Player Ratings: Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Chelsea | Champions League
Chelsea have it all to do after slumping to a 1-0 defeat against Borussia Dortmund at the BVB Stadion Dortmund on Wednesday evening.
The Blues were stung by a swift German counter attack despite being in the ascendancy for the vast majority of proceedings, ruing spurned chances and facing an uphill battle at Stamford Bridge in the return leg next month.
Chelsea had the ball in the back of the net early, but it was a false dawn given it found its way via Thiago Silva’s hand. Joao Felix then saw his delicate dink cannon off the crossbar before the first half was out, while Die Schwarzgelben had their handy chances too.
Going into the break the Chelsea head coach will have been wondering how they weren’t at least one up on the scoreboard, but the interval was welcome respite from a frantic end-to-end contest thus far.
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The Blues started the second half strongly, with Gregor Kobel twice at full stretch to deny sweetly struck strikes from Reece James. But the hosts drew first blood, going back to front quickly from a Chelsea corner for Karim Adeyemi to round Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 63rd minute. Emre Can would go on to make an heroic goal-line clearance to keep the deficit.
Next up on the agenda for Potter’s personnel is a Premier League clash against basement boys Southampton on Saturday. In the interim, here’s how Absolute Chelsea rated the players’ performances in Germany on Wednesday night.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 5/10
For all of Dortmund’s threat in the counter and their intricate play in tight spaces, the Spaniard between the sticks for the Blues was scarcely called into action. Yet the decision to try and close down Karim Adeyemi made the German’s mind up and was poor on balance.
Reece James – 7/10
His recovery from a long-term injury took another step up tonight, purely by virtue of being matched up against the aforementioned Adeyemi, a young upstart full of spunk and eager to impress under the bright lights of the big stage. Did just about enough to keep his man quiet, with it not being his responsibility for the goal. It wasn’t plain sailing by any stretch, with the right-back not having much joy in his forays forward – a sensationalist burst early in the second half notwithstanding.
Thiago Silva – 7/10
Save for his yellow card for a handball in the first period, the veteran was nigh on faultless in the face of a pacey Die Borussen frontline. Colossal in the air and comfortable on the cover.
Kalidou Koulibaly – 7/10
Restored to the starting line-up largely by way of the absence of Benoit Badiashile, who isn’t registered for Chelsea’s Champions League campaign. Tonight was a timely reminder that there is a genuinely experienced and competent defender in the former Napoli stalwart, one that the Pensioners haven’t really been able to depend upon as yet. The Senegalese giant made some timely last-ditch blocks and was superb in the air.
Ben Chilwell – 6/10 (71)
Another Chelsea full back getting up to speed after a spell on the sidelines, tonight was a tough gig for the Englishman. Marius Wolf and Julian Brandt constantly had a double up on the overload, with Mykhailo Mudryk offering scant help in his tracking back. In the circumstances he performed admirably – he was caught lacking pace-wise on a couple of occasions but what he didn’t possess in pace he made up for in cleverness.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 5/10
A little too static in the engine room, with the home side picking up space in the pockets behind him pretty easily. Lacked the decisive pass and often second best in his duels, in what was a difficult evening for the lad from Lewisham.
Enzo Fernandez – 6/10
Very neat and tidy in the middle, with a good weight of pass and a good eye for pass selection to boot. One does wonder if the Argentinian is somewhat constrained by his position further backwards, with his defensive output not the highlight of his wide-ranging skillset. No more was that obvious when he was unable to contain the Dortmund counter for Chelsea to slip behind.
Hakim Ziyech – 6/10
Worked hard on the flank and there were some moments of quality, but failed to find the killer ball and some of the Morocco’s decision-making left a lot to be desired, particularly being drawn in and losing his duel for the BVB goal.
Joao Felix – 7/10
A dynamite performance with everything but the finishing touch, lamentably. Spurned two excellent opportunities and should have bagged one of those by the law of averages. Yet that aside, he was just excellent. Barely missed a pass and everything good went through him. Early days, but in possession there is definitely a touch of a certain Belgian to him.
Mykhailo Mudryk – 4/10 (71)
Little redeeming factors to be gleaned from this performance. Far too risky in possession, losing his balance too easily and failing to contribute defensively. Almost too quick for his own good. Needs to make a conscious effort to bring himself into the game more and attack his man.
Kai Havertz – 5/10
A square peg in a round hole in the position he’s being asked to play in. Just doesn’t have the instincts of a number nine. Did put in a shift and seemed absolutely determined to try and bring Chelsea level, but unable to connect with his teammates.
Mason Mount – 5/10 (71)
Drew some fouls in good positions but quite pedestrian.
Marc Cucurella – 6/10 (71)
Some good energy upon his introduction and was mostly fine.