Chelsea boss Graham Potter was brutally mocked by a number of Brighton supporters after the Seagulls raced into a three-goal lead over the west Londoners on Saturday. Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel in the Chelsea dugout earlier this month after a successful three-year spell in charge of Brighton, who managed to consolidate their status as a mid-table Premier League club under his guidance.
The 47-year-old returned to the Amex Stadium for the first time since leaving Brighton on Saturday but was left red-faced when his former club scored two early goals to blow Chelsea away in a brilliant first-half showing. Leandro Trossard got Brighton off the mark when he danced around Kepa Arrizabalaga to put the ball into an empty net before Ruben Loftus-Cheek diverted a corner into his own goal after just 14 minutes.
It was not the return that Potter would have been hoping for at Brighton, who produced arguably their best performance of the campaign so far in the first half against Chelsea. The home fans went on to poke fun at their former manager in the aftermath of the second goal by chanting: “You’re getting sacked in the morning!”
The match quickly went from bad to worse for Chelsea, who conceded a third goal just before the half-time whistle when Trevoh Chalobah diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper to further extend Brighton’s lead. The Blues were simply not at the races throughout the opening 45 minutes while full credit should also be given to Brighton, who flew out of the blocks to put the visitors to the sword.
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Former Scotland winger Pat Nevin hailed Brighton’s impressive first-half performance at half-time, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “It has been a great game of football. Chelsea have helped Brighton by scoring two of their goals for them and they have been ridiculously open.
“That’s the right scoreline but Brighton deserve to be that far ahead because they haven’t sat back. It’s all about the positivity for that Brighton team. Well done for [Roberto] De Zerbi. The fans are going to grow to love him, almost as much as they dislike the other manager at the moment.”
De Zerbi replaced Potter at Brighton upon the latter’s move to Chelsea earlier this season and will be hoping to keep the Seagulls firing on all cylinders between now and the end of the campaign. They managed to secure an impressive eighth-placed finish in the Premier League last time around but will be hoping to challenge for a top-six berth under the guidance of De Zerbi, who impressed at Shakhtar Donetsk before he was snapped up by Brighton.
Potter, meanwhile, will be desperate to bounce back after Saturday’s first-half humbling as Chelsea look to establish themselves in the division’s top four over the coming weeks. They will be aiming to restore their winning momentum in the Champions League against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday before they welcome high-flying Arsenal to Stamford Bridge four days later.
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