THE NOTEBOOK: Wesley Fofana header ends Chelsea's home drought, Ben Chilwell shows his class as Blues out ball... as Graham Potter's side grab much-needed victory
Wesley Fofana's second half header gave Chelsea a much-needed 1-0 win against Leeds United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
The win is only the Blues third in their last 16 league matches and will be a relief for under-pressure manager Graham Potter, who had admitted before the game that recent poor results had 'left his job in peril.'
After a tense opening half, Fofana finally found the breakthrough for the blues on the 53rd minute, rising high off a in-swinging corner from Ben Chilwell to break the deadlock.
The result sees the London side stay tenth in the Premier League, nine points off the top four. Leeds will meanwhile stay 17th and avoid the relegation zone only by goal difference.
Sportsmail's Adrian Kajumba was on hand to point out the things you might have missed from Chelsea's crucial win at Stamford Bridge.
The pressure is on Graham Potter, who's side have not won in their last five league matches
Wesley Fofana (right) opened the scoring for Chelsea with a header putting them 1-0 up
Kepa’s mark of respect
Chelsea’s goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga joined in the tributes being paid across the game to legendary former Spanish stopper and coach Jose Angel Iribar ahead of kick-off.
Kepa donned a black shirt with Iribar’s name and the number 80 for his warmup after the latter celebrated reaching that landmark birthday this week.
Iribar is a legend at Athletic Bilbao and in Spanish football after making almost 500 appearances for Kepa’s former club and winning 49 international caps.
He wore a black shirt in his playing days like his own idol Lev Yashin and Athletic asked goalkeepers across Spanish game to honour Iribar if they could by wearing shirts of the same colour.
With Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Reece James out, Kepa ended the game as captain when Mateo Kovacic came off.
Chelsea currently sit 10th in the Premier League standings just a point off Brentford in 9th
Despite a big win against Southampton last week, Leeds currently sit fourth from bottom
Chilwell the out ball
Reece James may have been missing but the value of Ben Chilwell as a flying wingback was there for all to see against Leeds. He was repeatedly Chelsea’s out ball, and, strangely, left unattended far too often by Leeds given the danger he was causing with his raiding runs from left wingback.
Having just one of the pair to call on makes a significant difference to this Chelsea side. How different things could have been for Graham Potter if he’d have had both available more often.
Chelsea end home drought
Wesley Fofana was the unlikely scorer to end Chelsea’s wait for a goal at Stamford Bridge. Their previous one came way back in mid-January from Kai Havertz against Crystal Palace.
When Fofana nodded in Ben Chiwell’s corner, the clock stopped at 258 minutes since their last goal at home.
Fofana meanwhile was involved in a funny incident towards the end of a game when a nudge from Wilfied Gnonto sent him sliding off the pitch and saw him wipe out a poor steward as she walked around the pitch. There was no feigning of injury here though, despite her hefty fall.Player problems
Having too many players has not been an easy situation for Graham Potter to manage, as Sportsmail reported earlier this week. Having too many Fofana’s in particular was a more specific problem when Leeds came to town with striker David Datro Fofana displayed as Chelsea’s No.33 on the electronic hoardings surrounding the pitch rather than Wesley, the actual holder of the squad. David Fofana was not in the Chelsea squad.
This was a worthwhile day for a small delegation from the United States Soccer Federation to be at Stamford Bridge.
Visitors Leeds started all three of their US internationals Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Brenden Aaronson. Sadly, injury denied them the chance to watch the man dubbed Captain America, their star man and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic.
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