13 minutes: Dest tackles Chilwell on the right and crosses. Chelsea it is clear that Giroud is hiding. Milan will be happy with their start.
11 minutes: Chelsea stroke it in the middle for no real effect. Mount is shot, they haven’t managed to collect anything yet.
9 minutes: Silva flicks a simple pass into the chest of De Quetelare, who breaks through Chelsea half off and slides wide to the left to Leao. The dangerous winger walks into the box only to stumble as he prepares to strike. Fofana can put his foot in and kick the ball away to Kepe. For a second, Chelsea found themselves open there, and fortunately Leao momentarily lost control of his legs.
7 minutes: Krunic gets in the book for a late, late clip on the heel of Loftus-Cheek in flight. It looks painful, but no complaints.
5 minutes: … but this Chelsea who primarily work as a watchman. Aubameyang, strolling through the center, throws a pass to the mountain on the left. Mount opens up his body and sends a great shot to the bottom right. Tătăruşanu is forced to tiptoe at the first corner of the evening. Nothing will come of it, but Mount’s strike should calm Chelsea down after their slightly cold start.
3 minutes: Milan see most of the ball during these very early exchanges. Coulibaly, impatient and irritated, appears through De Quetelaret’s back and is lucky not to enter the book. He may have exercised his early exchange privileges.
1 minute: The first free kick of the evening is awarded Milan. Tanali throws it into the mixer on the right and the home defense deal with it easily.
Chelsea play the ball. In this first half, they fight for Sarai.
Before the start, a minute’s silence was held in memory of the poor souls lost in Indonesia last weekend. Great to watch, except for one clown who is quickly told to shut up.
The teams are out! Chelsea play royal blue. Milan enjoy a lucky white away strip, which they have worn in six of their seven victorious European Cup finals. (For the record, the only final they won while wearing their red and black stripes was a 4-1 thrashing of Ajax in 1969.) Stamford Bridge expects both sets of fans to sound good. We will leave as soon as UEFA’s marketing department desecrates the work of Georg Friedrich Handel.
Graham Potter talks to BT Sport. “This is an important game, we know that. We want to be aggressive, get the crowd into the game and play well. We have to express ourselves and be positive. We are playing against the best opponents, so we have to play well. The guys are in a good place so we’re looking forward to it. Whoever plays will be strong. We have to focus on ourselves, that’s what we can control. We’ve had a good preparation and we feel like we’ve made a step up from the previous match, so now it’s just a matter of playing and playing well and hopefully getting the points.”
Today’s other game in Group E has just finished. RB Salzburg got their first win with a 1-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb at the Salzburg Stadium thanks to Noah Okafor’s 71st-minute penalty. As it stands, they move to the top of the group, putting more pressure on those at the bottom Chelsea.
Chelsea made two changes to the XI that was sent in for a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace last weekend. Kalidou Koulibaly makes his first appearance under Graham Potter. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also being called up. Jorginho and Kai Havertz drop to the bench.
A couple of old lads from Chelsea line up Milan tonight: Olivier Giroud and Fikayo Tomori. Former Liverpool supersub Divok Origi is on the bench.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Fofana, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly, James, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Chilwell, Mount, Aubameyang, Sterling.
Substitutes: Jarginho, Pulisic, Bettinelli, Chalaba, Mendy, Broia, Zakaria, Ziech, Gallagher, Azpilicueta, Havertz, Cucurella.
Milan: Tatarusanu, Dest, Kalulu Kyatengwa, Tomori, Toure, Benasser, Tanali, Krunic, De Ketelare, Leao, Giroud.
Substitutes: Diaz, Rebic, Arrighi, Pobega, Gabia, Mirante, Jungdahl, Gala, Kubis.
Judge: Danny Mackelley (Netherlands).
“Milan” is the old European royalty; Chelsea Kings is new. Chelsea have won both European Cups since AC Milan last won in 2007; in Rossoneri, trailing only Real Madrid on the all-time list with seven wins, have not come anywhere close since. In other words, this match-up is straight from the top drawer, but there was no match with both clubs at the same time in their splendor. In fact, the only time they had met before was in the first group stage of 1999-2000 League of champions, a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge before a 1-1 draw at the San Siro, with Olivier Bierhoff and Dennis Wise on target, both clubs are in something of an unattractive transition. Their third competitive meeting tonight sees the two mega-clubs in equally average form, but with Chelsea sitting bottom of the Group E table following a defeat in Zagreb and a home draw with Salzburg, the stakes are high and tension is guaranteed. Starts at 20:00 BST. On!