Well before halftime, Brighton supporters were already taunting the manager they once adored with chants of “You’re getting sacked in the morning.”
Graham Potter may not have to worry about being fired just yet, but his return to Brighton created the closest thing to a crisis he has experienced in his fledgling Chelsea reign.
Brighton beat Chelsea 4-1 in the English Premier League on Saturday to hand Potter his first loss since leaving the south-coast club to take over the Blues in September. After a strong start under Potter, Chelsea has dropped points in three straight league games following draws against Brentford and Manchester United.
And the worst part for Chelsea was that the scoreline wasn’t at all misleading.
Brighton was 2-0 up after 14 minutes and added the third before halftime, having looked more confident and ambitious than the visitors. Kai Havertz pulled one back for Chelsea early in the second half but Pascal Gross finished off the scoring in injury time for the hosts.
The loss means Chelsea dropped eight points behind Manchester City, which took the overnight lead in the standings by beating Leicester 1-0 away thanks to an inch-perfect free kick from Kevin De Bruyne in the second half.
Arsenal can reclaim top spot by beating last-placed Nottingham Forest at home on Sunday.
City was without star striker Erling Haaland for the first time because of an ankle problem but De Bruyne made sure that didn’t matter when he curled in a set-piece from 25 yards that dipped under the crossbar and in via the post in the 49th minute.
Callum Wilson Shines for Newcastle
Saudi-owned Newcastle cemented its place in the English Premier League top four with a 4-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
Striker Callum Wilson scored twice and the in-form Miguel Almiron also netted at St. James’ Park.
Wilson slotted a penalty down the middle in the sixth minute of first-half stoppage time after Almiron’s goal-bound shot was blocked by the outstretched hand of Villa left-back Ashley Young.
Wilson, who is pushing for an England call-up for the World Cup, headed in Kieran Trippier’s cross following a well-worked corner routine in the 56th minute and then helped set up the other two goals.
Wilson’s shot was saved by Robin Olsen — on as a concussion substitute for Emi Martinez in the first half — only for the rebound to fall to Joelinton, who steered the ball home from close range in the 59th.
Almiron completed the thrashing eight minutes later, scoring his sixth goal in as many games by collecting Wilson’s pass on the right, cutting inside and curling exquisitely into the far top corner.
It could have been much worse for Villa, as Wilson and substitute Jacob Murphy struck the goal frame in the final 20 minutes. Newcastle secured a fifth win in its last six games.
Newcastle started the game in fourth place and consolidated that position after fifth-placed Chelsea’s loss at Brighton.
It was Villa’s second and final game under the interim control of assistant coach Aaron Danks, who stepped in to lead the team after the firing of Steven Gerrard and oversaw a 4-0 win over Brentford last weekend.
Unai Emery was hired this week as the permanent replacement for Gerrard and will start his new job on Tuesday.
Martinez needed a lengthy period of treatment after taking a blow to the head from his teammate, Tyrone Mings, midway through the first half. The Argentina goalkeeper played on briefly but then sat down and was replaced by Olsen.
Tottenham came from two goals down in the second half to beat Bournemouth 3-2 and halt a run of two straight league losses.
Tottenham’s comeback meant it stayed in third place, two points ahead of fourth-placed Newcastle.
Crystal Palace beat Southampton 1-0 at home while Brentford settled for 1-1 against Wolverhampton. Wolves striker Diego Costa was sent off for a headbutt deep into injury time.
Fulham hosted Everton late, and Liverpool welcomed struggling Leeds to Anfield in an evening kickoff.
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