Brighton smash Chelsea in Graham Potter’s nightmare Amex return (video)
Brighton and Hove Albion stopped former boss Graham Potter’s dream Chelsea start in its tracks, scoring early and often in a 4-1 win at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
New Seagulls manager Roberto De Zerbi got a delightful first win in charge, as Potter was booed by the Brighton faithful on one more than one occasion.
Leandro Trossard opened the scoring before a pair of Chelsea own goals gave Brighton a three-goal halftime lead. Kai Havertz pulled one back for Chelsea but Pascal Gross scored in stoppage time to complete the score line.
Chelsea now sits fifth with 21 points, two spots and three points ahead of the victorious hosts.
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What we learned from Brighton vs Chelsea
Blues need a break, Seagulls quite comfortable: Brighton still needs a center forward to achieve its potential, but everything else looks as it did under Potter and that’s a good thing. Sure, Roberto De Zerbi has added a wrinkle or two, but the Seagulls weren’t broken when Potter left for London and the Italian coach is just making sure the gears are clicking and the fluids are topped off (so to speak). It’s working. Brighton’s further along in its project than Chelsea, and perhaps the result shouldn’t be such a surprise considering the architect of both is the same man.
Special Trossard: Leandro Trossard is an every-game Belgian national team player, whether starting or on the bench, so perhaps we should treat him as such going into every game. Right now, he’s Brighton’s main threat to score and should be viewed as such by fantasy managers and fans alike heading into a match day. He’s very, very good.
Christian Pulisic starts again: The USMNT man started the game at right wing back and that was good going forward and not so good going back for Potter, who thrust the American into a more attacking role to try and aid the comeback. Pulisic was carved up on one of Brighton’s goals, but drew two fouls and won 9-of-11 duels while completing to key passes. He also missed a fairly-open goal.
Potter won’t be harshly judging Pulisic and fellow wingback Raheem Sterling, as he said they did their jobs in an unsuccessful game plan.
Graham Potter reaction: Booing happens
“Like I said before the game, I didn’t have any expectations,” Potter said when asked of the Brighton stadium’s reaction. “I have nothing to say sorry for or apologise for. I did a good job. You can see the team is a good team. I took over when they were fourth from bottom in the Premier League and were probably the third-worst team. There is a lot of money been raised in terms of player sales and a lot of good players on the pitch. I hope for their sake, the next managers do as good a job, and that’s brilliant for them
Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo were the perfect foil for Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the midfield, and there’s not much more to say about how the tactical battle played out at the Amex.
Potter pulled goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for Edouard Mendy at halftime, though it’s hard to pin the 3-0 deficit on the starter. Perhaps this was the ice hockey way of sending a message through the team by false-scapegoating the goalie.
Stars of the show
Alexis Mac Allister: Perhaps the breakout returning player of this Premier League season.
Conor Gallagher: Assisted the Havertz goal as part of a strong day.
Robert Sanchez: Seven saves and three high claims in the win.
Kaoru Mitoma: He may still be running. Endless energy made the Brighton pest a Saturday star.
Brighton’s off to Wolves at 11am ET Saturday, while Chelsea will host Arsenal at 7am ET the following day.
Leandro Trossard goal video: Brighton goes in front
Chelsea own goal video x2
Kai Havertz goal video: Chelsea pulls one back
Pascal Gross goal video: Seagulls restore three-goal advantage
How to watch Brighton vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, SaturdayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
De Zerbi’s Brighton have continued where Potter left off and they look very similar with a few more attack-minded tweaks in their play. That has yet to yield a win but it feels like they aren’t far off grabbing a big victory. Brighton’s players will want to make a point to Potter that he should have stayed, while some may think they could be in line for a move to Chelsea if they impress. As for the Blues, well, Potter continues to rotate his lineup expertly and the likes of Azpilicueta, Mount and Loftus-Cheek are all likely to start at Brighton.
In-form players to keep an eye on
Brighton’s Leandro Trossard has scored four goals in his last five games, including a hat trick at Liverpool, and those are the only four goals Brighton have scored so far under De Zerbi. The Belgian ace is in fine form ahead of the World Cup and his hybrid role on the left flank causes so many problems. Chelsea’s Mason Mount has been excellent in recent weeks, while Kepa Arrizabalaga has been sensational in goal and is keeping Edouard Mendy out of the team.
Brighton team news, injuries, lineup options
Jakub Moder and Kaoru Mitoma remain out with long-term issues, while Adam Lallana and Joel Veltman are both doubts with the latter unlikely to feature. Tariq Lamptey and Pervis Estupinan could come into the starting lineup.
Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options
Chelsea are without star players Reece James, Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kante, while Kalidou Koulibaly remains a doubt with a knee injury. Potter will likely rotate his team once again and it will be intriguing to see if Pulisic and Sterling will be deployed in the hybrid wing-back roles the Chelsea boss loves to use. Or will he go with a more conventional 4-2-3-1 system against his former club?