LONDON – Long before the break, Brighton fans were already mocking the coach they once loved, chanting: “You’ll be fired in the morning.”
Graham Potter may not have to worry about being sacked just yet, but his return to Brighton has produced the closest thing to a crisis he has experienced during his young Chelsea reign.
Brighton beat Chelsea 4-1 in the English Premier League on Saturday, handing Potter his first defeat since leaving the south coast club to take over at the Blues in September. After a strong start under Potter, Chelsea have dropped points in three consecutive Championship games following draws against Brentford and Manchester United.
And the worst thing for Chelsea was that the score was not misleading at all.
Brighton led 2-0 after 14 minutes and added a third before the break, looking more confident and ambitious than the visitors. Kai Havertz had one goal for Chelsea early in the second half, but Pascal Gross scored in stoppage time for the hosts.
The defeat means Chelsea are eight points behind Manchester City, who grabbed the top of the table overnight after beating Leicester 1-0 away thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s perfect second-half free-kick.
Arsenal can reclaim top spot by beating bottom-placed Nottingham Forest at home on Sunday.
City were without star forward Erling Haaland for the first time because of an ankle problem, but De Bruyne made sure it didn’t matter when he curled a 25-yard effort that dipped under the crossbar and into the post in the 49th. a minute.
Tottenham came from two second-half goals down to beat Bournemouth 3-2 to end a two-game losing streak in the league, while resurgent Newcastle, who beat Spurs in the previous round, have won five of last six after beating Aston Villa 4-0 at home.
After Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez suffered concussion in the first half – he initially tried to play on despite looking dazed after the collision – Callum Wilson scored two for Newcastle, with Joelinton and Miguel Almiron adding apiece one.
Tottenham’s comeback meant they remain in third place, two points ahead of fourth-placed Newcastle.
Crystal Palace beat Southampton 1-0 at home, while Brentford settled for a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves striker Diego Costa was sent off for a headbutt in stoppage time.
Fulham host Everton late on, while Liverpool take on struggling Leeds at Anfield in an evening tie.
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