'Sacked in the morning!' - Chelsea winners, losers & ratings as Pulisic & Co flop badly to ruin Potter's Brighton return
Chelsea manager Graham Potter suffered a nightmare return to former club Brighton as his side were outclassed by the Seagulls at the Amex.
Thiago Silva had already been forced to head two Brighton chances off the line by the time Leandro Trossard opened the scoring after just five minutes on the south coast.
Potter's afternoon then went from bad to worse as he saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek score an own goal before Trevoh Chalobah also left Kepa Arrizabalaga picking the ball out of his own net before half-time.
The Chelsea boss, who was roundly booed, made changes at the break and did see Kai Havertz pull one back shortly after half-time to offer the Blues hope of a comeback.
Brighton were not to be denied, however, as they held on to claim all three points and even scored a fourth late on to hand Potter his first Premier League defeat since taking charge at Stamford Bridge.
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Chelsea could not get to grips with the Brighton attacker who opened the scoring and produced yet another impressive display at the Amex.
The goal was Trossard’s seventh of the season - and his 25th in the Premier League. He’s also proving to be the man for the big occasion, having scored against Liverpool, Manchester City and now Chelsea in 2022-23.
Trossard, naturally, has attracted admiring glances from Graham Potter's new employers and after impressing for Brighton once again, speculation over a move will surely only grow.
The Brighton supporters certainly enjoyed themselves on Saturday as they saw both Potter and Marc Cucurella endure miserable returns to the south coast.
Potter was comprehensively beaten by opposite number Roberto De Zerbi, leading to gleeful chants from the home faithful. 'You’re getting sacked in the morning' will undoubtedly still be ringing in Potter's ears.
Cucurella was also targeted by fans after swapping the south coast for Stamford Bridge in a £55 million deal.
The defender was booed in the early stages and Brighton fans will have loved seeing his replacement, Pervis Estupinan, shine while Cucurella struggled and was hooked on the hour.
Mendy may just have a shot at redemption at Chelsea after coming on at half-time for the unfortunate Kepa, who appeared to pick up an injury.
The 30-year-old had not featured since the win over West Ham at the start of the September but could get a run of games if Kepa is now forced onto the sidelines.
Mendy did look a little nervous in the opening stages of the second half and had a few awkward moments but does appear to now have a chance to stake a claim for the No. 1 spot once again.
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The Chelsea boss endured a horror return to Brighton and saw his team beaten by the time the half-time whistle sounded at the Amex.
Brighton were three goals to the good by the break in a commanding first-half performance and it’s no exaggeration to say the Seagulls could have had a few more as they carved Chelsea open at will.
Brighton's intensity and desire was simply too much for their opponents, who surrendered possession meekly and slipped to a first league defeat under their new coach.
Potter did make changes at the break, which brought about some improvement, but it was a case of too little too late by the Chelsea boss.
Not an afternoon he'll remember fondly.
Potter named the USMNT star in his line-up for the second match in a row but he's likely to be heading back to the bench after another underwhelming performance.
Pulisic really ought to have scored in the first half when Robert Sanchez parried Conor Gallagher's effort into his path but he couldn't even find the target, let alone work the goalkeeper. It was a terrible miss.
The rest of the game largely passed Pulisic by and it was no surprise to see him hooked in the second half as Potter searched desperately for a way back into the match.
Chelsea's back three:
Chelsea reverted to a back three but the decision backfired spectacularly as the Seagulls scored four and will feel they could have had a few more too.
The visitors looked defensively frail throughout the 90 minutes as De Zerbi's attacking, aggressive approach paid off and exposed Chelsea's defensive limitations.
Cucurella and Trevoh Chalobah both found it tough going on either side of Thiago Silva and received little help from Sterling and Pulisic as the two wing-backs.
Potter may decide to rethink his formation now, particularly with key games against Arsenal, Manchester City, and Newcastle to come before the 2022 World Cup.
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Chelsea Ratings: Defence
Kepa Arrizabalaga (5/10): Couldn’t do to too much about any of the goals as the Chelsea backline was simply overrun by a rampant Brighton. Taken off at half-time after appearing to suffer an injury.
Trevoh Chalobah (3/10): Couldn’t get to grips with Pervis Estupinan and made it 3-0 to Brighton with an own goal.
Thiago Silva (3/10): An error-strewn performance from the Brazilian. He did head two Brighton efforts off the line but one stemmed from his own mistake. The defender was also at fault for the opener and his poor touch helped the visitors add a fourth late on.
Marc Cucurella (4/10): Not a happy return to Brighton for the left-back who was booed by the home fans and found Solly March a tricky opponent. Taken off after an hour and replaced by Ben Chilwell.
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Raheem Sterling (5/10): Another game without a goal for Sterling, although he did set up two good chances for Conor Gallagher in the first half and will be disappointed neither ended in a goal.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (4/10): Part of a Chelsea midfield that was overrun in the first half. Made it 2-0 to Brighton with an own goal when he stuck out a leg from a corner.
Mateo Kovacic (5/10): Booked for an early challenge after clattering Solly March and couldn't get a grip on the game.
Conor Gallagher (6/10): Will feel he ought to have scored at least once in the first half. Missed a great chance to pull one back after being played in by Sterling and then saw a header saved. Did set up Havertz's goal with a good cross.
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Mason Mount (4/10): Offered very little in a quiet display.
Kai Havertz (6/10): A powerful header got Chelsea back in it at the start of the second half but he did waste other good chances to reduce the deficit further and pile the pressure on Brighton.
Christian Pulisic (4/10): Started for the second game in a row for the first time this season but did very little. Ought to have scored with a chance when Gallagher’s header was saved but put his effort wide
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Subs and manager
Edouard Mendy (6/10): Replaced Kepa at half-time but had a few shaky moments.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (5/10): Brought on for the last 30 minutes but couldn't find a goal.
Ben Chilwell (5/10): Replaced Cucurella for the last half an hour.
Hakim Ziyech (N/A): Thrown on when the game was already gone.
Armando Broja (N/A): Couldn't make an impact in his short time on the pitch.
Graham Potter (3/10): A game to forget for the manager on his first return to Brighton. His team were overrun in the first half and could have been more than 3-0 down. Potter did make changes at the break but it was too late and his side were deservedly beaten.