Conor Gallagher was the only positive for Chelsea, who faced a 3-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
Brighton took the game to Chelsea from the word go and came close to scoring only two minutes into the match. Thiago Silva had an eventful first five minutes as he gave the ball away twice and made a couple of brilliant goal-line clearances. But the veteran Brazilian defender was not so lucky when Leandro Trossard punished his error to break the deadlock.
Graham Potter, on his return to the Amex Stadium, installed Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling as wing-backs. And Brighton ran the wide duo ragged in a blistering first half, with things going from bad to worse soon for Chelsea. Brighton & Hove Albion doubled their advantage in the 14th minute when Ruben Loftus-Cheek inadvertently scored an own goal from a corner by Solly March.
Chelsea had a few positive moments, but Robert Sanchez stood tall in the Brighton goal. And the hosts went into the break with a three-goal advantage as Trevoh Chalobah deflected the ball into the net from a Pervis Estupinan cross. But the Blues came hot out of the gates and pulled one back through Kai Havertz, who headed in a delivery from Conor Gallagher.
Chelsea pushed for more goals after that, but Brighton stood strong at the back. The Seagulls also carried a threat and should have tested substitute, Edouard Mendy, more in the second period. But the hosts deservedly rounded the win in injury time when Pascal Gross scored from close range. With that, Roberto De Zerbi earned his first win as the Brighton manager.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 29, 2022
Meanwhile, it was a disappointing return for Graham Potter, whose unbeaten start to life as the Chelsea boss ended on Saturday. The result means the west Londoners can fall to seventh in the Premier League standings by the end of the weekend. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Potter’s charges.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 4/10
Kepa should have been on cloud nine after earning a spot in Spain’s 55-man list of probables for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But the Spaniard had an afternoon to forget as he looked flustered and came off his line for no reason at times. While he was not culpable for the three goals, Potter took him off at half-time.
Trevoh Chalobah: 4/10
Chalobah seemed to have the Midas touch of helping Chelsea to an unbeaten result whenever he started. But that ended on Saturday, with Brighton hammering the Blues. And Chalobah was the worst outfield player on the pitch as he was all over the place at the Amex Stadium. Leandro Trossard and Julio Enciso ran him ragged, and it was a wonder how he survived the entire match.
Thiago Silva: 6/10
Silva had an eventful game, and he was top-notch despite his errors, two of which led to strikes from the Brighton. The Brazilian was perhaps the only reason why Chelsea did not suffer a more embarrassing defeat. The Chelsea skipper made two goal-line clearances and held the fort when the Seagulls ran riot. A staggering tally of five blocks shows how colossal he was at times.
📸 – Thiago Silva clears the ball off the line! pic.twitter.com/GTtmopDbky
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) October 29, 2022
Marc Cucurella: 4/10
Cucurella was the Brighton Player of the Year for 2021/22. But like Potter, it was an unhappy return to the Amex Stadium for the Spanish international. The Seagulls’ fans greeted Cucurella with jeers, and he failed to get going all game long. The Spaniard also struggled because Raheem Sterling left him exposed on the left-hand side.
Christian Pulisic: 5/10
Pulisic was one half of the bizarre wing-back pairing for Chelsea and had a horror show on the right flank. The USMNT international unsurprisingly lacked defensive awareness and struggled against Pervis Estupinan. But he looked better after shifting to a more traditional wide-attacking role and created two chances.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 5/10
Loftus-Cheek was one of the guilty parties for Chelsea as he scored the own goal that took the wind out of the Blues’ sails. But the English international found a stable footing after that and helped push his team forward. He created a few openings while misplacing only three passes. Loftus-Cheek showed enough to earn another start despite his own goal.
Mateo Kovacic: 5.5/10
Kovacic was decent in the middle of the park in the face of the relentless Brighton press. But the Croat lost possession a few too many times for comfort, with the Seagulls overrunning him with ease. The former Real Madrid midfielder has seen better days, and this was a mere blip for him.
Raheem Sterling: 4/10
Sterling continued as a wing-back at the Amex Stadium and endured a nightmare of an outing. The English international misplaced half of his attempted passes and did not muster a single shot. So Sterling’s goal drought continued, and he desperately needs some inspiration to rediscover his best.
Conor Gallagher: 7/10
Conor Gallagher’s first half by numbers vs. RB Salzburg:
88% pass accuracy
6/6 ground duels won
3/3 crosses completed
2/2 dribbles completed
2 key passes
1 big chance created
1/1 long ball completed
Too smooth with it. 🕺 pic.twitter.com/wNYIEYKkkp
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 25, 2022
Gallagher was easily the standout performer for Chelsea against Brighton. The English midfielder was the Blues’ best bet to make things happen and came close to scoring in the first half. He played two key passes and barely lost possession despite looking to carve the openings. And Gallagher provided the assist for the goal that Kai Havertz scored.
Mason Mount: 6/10
Mount did not do much wrong this weekend, but he lacked the creativity to trouble Brighton. The English international completed all but five of his attempted passes and tested Robert Sanchez with two shots. However, he should have done more when looking to lay the ball for a teammate.
Kai Havertz: 6/10
Havertz was one of the better performers for Chelsea against Brighton. But the German attacker was like a diesel engine, as he took some time to warm up on Saturday. However, Havertz looked good once he got going and pulled a goal back with a well-placed header. He also created a few half chances and might have usurped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Edouard Mendy: 5/10
Mendy made a surprise appearance off the bench at half-time and was solid between the sticks for the most part. But Brighton pressed the Senegalese goalkeeper aggressively, bringing the worst out of his sub-par ball-playing abilities. Mendy could not have done much to deny Pascal Gross.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
Aubameyang, the player to watch in our preview, replaced Sterling at the hour mark. And the Gabonese striker tested Sanchez almost immediately, only for the Spaniard to parry his effort away. But Chelsea needed more from the former Arsenal captain against Brighton apart from just one shot all game.
Ben Chilwell: 5.5/10
Chilwell replaced Cucurella as Chelsea shifted to a back four. And while the Englishman looked to push the Blues forward, he failed to create a single chance. An outing to forget for Chilwell.
Hakim Ziyech: N/A
Ziyech replaced Gallagher and came close with a free-kick. But that was as good as it got in his short stay.
Armando Broja: N/A
Broja came on for Pulisic and was anonymous in his cameo, not entering the Brighton box even once.