Champions League: Chelsea’s scoring woes continue at Dortmund; Todd Boehly’s spending spree yet to deliver

Chelsea may have lost to Dortmund on Wednesday, but it was one of their best performances under Graham Potter. The Blues took 21 shots with an xG of 2.13 compared to Dortmund’s 1.41, even turning up the heat to create plenty of chances in the second half. But facing in-form goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, the only thing that matters is Dortmund’s 1-0 lead on the scoresheet ahead of the second leg next month. Most teams would have been able to score a morale victory with this performance, but given Chelsea’s recent form, do morale victories under Potter matter?

He was expected to have trouble growing in the role, but since being appointed in September, Potter has had time to instill some of his ideas into the team. The Council has also given him a lot of support in the transfer market, but at some point a return on that investment is expected. On the one hand, the fact that Joao Felix hit the post twice will give them confidence in the second leg, but the black-and-yellows also did not need to come out of first gear for most of the match, with the exception of a goal by Karim Adeyemi in a counterattack and a goal by Kobel . protection.

Finding new ways to keep the ball out of the net is a common problem for Chelsea, who only benefit from their limited choice when signing up new players to play in the Champions League. Only Enzo Fernandez, Joao Felix and Mikaylo Mudric were signed up to complete, while David Dataro Fofana was their only new signing, which is something of a true number nine. Chelsea have only scored five goals in their last nine games and have never managed to score multiple goals in a game in 2023.

Forfana is only 20 years old, but he threw him into the game late to replace Kai Havertz when the Dortmund defense offered chances right and left, but that was not an option. It’s not Potter’s fault that Chelsea made eight winter signings but only managed to register three for Champions League play, but it does show the mixed board priorities that have supposedly supported Potter during his struggles so far.

Things would have been different if not scoring goals was a new problem for Potter or even Chelsea, but the presence of Kai Havertz in attack was constant. Even the inclusion of Hakim Zieha after nearly being sold to PSG caused some headaches, but for all the depth Chelsea have in some areas, it’s a thin team where it matters the most.

Even their best player, Fernandez, probably should have committed a tactical foul against Adeyemi, knowing that Mudrik lost outright. Now they face a tough battle in the second leg.

Mudrik had his flashes but only landed once and created two chances in the match without landing. It feels like Chelsea are playing a simulation game where it’s normal for the talent to not quite fit in but is expected to win matches due to the advantage over the real teams. Instead, it resulted in the team only scoring one goal in the last 386 minutes.

There will be real financial repercussions for the club if they fail to get past Dortmund in the round of 16, which will only be exacerbated given that it is unlikely that the club will qualify for the Champions League through the league. If they can’t raise enough money to cover all the additions to the team, what will that mean for Potter’s chances to lead the club in the future?

Morale victories only work for teams that perform well, while in the case of Chelsea they can hurt team morale. The players may feel like they should have won each of their last four matches, but in reality they only got three points out of them and they don’t have anyone they can play against to give Havertz a physical and mental rest. Potter must push his squad through this, but the next few months might not be good for them. Southampton are next and while it should be an easy matchup, the Saints are fighting for their lives in the Premier League and will give Chelsea trouble if the Blues fail to score.

Potter will likely not be released ahead of the home game against Dortmund on March 7, but if the Blues can’t score during that time, they could go broke.


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