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Graham Potter drops Chelsea tactical hint ahead of Borussia Dortmund clash with Reece James role

Graham Potter drops Chelsea tactical hint ahead of Borussia Dortmund clash with Reece James role

Graham Potter has suggested that he will continue to use a defensive formation with three players at the back in the upcoming Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. \

He has explained that the responsibility for scoring goals is not solely on Kai Havertz.

Despite not scoring or assisting any goals, Havertz played the entire match, and his team had to rely on a set-piece to score the winning goal against Leeds on Saturday.

The goal, which was Wesley Fofana’s fifth for the team in the past 12 games, came from a corner, meaning that only two goals have been scored from open play by the Blues in 2023.

Despite several clear opportunities presenting themselves to Chelsea, particularly in the first half, they were unable to convert them into goals. Joao Felix hit the bar with his shot, while Ben Chilwell was unable to convert his first-time volley.

Kai Havertz also missed a great chance, with his weak one-on-one effort saved by Illan Meslier. This has been a recurring theme for Chelsea in recent matches.

However, Potter made a tactical adjustment to accommodate his available players, resting Reece James due to a tight hamstring. James is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund, and Potter reverted to a three-man defense, even without his preferred first-choice player for that position.

Potter has recently switched to a four-man defense, but he admitted that the back-three formation made Chelsea look more confident and secure. This marks a departure from his previous reluctance to demonstrate tactical flexibility.

“Yeah, I think it would,” he said after the match. “Obviously it hasn’t been as straightforward as it sounds because we’ve had people dropping off regularly really, which has made it hard to have that consistency that you need, that we want.

“But in the meantime we have to keep working, which is what we’ve done. But yeah, I thought we had a nice balance about us. We were better in terms of attacking certainly of the first half. And that’s something for us to improve.”

To replace the injured Reece James, Potter used Ruben Loftus-Cheek as a makeshift wing-back on the right, a tactic that Thomas Tuchel successfully employed just over a year ago. This change appeared to be effective, as it gave Ben Chilwell more freedom to attack, and James has also performed well in an advanced position.

Despite their defensive tendencies, the English duo have been involved in a significant number of goals in the past 18 months, and their absence due to injury has been felt by the team. In their absence, there hasn’t been a consistent goal-scoring threat or finisher, leaving much of the burden on Kai Havertz.

The German was defended after another goalless game, though. “I think we have to attack better as a team and that’s my responsibility,” Potter explained. “It’s too easy to zoom into individuals and blame them. It’s a collective, we have to create more, do better and that starts with me, helping the team get better chances more chances because then I don’t doubt the quality of the players.”

The return of the wing-backs will also help to alleviate some of the pressure on Kai Havertz, who has not proven to be a consistent goal-scorer in his two and a half years in England.

. “Both of those, Ben and Reece, have been unavailable for us for a long time so we’ve had to find different solutions,” Potter continued.

“But clearly that’s two roles that they’re comfortable in and brings out their quality so something for us to go forward with.”

Chelsea will require their wing-backs to perform at their best against Borussia Dortmund in the upcoming match, as they will need to score at least two goals to progress to the next round, possibly through a penalty shootout.

Since the absence of James, Chelsea has not scored two goals in a single game since October, which is a concerning statistic. However, the good news is that there is a high probability of the 23-year-old being available for the European match.

“Reece just felt a little bit of tightness,” Potter said before the game on Saturday.

“Which is sometimes understandable when he’s coming back from an injury. We’ve been assessing this week; we feel it’s too soon for the game on Saturday, but there’s a strong chance he’ll be available for Tuesday.”

Graham Potter drops Chelsea tactical hint ahead of Borussia Dortmund clash with Reece James role

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