After an even start to the match, the balance of power was shifted strongly in Chelsea’s favor barely past the quarter hour mark, when the referee deemed Fikayo Tomori’s pullback (twice) on Mason Mount to be worthy of a foul — which it probably was. And because it was in the penalty area, and because Tomori was the last man, and because he made no attempt to actually play the ball, the referee had no choice but to give a straight red as well as award a penalty. Them’s the rules! (Ironically, if Mount doesn’t stay up and play through the pullbacks, there’s probably far less “controversy” about all this, but that’s perhaps a discussion for another day.)
Jorginho made no mistake from the spot, and Chelsea pressed home our advantage with a second goal not long after: Aubameyang scoring for the third game running after a sweet move orchestrated by Kovacic and Mount.
Chelsea kept the pressure up in the second half, and came close multiple times but could not add to the lead. No matter.
The biggest thing to note from the second half was Reece James’ knee injury, seemingly having jarred it on landing after a 50-50 challenge with Theo Hernández. Anxiously waiting news there.
Four wins in a row. Three successive clean sheets.
- Two changes from the last week, one enforced (Chalobah for the injured Fofana), one tactical (Jorginho for Loftus-Cheek). Chalobah remains unbeaten as a starter.
- Half-time change of Gallagher for Mount, who had been carded in the first half.
- James and Sterling off around the hour-mark, with Azpi and RLC on in their stead. Havertz on for Auba on for the final 10 minutes.
- First shot on target from Milan in the 91st minute.
- Salzburg and Zagreb played out a 1-1 draw in the other game, which means that Chelsea are top of the group suddenly.
- Next up: Aston Villa away on Sunday