Chelsea eased some of its early concerns in the Champions League by beating AC Milan 3-0 on Wednesday, with Reece James setting up one goal and ruthlessly dispatching another.
Picking up just one point from its first two games had left Chelsea in a sticky position in Group E, with a double-header against the Italian champions having the potential to plunge the English team — under a recently hired manager in Graham Potter — into further danger.
However, Chelsea produced easily its best performance of the competition, going ahead through Wesley Fofana in the 24th minute with his first goal for the club since his $87 million move from Leicester in the last days of the transfer window.
Potter’s team maintained its dominance in the second half, with James crossing for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to poke in a second goal in the 56th.
James, the marauding right wing back, completed the scoring six minutes later with the best goal of the lot, running onto Raheem Sterling’s pass and lifting a fierce shot into the roof of the net from a narrow angle.
Chelsea’s first win of the group stage ended Milan’s unbeaten start to it and lifted the 2021 champions above the visitors on goal difference.
Aside from occasional bursts of pace from Rafael Leão down the left, Milan — featuring two former Chelsea players in Olivier Giroud and Fikayo Tomori — barely troubled Chelsea and will hope to put in an improved performance in front of their own fans next week at the San Siro.
The one negative for Chelsea was the sight of Fofana going off injured toward the end of the first half, having tried to play on after getting hurt moments earlier.
Otherwise, it was another step in the right direction under Potter, who started with an underwhelming 1-1 draw at home to Salzburg in the Champions League but now has back-to-back wins after beating Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.