It wasn’t a happy homecoming for Chelsea manager Graham Potter as he finally suffered his first loss as Blues boss. While that sentence may rhyme, there was certainly not much rhyming or continuity in Potter’s lineup, shape, formation or tactics today. His first Chelsea L came at the hands of the same team that he just left in September, Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Seagulls embarrassed Potter, and their supporters booed Marc Cucurella, who was also coming back to face his old squad and catch up with old mates.
BIG chance for Christian Pulisic ?
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 29, 2022
But the list of Chelsea goats, in this 4-1 rout, is very long, so let’s just dive right in. Conor Gallagher has been a favorite for selection this season while Christian Pulisic has been anything but. However, they do have this common- missing sitters early on! Take a look at the imagery above and below.
Note: this was actually the first time this season that Pulisic has started back to back matches.
Pulisic and Gallagher were hooked in the 79′ for Armando Broja and Hakim Ziyech.
? – Gallagher with a HUGE chance for Chelsea and the rebound by Pulisic doesn’t hit the target. pic.twitter.com/QbFTgZwp6U
— ??? ???? ? (@TheEuropeanLad) October 29, 2022
Potter, for some bizarre, inexplicable reason, continues the Thomas Tuchel tradition of prioritizing the wing back role, and slotting forwards into that position. Pulisic isn’t a wing back, neither is Raheem Sterling, and Potter is ruining both players by making these forwards play a more defensive role.
Pulisic was awful today, but at least he presented some kind of attacking threat. Sterling simply had the scoring opportunities taking away from, before he could even try to make anything from nothing.
Gallagher was terrible too, but at least he didn’t score a goal for the other side.
That dubious distinction, today, belongs to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and he’s not alone. Trevoh Chalobah also “contributed” an own goal.
Overall, it was a total mess, and multiple individuals played their part in producing this disaster at the Amex. Kepa Arrizabalaga, who had been the king of clean sheets this season, reverted back to the subpar form that we have often seen from him ever since he made the switch from La Liga. He was subbed off for Edouard Mendy, who previously had held the No. 1 position over the Spaniard.
It’s also worth noting that Brighton had never beaten Chelsea in league football, ever, until today. Also, Potter had a run of nine unbeaten coming into this match, before the Seagulls emphatically ceased that.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.