How Potter’s Chelsea pulled Milan apart over two Champions League matches

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Chelsea have taken back control of their Champions League group-stage destiny under new head coach Graham Potter, and they have done so in the most impressive way possible: by convincingly beating Serie A title holders AC Milan home and away, to the tune of a 5-0 aggregate scoreline, in the space of a week.

Having these two matches so close together made the first Champions League meetings between the two clubs feel a little like a knockout tie — and the stakes were close to that level for Chelsea. A loss away to Dinamo Zagreb and a draw at home with RB Salzburg in their opening two group games left them knowing that realistically no fewer than four points would be required to keep qualification from group E to the competition’s last 16 firmly on the horizon.

They did more than that, and now remarkably are in top spot following Salzburg’s 1-1 draw in Zagreb on Tuesday.

Chelsea’s successes at Stamford Bridge and then San Siro were built on creating and exploiting tactical advantages, and the scorelines only underlined how clearly Potter won the chess match with opposite number Stefano Pioli.

Let’s take a closer look at how Chelsea did it, and how things changed in those few days between games one and two…

Without the ball

For the competitive portion of game one at Stamford Bridge (ie, until

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