Champions League football is where Chelsea under manager Graham Potter have looked their most comfortable. And with the Blues struggling to find good results domestically, these circumstances made European football a great opportunity for a rebound on our side in terms of results.
The hosts however would not make it easy for us to find footballing redemption. They dominated possession throughout the first half and were really aided by refereeing lenience on harsh fouling, especially against the likes of Enzo Fernández in midfield. On top of that two of our defenders, Reece James and Thiago Silva, got early yellow cards for really stupid reasons — the former for complaint/dissent, and the latter for being pushed into a handball by a Dortmund defender in a James free kick turned disallowed goal.
But even with Dortmund getting the lion’s share of ball retention and chances at goal, the match’s best opportunities were all Chelsea’s. Twice João Félix got really close to scoring a goal for us, only to shoot it over the bar at first, and then hit it in his second golden chance of the match.
We entered the second half in need of better calibration with our shots at goal, as we already had the attacking “volume” to eventually score a goal. But it was from a free kick that we got our best early second half chance with Reece James forcing goalkeeper Gregor Kobel into a highlight save.
One standout was the synchronization between Félix and Mykhailo Mudryk, as the two wrecked havoc on Dortmund’s right side of defence with runs and passes back and forth. Too bad their support faltered with the chances they created.
Ultimately, the one side that does not score always leaves the door open for upsets even when they are playing better than the opposition. That was exactly what happened with Chelsea when Karim Adeyemi took off in a counterattack to score Dortmund’s winning goal against us.
Chelsea continued to push for a score, and got really close via Hakim Ziyech and Kalidou Koulibaly. Either way the winless streak, either by bad luck, bad football, or a combination of both, continues.
- 4-2-3-1 on the pitch with Reece James and Ben Chilwell wide in defence, Enzo Fernández and Ruben Loftus-Cheek as the midfield pairing, and new boys João Félix and Mykhailo Mudryk playing central attacking midfield and left wing, respectively.
- Subs are Mason Mount for Mykhailo Mudryk, and Marc Cucurella for Ben Chilwell.
- To all of his tactical misgivings in the Premier League, the first half was not that bad of a showing by Graham Potter’s Chelsea. With a bit more luck the Blues would have had a two- or three-goal lead against the hosts 45 minutes into the match.
- Mykhailo Mudryk looks and plays like the kind of guy who will soon justify a big price tag.
- Better support in attack would really be a boon to Mudryk and Félix. May Madueke and Fofana offer that as soon as possible!
- As they say in Brazil: “who doesn’t score, takes it”. Especially when there is a helping hand from the referee.
- Next up: Southampton at home in the Premier League.