Chelsea humiliated on the South Coast as Brighton run riot in 4-1 victory – South London News

By Paul Lagan at the Amex Stadium

Chelsea were destroyed in an opening 45 minutes that must be the worst in recent memory as they went three goals down to Brighton, a side who had not won in eight games.

The fact the west Londoners drew the second half 1-1 means absolutely nothing other than three points lost and a drop out of the top four places in the Premier League and a first defeat for Graham Potter, ex-manager of Brighton.

If Manchester United win their game in hand the Blues will drop another place to sixth.

The lack of a truely effective defensive midfielder – N’Golo Kante won’t see action until next year, is hurting Chelsea.

The attacking players seem bereft of confidence – while the defence is just a defensive howler away.

The Jekyll and Hyde performance – the seemingly conquest of Europe continues, but this was very much an exploration of all that can be wrong with the Blues.

No one denies that the squad is talented, it’s just that they need to show that talent.

The reluctant striker KaiHavertz, the wingless wingers in Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling were all too evident.

The only bright spark was two minutes into the second half when Havertz, working on instinct latched onto a great Conor Gallagher cross to pull the game back from the abyss. It was a false perspective.

Brighton did what they needed -closed down space and let Chelsea have the ball in their own half. They were not going to recover from there.

On came strikers Amanddo Broja and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Thiago Silva saved Chelsea twice in the opening five minutes, first he recitified his own error of giving the ball away from a goal kick, but managed to head over the bar the resultant shot on goal. Then he repeated the goal-saving action by heading over the bar from a long-range effort.

But he, nor Chelsea could do anything about going behind on six minutes when Leandro Trossard virtually walked through the Chelsea reguard and, from a tight angle, rounded Kepa before driving a low, left-footer into the far corner of the visitors goal.

Mateo Kovacic was the first man in referee Andrew Madley’s book on 11 minutes for a needless heavy challenge on Solly March.

It got worse for the Blues on 15 minutes when a regulation corner by the home side saw the ball glance off Gallagher ‘s head only to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek to knock the ball into the goal off his knee.

Quite how Chelsea failed to get a goal back three minutes later is unclear, Robert Sanchez denied a Gallagher shot, but the ball fell to Pulisic, who panicked and whacked the simplest of chances over the crossbar.

Sanchez then denied a glancing header by Gallagher at the other end, by tipping the goal-bound effort over his crossbar for a corner.

But with three minutes to go, Brighton with the whole pitch at their command, waltzed through the Chelsea defence again, this time on the left. Trevoh Chalobah was the unfortunate defender to stick out his leg and the ball zipped past Kepa and into the net to make it 3-0.

Head coach Graham Potter resisted the obvious choice of making wholesale changes other than replacing Kepa with Mendy, who must have picked up a muscle strain or knock during the shambles of the first 45 minutes.

A more aggressive start to the second half Chelsea saw Loftus-Cheek pass to Gallagher on the right.

The midfielder put the perfect ball to in-running Havertz who bullet-headed the ball past Sanchez to bring the deficit it back to two on 47 minutes.

Potter decided on more changes when Cucurella and Sterling were replaced by Aubameyang and Ben Chilwell.

Next up for the Blues was striker Broja and Hakim Ziyech who took the places of Pulisic and Gallagher.

It made very little difference, other than leave even more space for Brighton to attack, and while Mendy did his best to hold out Pscal Grob, deep into added time, the Seagull notched up his side’s fourth goal.

Teams: Kepa, Chalobah, Silva, Cucurella, Pulisic, Gallagher, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Sterling, Havertz, Mount

Subs: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Chilwell, Jorginho, Zakaria, Hutchinson, Ziyech, Aubameyang, Broja

Brighton: Sanchez, Webster, Dunk, March, Mac Allister, Trossard, Gross, Lallana, Mitoma, Caicedo, Estupinan

Subs: Steele, Lamptey, Sarmiento, Enciso, Undav, Gilmour, Turns, Furlong, Moran

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