Can Graham Potter inspire Chelsea’s first UCL win this season? 

Chirag Gupta
By Chirag Gupta
6 Min Read

Graham Potter now is expected to be settled at Stamford Bridge as the team enters a very hectic run of games. After the sacking of Tuchel and suspension of a couple of games, this might be Chelsea’s biggest test in a while. They currently sit at the rock bottom of their 2022/23 Champions League group, and any points dropped here would mean a very difficult campaign ahead. The win against Crystal Palace in the Premier League this weekend might be a confidence booster but cannot hide the recent vows that continue to haunt the squad.

The game against AC Milan is probably the most difficult fixture for Chelsea in the UCL group, and many predicted this to be the tie that decides who tops the group. However, neither of the clubs has had the perfect of starts, with the London club still looking for their first win in the Champions League this season. Now they host the Scudetto winners, who are struggling with major injury concerns and thus, this could be a very important factor in the tie.

When & Where?

Venue: Stamford Bridge.
Date: Wednesday, Oct 5, 2022.
Time: 8 pm BST.

What has changed under Potter?

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Thomas Tuchel’s sacking was a surprise to most, but the appointment of Potter was received equally well by everyone. Potter was expected to get the best out of this squad after his brilliance with Brighton. The first two games have somehow not been the perfect ones, but they have shown some improvement.

Under Tuchel, the team in the last few games looked completely disjointed, out of place and also lacked the energy and will. The attack looked very rusty, with no clinical finishing in the final third. It was pretty much evident that the German had lost the dressing room, and the players were not in the right frame of mind.

Potter has not twisted things tactically but has clearly worked with the players individually, backing them and granting them confidence. In the first game, he did go with the back-3 formation, but this was a bit different from Tuchel’s formation due to the midfield. He did adopt a diamond midfield with Kai as the 10 on top and was flanked by the two wing-backs who were pushing up really high.

The second game, although, saw a major shift to back-4 with a double pivot of Jorginho and Kovacic in the middle. The formation really was not helping the squad as the midfield was easily being pierced through by the Crystal Palace players and was causing all sorts of troubles.

It will be interesting to see what Potter has in his locker now and how he can get the better of the Italian giants.

Can Milan even compete?

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One thing no team and player wants in the very tightly packed schedule of games this season is injuries. AC Milan have not been lucky enough regarding their injury issues. The last game saw the injury list add some notable names, as Kjaer, Saelemaekers and Calabria were forced out with issues against Empoli. Now the team will be without 8 senior players for their visit to London, with Origi, Florenzi, Zlatan, Maignan and Theo being the other notable omissions.

Even with so many concerns, AC Milan have managed to be well in the title race, defending the Scudetto. The attack line will very well miss the firepower of Zlatan and Origi but Giroud will be charged well on his return to London. One man also marking his return to Stamford Bridge will be Fikayo Tomori defending the guard for the Milan side.

Chelsea too have not been blessed with fitness as Mendy and Kante being ruled out of the match. Carney and Cucurella could make a return but doubts will still ponder over their fitness for the midweek game. Jorginho also took a knock in the weekend’s game against Palace, so might not start for the Blues.

AC Milan have not performed well on English soil for long as their last win was registered back in 2005 at Old Trafford and otherwise in the 20 games, have never managed to win all three points. They faced Chelsea last in the year 2000 when the game ended as a draw.

Predicted Lineups

Chelsea predicted lineup vs AC Milan: Kepa; Koulibaly, Silva, Fofana; Sterling, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Reece James; Gallagher, Havertz, Aubameyang.

AC Milan predicted lineup vs Chelsea: Tatarusanu; Dest, Kalulu, Tomori, Ballo-Toure; Tonali, Bennacer; Krunic, De Ketelaere, Leao; Giroud.

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