter system that intently utilizes the full range of his assets.
RWB: Reece James (7) - A good outing from the England international again but will now add his name to the growing list of right-backs that could miss the World Cup under Gareth Southgate due to his removal due to injury.
CM: Jorginho (8) - Some will undoubtedly list Mason Mount as Man of the Match, for just cause, but Jorginho arguably should receive that nomination after an excellent outing in the middle of the park while also completing 97% of his passes. Command and control.
CM: Mateo Kovačić (7) - Credible throughout tonight in the absence of N’Golo Kanté. His box-to-box capabilities make him another ideal option for Potter if he intends to have a Yves Bissouma-type player remain in the XI, especially if Kanté is unavailable.
LWB: Ben Chilwell (7) - Despite the arrival of Marc Cucurella in the summer and Graham Potter not long after, Chilwell continues to prove that he may not be so easily upgraded as he featured well again here, with Qatar surely on his mind.
RAM: Mason Mount (7.5) - Another strong outing from the England international and Cobham Academy standard bearer, with an assist added to his CV and an influential performance in the final third which also led to Jorginho’s converted penalty.
LAM: Raheem Sterling (6) - Struggled to make a significant impact on the night but thankfully, Chelsea did not need to call on his services in a greater capacity. Quiet, and perhaps maybe giving a window for a motivated Christian Pulisic to push him for minutes.
CF: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7) - A prototypical goal from the Gabonese star after he was put through on goal by Mason Mount to double the Blues’ lead. Looking like a smart capture that Potter could continue to utilize more effectively than Tuchel.
Sub: Conor Gallagher (6) - Nothing spectacular from the England midfielder in a period where his future at the club is very much in his hands. Nothing needed from him on the night, but will he start at the weekend?
Sub: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (6) - Minutes will no doubt continue to be limited for the academy graduate despite the arrival of Potter, and being used in a more attacking role might not be the way forward for him to earn additional time on the pitch.
Sub: César Azpilicueta (6.5) - A solid performance from the Spanish veteran who came in to replace the injured Reece James in a role he will likely not feature in regularly this season.
Sub: Kai Havertz (6) - Frustrating from Havertz again. Continues to impress and contribute more regularly when he lines up with the German national team but at Chelsea, he remains incredibly inconsistent. Something has to give.
Sub: Marc Cucurella (N/A) - Did little when coming on for Chilwell, the man he was meant to upgrade on this summer, but through no fault of his own was only given mere minutes in a quick run-out.