Chelsea 1-0 Leeds United: Fofana header seals first win in seven to relieve pressure on Potter
Wesley Fofana’s header guided Chelsea to a 1-0 victory against Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues got off to a positive start against Javi Gracia’s relegation battling side, Kai Havertz, Joao Felix and Ben Chilwell all had big opportunities to put the hosts in front in the opening 45 but failed to convert.
After being booed off at the break, Chelsea looked to begin the second half in a sharp manner, Raheem Sterling went close in the opening minutes and Enzo Fernandez saw a set-piece strike go over.
In the 53rd minute, the pressure finally told, an out-swinging corner from Chilwell was met by a superb header from Fofana to put the hosts into the lead.
Graham Potter elected to make three changes to his Chelsea side that suffered a 2-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday, with Mateo Kovacic captaining the team from the middle of the park.
The Blues came out the sharper of the two sides, the first clear cut chance of the game fell to Fofana, a Chilwell corner picked out the defender, but he could only direct his header over the bar.
Moments later, Chelsea had another huge opportunity, Raheem Sterling sent Havertz through one-on-one, while it was a classy move from the hosts, the German forward was ultimately denied by Illan Meslier.
Continuing their pursuit for the lead, the west London side were once again unfortunate not to break the deadlock as a side-footed volley from Joao Felix cannoned back out off of the crossbar.
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Mounting on the pressure in the first half, it was Chilwell who was next to squander a golden chance for the Blues, the left-back was only able to guide his strike wide of the far post.
Ultimately, in the opening 45 the hosts failed to take advantage of the opportunities they fashioned, which saw the team met by boos as they trudged off the pitch for the interval.
At the start of the second half, Chelsea continued to find openings, Sterling had an effort glide over the bar and Enzo Fernandez failed to produce anything special from a free-kick.
Eventually, relief spread around Stamford Bridge, when a Chilwell corner found the head of Frenchman Fofana in the 53rd minute, who gave Potter’s side a much deserved lead.
Having gone behind, the visitors did respond well, they had created little to nothing before the Chelsea goal, Tyler Adams saw a curling shot go wide and Georginio Rutter mustered their first attempt on target.
Potter looked to his bench in the 68th minute and opted to bring on both Conor Gallagher and Denis Zakaria in place of Sterling and Felix.
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Captain Kovacic was then replaced in the 75th minute, with Carney Chukwuemeka introduced from the bench, Noni Madueke and Trevoh Chalobah also came on late in the contest.
As the game drew to a close, the away side pushed to try and find an equaliser, there were some nervy moments for the Blues, but they held on and secured a vital three points to win their first game in seven.
The three points also ended a run of three straight defeats, relieving some of the pressure on head coach Graham Potter as they head into their Champions League clash on Tuesday night versus Borussia Dortmund.