Chelsea return home with little to show for arguably our best performance under Graham Potter, though a narrow 1-0 first leg defeat is certainly not the end of the world when it comes to our chances of advancing to the quarterfinals of this year’s Champions League — especially since the away-goals rule was abolished in 2021.
Both sides wasted a fair few opportunities in what must’ve been an entertaining match for neutrals — but a much more frustrating affair for us, especially considering that we also hit the woodwork, had a shot cleared off the line, and had a goal ruled out (rightly) for handball as well. Dortmund were also far from clinical, but did eventually make one counter count (with the ridiculously speedy Karim Adeyemi acknowledging that he got a bit lucky as well as the ball squirmed under Kepa Arrizabalaga’s arm — unlike BVB’s ‘keeper, he was not superman).
But for once, there were some actual positives to point to for Graham Potter, and some clear positives for all to see.
“It was a very strong performance, especially the second half. We created a lot of chances and efforts on goal but I am disappointed with the goal we conceded. [...] Apart from that, we were really, really good, we just have to score.
“I thought we had good attacking movements, clarity in terms of how we wanted to attack and got into right areas. The attitude was really positive as well.”
-Graham Potter; source: BT Sport via BBC
Chelsea generated excellent xG numbers indeed. That alone doesn’t win you games, obviously, but it does show some tangible evidence of progress and process. Those are supposedly the measuring sticks by which this season will be evaluated, so if we can in fact build on this, if we can produce such performances repeatedly, not only will our shot-luck likely change, but we will have something to hang our project hat on and start (re-)pouring and solidifying that winning foundation.
Chelsea's xG in that game was 2.14, per @BBCSport.— Adam Newson (@AdamNewson) February 15, 2023
And that is the fourth most any team has had in the #UCL this season without scoring.
Until then, we have a second leg to look forward to, which should prove an equally entertaining affair.
“Second half, apart from the one decisive action where we didn’t do well enough, we were the dominant team and created some good chances. With a little bit of luck and final execution, we would have got the deserved goal. It is what it is, we just have to keep going. It’s half time, it’s a tight game, and we’ll look forward to Stamford Bridge.”
“The players are honest and they know they can do better with that. We have to help them, of course, but we will focus on the positives. The performance was another step forward for us [...] We will improve and in three weeks’ time we can take the game at Stamford Bridge.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London