Brighton 4 Chelsea 1: Graham Potter tastes first defeat as Blues boss as stunning Seagulls go on first-half rampage | The Sun
IT had to happen, didn’t it? Graham Potter suffered his first defeat as Chelsea boss back at the Amex.
“Potter, what’s the score,” chanted the home fans as Brighton closed out their first win under his replacement, Roberto De Zerbi.
And how the Seagulls De Zerbi’d it, after a stunning first-half performance against Chelsea.
They were 3-0 up at half time after Leandro Trossard scored early and both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah put through their own net.
But the the biggest own goal came from Potter.
For the second weekend in a row, he sent out the Blues with the wrong formation and system.
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Against Manchester United, the changes Potter made brought his side back into the game and they were good value for a point.
This time, there was no rescuing the situation.
After the Seagulls had flocked all over his team in first half, Potter was given hope by a goal from Kai Havertz in the second half.
But Brighton rallied and completed a fabulous afternoon when Pascal Gross added a fourth in stoppage time.
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The home fans reserved most of their hostility for Marc Cucurella after the defender moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
But they spent most of the afternoon cheering their own side.
Brighton were two up inside 14 minutes and very good value for it.
Chelsea captain Thiago Silva had already headed off the line from Trossard and Pervis Estupinan before his attempted pass was cut out by Trossard.
Kaoru Mitoma returned the ball and the twinkle-toed Belgian danced around Kepa Arrizabalaga before finding a precise finish into the side netting.
The home side kept up the pressure and the latest in a series of corners resulted in Solly March’s delivery being kneed into his own net by Loftus-Cheek.
The Brighton faithful told Potter: “You’re getting sacked in the morning.”
Chelsea finally came to life, and Robert Sanchez made a trio of good saves. First the home goalkeeper kept out Conor Gallagher’s shot and Christian Pulisic fluffed the follow-up.
Then the Spaniard acrobatically tipped away a Gallagher header, before a more routine near-post stop from Kai Havertz.
It was breathless, entertaining stuff.
Brighton regained the ascendancy, with Moises Caicedo firing into the side-netting after a fine move.
Chelsea’s desperation and frustration were summed up by Raheem Sterling taking a tumble in the box and Cucurella body-checking March.
And the Seagull’s supremacy was epitomised by a wonderful third goal. Yes, Chalobah had the final touch but the move that started deep in the home team’s half and ended with Estupinan’s cross was sublime.
Potter rang the changes at half time. The reason for Arrizabalaga’s withdrawal was unclear, but on came Edouard Mendy to play behind a back four in a 4-3-3.
The tide turned inside three minutes of the restart when Gallagher swung in a superb cross that Havertz headed firmly past Sanchez.
The Brighton goalkeeper then stopped Pascal Gross joining the list of own-goalscorers after a Mason Mount cross.
The Chelsea boss tried to build on the momentum with two more substitutions.
Sterling was put out of his misery after a very poor afternoon, in favour of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Cucurella was showered with abuse as he trudged around the pitch perimeter after being replaced by Chilwell.
Sanchez kept out an Aubameyang shot pretty comfortably but the visitors did not make many clear-cut chances.
Home substitute Julio Enciso could have killed the game when he broke with 13 minutes left, but he failed to pass to the unmarked Trossard and saw his shot blocked by Silva.
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Potter’s final throw of the dice was to put on Hakim Ziyech and Armando Broja for the final 11 minutes.
But in stoppage time, Mendy saved twice from Enciso, only to be unable to stop Gross’ follow-up.
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