When Borussia Dortmund visits Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in the Champions League last 16 to defend their 1-0 first-leg lead, Chelsea’s expensive recruits have one last chance to save their season.
Chelsea is languishing in 10th place in the Premier League and was eliminated early from both domestic cups by Manchester City despite the Blues’ new owners making an all-time record investment of over 500 million pounds (603 million dollars) in just one season.
Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Leeds by Graham Potter ended a six-game losing streak. However, the manner of victory did not dispel any doubts that Potter’s position might be at risk against the German giants.
Edin Terzic’s Dortmund is currently in a tie for first place in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich as they travel to London on the heels of a 10-game winning streak.
Chelsea, on the other hand, has won three of their last 16 games, defeating Brentford, Brighton, and Fulham.
Potter’s team has had the most trouble scoring goals because of the pressure on their expensive new recruits to start producing.
Due to the rules of the Champions League, only three of Chelsea’s January signings were eligible to play in the knockout rounds. The attacking trio of Enzo Fernandez, Joao Felix, and Mykhailo Mudryk were selected.
When Missing Mudryk Fernandez signed for 107 million pounds from Benfica, he set a British transfer record.
However, Karim Adeyemi’s blistering pace for Dortmund’s winner in the first leg three weeks ago hasn’t had the desired impact in providing a creative spark from midfield for the Argentine World Cup winner.
Chelsea spent 10 million pounds just to loan Felix out for the season’s final few months, but if they don’t win, they won’t have much to play for.
Unlike Mudryk, Potter has at least utilized Felix and Fernandez whenever possible.
The Ukrainian from Shakhtar Donetsk was signed by Chelsea over Arsenal for an initial payment of 70 million euros (62 million pounds, or $74 million), with additional payments of 100 million euros.
However, Mudryk has not played in any of the last three games, and despite Potter making all five substitutions, he was not used as a substitute against Leeds.
At the weekend, France’s Wesley Fofana, a center-back, converted a corner kick to give Chelsea its first goal in four games.
Potter stated, “We have to attack better as a team.” That is my obligation. It’s all too easy to focus on one person and place blame on them. We must create more and perform better as a group, and that begins with me. The talent of the players is undeniable to me.
Raheem Sterling continues to be Chelsea’s joint top scorer this season, scoring six goals across all competitions, despite a first season plagued by injuries at Stamford Bridge.
Even though Sterling hasn’t scored since January 1, Potter thinks he could give his team the boost they need to beat Dortmund.
Before signing for 50 million pounds last summer, the England international scored 24 goals in 67 games for Manchester City in Europe’s premier club competition.
He has a track record of campaigning in that competition. We are overjoyed about that, and we are eager to welcome him onto the field on Tuesday, where we hope he will enjoy playing football.
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