Chelsea got its Champions League campaign back on track in emphatic style on Wednesday when it brushed aside AC Milan with a dominant 3-0 home win thanks to goals from Wesley Fofana, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James.
Chelsea lost 1-0 to Dynamo Zagreb and drew 1-1 at home with Salzburg in its opening two Group E games but is now right back in the mix on four points, one behind Salzburg, who beat Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 earlier on Wednesday. Milan, which hosts the Londoners next week, also has four, with Zagreb on three.
The Italian seven-times champion will have to find a lot more in the San Siro than they showed in London if it is to have a good chance of advancing to the knockout stage for the first time since 2014.
Chelsea, by contrast, will travel full of confidence after rediscovering its swagger following its insipid opening games and though it still looks a long way from the side who lifted the Cup in 2021 it was solid throughout and finished clinically.
The Blues took a while to settle on Wednesday but gradually began to exert control as Mason Mount had a shot pushed wide and Thiago Silva went close with two headers from corners.
Inexplicably, the Brazilian was left unmarked for a third and though his powerful header was beaten out by stand-in keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, after an ensuing scramble Fofana calmly tucked the ball into an inviting gap to make it 1-0 in the 24th minute.
Milan was muscular in its running but lacked guile and precision and failed to create a worthwhile chance until first-half stoppage time when Rade Krunic blazed over --– put off by a great last-ditch lunge by Ben Chilwell - after Kepa Arrizabalaga had saved from Charles de Ketelaere following a driving run by Rafael Leao.
It proved their high-water point of the night as in the 56th minute former Chelsea centre back Fikayo Tomori failed to cut out a near-post James cross and Aubameyang had a simple task to guide it home.
Five minutes later it was all over when James was again left unmarked on the right to run on to a Raheem Sterling pass and lashed an unstoppable third goal into the roof of the net.
An insipid Milan failed to show any sort of response, barely putting the home defence under pressure, let alone threatening a goal, as Chelsea strolled through the final half-hour.
The only downside for Chelsea was the injury to Wesley Fofana who left the stadium on on crutches and a knee brace.
Speaking about the injury to the defender, manager Potter said, “We will have to scan it tomorrow and see how it is but there is nothing to report at the moment.”