Chelsea loses 4-1 in Potter's return to Brighton in EPL

BRIGHTON, England (AP) — Graham Potter endured a chastening return to Brighton as his former club beat Chelsea 4-1 on Saturday, with the Blues dropping points for the third English Premier League game in a row.

Potter left Brighton in September to take over Chelsea after the sacking of Thomas Tuchel and had gone undefeated in nine games in all competitions. But he saw his team get blown away in the first half as the hosts led 3-0 by the break.

Leandro Trossard continued his strong scoring form to put Brighton ahead in the fifth minute, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah both scored own goals.

By then, Potter was already facing mocking taunts of “You’re getting sacked in the morning” from the Brighton supporters.

Christian Pulisic missed a great chance when he shot wide for Chelsea in the first half but Kai Havertz pulled one back for the visitors shortly after the break. However, Pascal Gross padded the scoreline for Brighton in injury time.

The remarkable result at a raucous Amex Stadium was the Seagulls’ first victory under new head coach Roberto De Zerbi and a first over Chelsea since 1933.

Potter returned to Brighton with six wins and three draws from his nine fixtures at Stamford Bridge and looking to inflict further punishment on a Brighton side which began the day with just two points from a possible 15 since his departure seven weeks ago.

He received jeers — and a smattering of applause — when he stepped off the team coach, while there were further boos when he emerged from the tunnel.

Brighton fed off their fans’ hostile energy and quickly took control of the contest during a blistering start.

Chelsea captain Thiago Silva had already twice been forced to head off his own goal-line by the time Brighton went ahead in the fifth minute.

Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma claimed the assist on his full league debut, dancing into the box and offloading to the in-form Trossard, who rounded goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga before emphatically dispatching his seventh goal of the season beyond former Seagulls defender Marc Cucurella.

Potter was soon looking stunned in the away dugout as Brighton doubled its advantage with just 14 minutes on the clock.

Solly March’s in-swinging corner from the right caused chaos in the Blues box and recalled midfielder Loftus-Cheek could divert the ball only into his own net via the underside of the crossbar.

Despite the dreadful start, Chelsea was far from dejected and had numerous chances to halve the deficit as the end-to-end action continued.

Christian Pulisic had the best chance but somehow shot wide with the goal gaping after Robert Sanchez pushed away Conor Gallagher’s initial effort.

Sanchez then went one better, producing a stunning one-handed diving save to turn Gallagher’s flicked header over the crossbar.

Any growing momentum for the visitors was extinguished three minutes before the break as Chelsea again contributed to its own downfall.

This time the sliding Chalobah diverted the ball beyond Kepa after rampaging full back Estupinan cut the ball back from the left.

Potter replaced keeper Kepa with Edouard Mendy for the second period due to an apparent injury but quickly had reason for greater optimism.

Gallagher delivered an inviting cross from the right following Loftus-Cheek’s layoff and Havertz escaped Albion’s defense to head home unmarked.

Chelsea dominated for much of the final 25 minutes but was eventually sent home embarrassed after Gross tapped in on the rebound after lively substitute Julio Enciso was denied by Mendy.

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