In a week of change for the 2021 Champions League winners, Chelsea took to the pitch for their second group stage game, having lost their previous match and their manager Thomas Tuchel. With Graham Potter now occupying the home dugout at Stamford Bridge, here's what we learnt......
No new signings at the back:
Neither of the new defensive summer signings Kalidou Koulibaly or Wesley Fofana appeared for Chelsea last night on Potter's first team sheet, with club Captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva preferred in a back line clearly lacking in pace. Silva was perhaps at fault for RB Salzburg's goal, failing in his attempt at a last ditch tackle, but Kepa's positioning could also be questioned, as the shot from Noah Okafor lacked power.
Sterling winging it:
Another surprise in the starting line-up was the position of Raheem Sterling in the left-wing back role, this season's top scorer for Chelsea. At times, the more traditional winger, looked uncomfortable, looking at his best when bursting into the box or driving forward with the ball. It was Sterling who opened the scoring, when he curled the ball in from the edge of the penalty area, having looked a danger throughout, but his link up play with Kai Havertz was at times disappointing. Sterling looked frustrated to be substituted around the 80 minute mark, and you can see why, with Chelsea desperately seeking a winner.
New boss, same Ziyech:
Anyone who has seen any images from Potter's first training sessions at Cobham this week will have noticed that one player looked particularly pleased with the newest arrival, Hakim Ziyech. He, like Christian Pulisic had largely been on the periphery under Tuchel and would have been hoping that a change in manager, may have brought about a change of fortune.
But for Chelsea supporters, it was the same lethargic Ziyech who came on as a second half substitute, with Chelsea chasing the game. The best chance to win the game fell to Ziyech after some fantastic work by fellow substitute Armando Broja, but he fumbled the ball into the keeper's arms. His corner failed to beat the first defender and his crosses rarely found their targets. Surely one to move on in January.
It all rests on Milan:
The next two Champions League fixtures for Chelsea take place against AC Milan, current leaders of Group E on four points; Chelsea languish at the bottom with just the one point that they gained against Salzburg.
This makes the next two games crucial to whether or not Chelsea are able to progress out of their group and into the knock out stages. AC Milan, current Serie A champions will bring with them former Chelsea players Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud and on paper, are the strongest opposition to be faced. These two games are now simply a must win for Graham Potter and his team, due to the disappointing displays that his new side has experienced in Europe so far this season. Boo's rang out around the stadium at the full-time whistle after the Salzburg game, and they will only get louder if Potter can't pull his side up the table before the second of those games, when Chelsea visit the San Siro.