Tomori ready to give former club the Blues

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Fikayo Tomori will hope to haunt Chelsea on his return to Stamford Bridge with AC Milan

Chelsea welcome some familiar faces back to Stamford Bridge when they host AC Milan tonight.

While Fikayo Tomori helps marshal the defence, Olivier Giroud may well lead the line for the Serie A champions.

Tomori, 24, has excelled at the San Siro, leaving Chelsea fans questioning why the club and Thomas Tuchel sanctioned his permanent departure in 2021.

We take a look at the centre-back’s progress and assess whether the Blues were right to let him leave for £25million.

Point to prove

Tomori had four different spells away on loan from Chelsea during his time there, including his first season at Milan.

Though he made 27 appearances for the first team, it is clear that Tomori feels he was not given a proper chance and is looking forward to taking to the pitch in West London.

Earlier this week, he said: “Every footballer, when you get on the pitch, there’s a point to prove.

“Obviously coming from Chelsea and being English, there’s probably that added motivation. I guess you could say that maybe I’ve played differently [at AC Milan] or whatever it is.

“It’s just another chance for me to see some familiar faces as well as to, I guess, show how I’ve developed. 

“I know people have watched the Milan games but going back to Stamford Bridge where it all kind of started, it’s another chance to show myself again.”

Earning plaudits

Fikayo Tomori has been a regular again for AC Milan this term

Italy and Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini knows a thing or two about defending, and he was full of praise for Tomori.

He said: “He surprised me because I saw him at Chelsea and I didn’t think he could be so strong in the box, attentive for 90 minutes.

“He is one of the keys of Milan winning last year.”

Tomori, like fellow centre-back and England international Chris Smalling, has won a lot of fans in Italy with his displays.

He featured 31 times during their title-winning campaign and since his debut, Milan concede 0.8 goals a game with Tomori in the team (1.3 without) and win 70% of matches (57 without).

Maturing in Milan

Italians are renowned for their love of defending and the dark arts — only this week Tottenham boss Antonio Conte pointed out that his sides never concede “six or seven goals”, even if they are not as thrilling as others.

Therefore it is little surprise that Tomori has improved greatly during his time at the San Siro, especially given he comes up against Zlatan Ibrahimovic — when the Swede is fit — in training.

Tomori said: “I think I’m a cleverer defender, whether it’s little fouls or positioning yourself.

“Being in Italy, players are notorious for being good defenders, being tough to beat, being nasty and stuff like that. It’s definitely something I’ve picked up on — how much pride, how much effort and how much detail is put into every phase of defending.”

Home sweet home

If an English player excels abroad, the expectation is always that they will move to the Premier League.

But Tomori has no plans to do that, despite not playing a minute of England’s games with Italy and Germany in the last international break.

He added: “Part of the reason why I signed a big contract was because I just feel very comfortable.

“When friends or family come, they enjoy themselves here and everyone feels welcomed into the city. There’s a warmth about Milan.”

If Chelsea fans thought their academy product would be pining for a move back to the Bridge, they were wrong.

Back with a vengeance

Olivier Giroud will hope to score against former employers Chelsea tonight

If Tomori is heading to Chelsea looking to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Co quiet, the aforementioned Giroud will want goals galore at the other end.

The Frenchman was never afforded a regular run as the Blues’ first-choice striker despite scoring 39 times in 119 games before joining Milan in July 2021.

As Ibrahimovic remains sidelined, the World Cup winner has been handed extra responsibility by the Rossoneri, netting five goals in 10 outings this term.

It would not surprise any Chelsea fans in attendance if one of their old players came back to haunt them.

And if it is Tomori who excels, the clamour for him to be in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI when England open their World Cup against Iran on November 21 will grow.

Source: Livescore

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