Chelsea rose to the occasion to see off Borussia Dortmund in a night that many perceived as an extremely important one for the under pressure Graham Potter. CFC is now through to the quarterfinals after winning 2-1 on aggregate, and while there is still the problems in the league, The Blues still have a chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning the current campaign. Everyone in the community needed this win, as well as the performance, and they got in last night. It was a great team performance, but there were standouts. Here are four positives from the second leg of the Round of 16 tie.
Kalidou Koulibaly (No. 26) Centerback, Senegal
Koulibaly deserves so much credit, especially from the fans, after how much he has struggled this season. The Senegal captain mentioned himself that he has struggled with the Premier League. Some were already linking him with a move away from Stamford Bridge despite having only spent eight months at the club and being on a five-year contract. This attitude of writing off players after a short period of time doesn’t indicate standards at all, it indicates an insensitive section of football fandom that expects players to show what they’re about quickly or else it means they’re not up to it.
Yes, Koulibaly had not been great in blue, but it’s not uncommon for players to come into the league and struggle, and it doesn’t say anything about football ability. Koulibaly’s performances have picked up in the past week and it is credit to him. He had a great performance against Leeds United and was also Chelsea’s best performing defender against Dortmund in the Blues’ big win.
Koulibaly led the centerbacks in defensive actions, making 11 in total. He made six clearances, two interceptions and three key tackles. He also won the most duels, and the highest proportion of attempted duels too, winning 8/12, including 4/4 ground duels. His passing was not great, as he only completed 78 per cent of his passes and 2/3 of his long balls. His passing accuracy was only 4% less than Wesley Fofana’s, who had the highest passing accuracy amongst the centerbacks.