Fofana 8/10 as Chelsea get first league win in six

Wesley Fofana’s header within the early phases of the second half ensured an upbeat begin to spring as Chelsea’s nightmare winter got here to an overdue finish with a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues loved by far the higher of the opening half and had Javi Gracia’s facet holding on as a succession of possibilities got here and went. Joao Felix was unlucky to see his glorious effort thump in opposition to the underside of the crossbar, Kai Havertz was unable to discover a well beyond Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier after being launched by Raheem Sterling and Ben Chilwell fired wastefully huge after discovering room contained in the guests’ space.

Leeds slowly started to nullify Chelsea’s momentum, nevertheless, permitting murmurs of frustration to permeate the Stamford Bridge environment, and discontent was palpable because the interval got here and not using a breakthrough. Graham Potter’s facet rediscovered their momentum, nevertheless, and cast forward shortly after half-time when Fofana met Ben Chilwell’s nook and powerfully headed excessive previous Meslier to internet his facet’s first objective in nearly 400 minutes of play, and immediate joyous scenes among the many house help.

Leeds responded positively and twice got here near levelling within the fast aftermath of Fofana’s header, however the hosts nearly rediscovered their composure and have been in a position to maintain out for a long-awaited and much-needed three factors.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)


A victory of any sort was very important, however one achieved with dominant, controlling soccer offered additional backing for Potter’s work. Chelsea have been undoubtedly good worth for his or her lead and, after struggling to adapt to the uncommon place of being forward, noticed out two sustained spells of Leeds stress and held on to register a priceless clear sheet. While he took the headlines as match-winner, Fofana’s first league begin in 5 months was extra invaluable in defensive phrases as he stepped in seamlessly for injured talisman Thiago Silva.

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Wasteful ending nearly proved expensive as soon as once more as Leeds weathered the storm and grew in confidence within the late phases of the primary half. Chelsea’s psychological fortitude was once more below scrutiny as Leeds hit again and, with higher ending of their very own, the nervous Blues may need dropped factors as soon as once more.

Manager score out of 10

7 — Deprived of defensive lynchpin Silva, Graham Potter reintroduced Fofana from the beginning in a three-man central defence. The resultant further man in midfield gave Chelsea whole dominance within the early phases, however but once more a tactical victory was undone by wayward ending from his forwards. Just when it appeared that the hosts would unravel within the second interval, Potter’s half-time directions propelled them right into a second half begin which yielded the profitable objective. There have been justifiable query marks, nevertheless, over the second-half substitutions which did little to assist the Blues’ trigger.

Player scores (1-10; 10 = finest, gamers launched after 70 minutes get no score)

GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 6 — Seldom referred to as upon throughout Chelsea’s early dominance, however needed to be alert greater than as soon as to help his again three in possession. Well shielded by his defence for probably the most half and ended the sport carrying the captain’s armband after Kovacic’s departure. Made a sensible late cease from Mateo Joseph earlier than clutching a fair later header from Meslier.

DF Wesley Fofana, 8 – Restored rather than the absent Thiago Silva and had the possibility to mark his first Premier League begin in 5 months with an honest early opening, however headed over. There was no such mistake made for the profitable objective, nevertheless, and thereafter the Frenchman was a totemic presence on the again.

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DF Kalidou Koulibaly, 6 – Outfoxed by Summerville in a uncommon Leeds assault within the first half, and breathed a sigh of aid to see the following free kick wasted. Took no prisoners, as per ordinary, and managed to take the sting out of Rutter’s goal-bound try at a key level within the recreation.

DF Benoit Badiashile, 7 – Showed a eager eye for a long-range go by releasing Chilwell halfway by means of the primary half, although spent the majority of his time placing in a strong defensive shift. Happier out of possession than in it, however rising in stature on a regular basis.

MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 6 – A usually diligent exhibiting from the large midfielder stationed at proper wing-back. Unable to make an enormous contribution in assault, however ensured that Leeds’ menace down the left seldom materialised. Withdrawn late on.

MF Enzo Fernandez, 7 – Heavily concerned going ahead early on and had a slew of makes an attempt through the course of the sport with out troubling Meslier. Put in loads of exhausting yards and confirmed large stamina in his contribution earlier than making approach for Madueke within the late phases.

MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 – Skipper within the absence of Silva, and rose to the duty in his customary style. On the entrance foot all through as Chelsea bossed the midfield from the off, however light in affect and made approach for Chukwuemeka as Potter reshuffled his pack late within the second half.

MF Ben Chilwell, 7 – Demonstrated his terrific engine by making telling contributions at each ends throughout a breathless first half. Might have achieved higher with one or two early openings, however atoned by supplying the nook for Fofana’s positive winner.

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FW Joao Felix, 7 – So unlucky to see his excellent effort thud in opposition to the underside of the bar halfway by means of the primary half. A number one gentle throughout Chelsea’s interval of dominance, however light thereafter and was eliminated as Potter seemed to lock within the victory.

FW Kai Havertz, 5 – Passed up a positive one-on-one likelihood within the early a part of the sport and appeared to have his confidence dented because of this. Full of operating, however continues to spend an excessive amount of time on the periphery of Chelsea’s strategy.

FW – Raheem Sterling, 6 – Well concerned within the first interval and will in all probability have had assists for each Havertz and Felix to his identify, however as a substitute reduce an more and more pissed off determine. Might have achieved higher with a second-half counter however might solely blaze wastefully off beam.


MF Conor Gallagher, 7 – Brought his customary vim and vigour at a time when Chelsea wanted it most. A powerful cameo from the bench, even when he did decide up a late reserving for his overzealous endeavours.

MF Denis Zakaria, 6 – Introduced to convey stability to the late phases, however unable to get a full grip on proceedings.

FW Carney Chukwuemeka, N/A – Spent the final quarter-hour on the fringes of an more and more disjointed recreation.

FW Noni Madueke, N/A – Unable to get closely concerned throughout his transient cameo.

DF Trevoh Chalobah, N/A – Called upon greater than as soon as to make last-ditch interventions as Chelsea nearly held on.