Chelsea 3-0 AC Milan: Five things we learned as Leao shines despite Thiago Silva dominance

Chelsea picked up a hugely important win over AC Milan in the Champions League and Express Sport looks at things we learned.

Chelsea news: The Blues beat AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday (Image: GETTY)
Chelsea beat AC Milan 3-0 in a crucial home Champions League tie on Wednesday. Wesley Fofana opened the scoring for the Blues midway through the first half after the visitors were unable to clear a corner, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James sealed the win in the second half. Express Sport looks at five things we learned as Graham Potter collected his first European win as Chelsea boss.

Potter interchangeable
If Chelsea players think they are going to play the same formation for the remainder of the season, they’ve got another thing coming. After switching to four at the back against Crystal Palace at the weekend, it was back to a back three tonight.

Whether Potter is yet to settle on what he feels is his best starting XI, or is going to continue chopping and changing throughout his first few months as boss, that remains to be seen. But with games coming thick and fast, there isn’t a lot of time to perfect multiple systems on the training field.

Kepa No 1?
Edouard Mendy was fit and available for the first time in Potter’s short tenure so far but could only make the bench. Kepa Arrizabalaga was once again given the nod for the third-straight Champions League group match.

Mendy has been No 1 almost ever since making the move from Rennes in 2020. However, the injury may have come at just the wrong time for the Senegal star.

Kepa has hardly put a foot wrong this season and brings different qualities to his direct rival. The proof will be in the pudding if the Spaniard starts again against Wolves on Saturday.

Chelsea news: The Blues are aiming to win the Champions League for a third time (Image: EXPRESS)
Loftus-Cheek isn’t Kante
OK, that’s obvious to say. No one is N’Golo Kante. But Ruben Loftus-Cheek didn’t have the best night in midfield.

The England star was perhaps a surprise inclusion in the middle of the park, getting in ahead of Jorginho and Conor Gallagher. He has played a variety of positions, including at wing-back, but would have been delighted to get an opportunity to impress in his preferred role.

However, any Chelsea player chosen to play a holding role will always be compared to Kante. The Frenchman is very close to a return and Loftus-Cheek hasn’t done enough to keep him out of the side.

Leao impresses on audition
If Chelsea needed confirmation that Rafael Leao would be a good signing, they got it here tonight. The Portugal star was a constant threat on the left-hand side and surely caught the eye of both Potter and Todd Boehly.

There have been comparisons to both Kylian Mbappe and Thierry Henry, with his ability to cut in from the left and score on a regular basis. Reece James and Fofana, and then Trevoh Chalobah when he came on, were given a tough night in west London.

The trio will be hoping Leao will be on their side, rather than against them, at some point soon.

Too much on Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva just oozes class doesn’t he. But Chelsea are relying too much on the 38-year-old, who won’t be able to play every game in this busy period.

Wesley Fofana picked up a knee injury, which will add even more pressure on the Brazilian to play back-to-back games. Silva sat in the middle of the back three against Milan and brings such calmness to the back line.

He is a threat in the opposition’s box too, getting his head on three successive set-pieces in the space of a minute which ultimately led to Chelsea’s opener. The worry for Potter is how his side copes when the experienced star is inevitably given a rest.

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