Chelsea fans have written off their team’s chances of overcoming Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 after Marc Cucurella was selected to start in defence. The Blues are trailing BvB 1-0 from the first leg heading into Tuesday (March 7) night clash at Stamford Bridge.
Graham Potter has opted to choose Cucurella in a back three alongside Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly. The Blues are dealing with Thiago Silva’s absence, with the Brazilian defender expected to be out of action for six weeks with a knee injury.
Cucurella has drawn criticism throughout the campaign for lackluster performances. The Spanish left-back arrived at Stamford Bridge from Brighton & Hove Albion last summer for £60 million. He has featured 26 times across competitions, providing two assists.
The former Brighton man has not played as a centre-back this season nor during his time at the Amex under Potter. It’s a massive risk the English coach is taking with his job potentially at stake.
The UEFA Champions League is Chelsea’s last hope of silverware this season. They sit tenth in the league and are out of all domestic cup competitions. Cucurella will need to put in an assured performance against a tricky Dortmund attack that boasts speed and energy in Julian Brandt and Sebastian Haller.
Meanwhile, Potter has selected Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal, with Fofana, Kouilably, and Cucurella in defence. Reece James and Ben Chilwell are at right and left wing-backs respectively. Mateo Kovacic captains the side. with Enzo Fernandez in midfield. and Raheem Sterling, Joao Felix and Kai Havertz in attack.
Some of the Stamford Bridge faithful are already accepting defeat to BvB due to Cucurella’s selection. One fan suggested that the Blues will need god because the Spaniard was chosen ahead of Trevoh Chalobah:
“Cucurella over Chalobah? We need God.”
Another thinks Dortmund will run riot against Chelsea:
“Cucurella? We getting smoked.”
Another fan has already accepted defeat:
“Cucurella starting in a back 3 means we have no chance. I already give up.”
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Potter’s questionable choice of Cucurella in defence:
Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic returns to bench against Dortmund
Pulisic has returned from a knee injury that has kept him sidelined since January 15. He suffered a knock in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City. He has handed Potter a boost and has made the substitutes’ bench for Chelsea’s game with Dortmund.
The American attacker’s future is uncertain, as he has the likes of Sterling, Mason Mount, Havertz and Felix to compete with for a berth in Potter’s side. He has scored one goal and provided two assists in 21 games this season.
The injury crisis that Potter has endured since taking over last September is starting to improve.
N’Golo Kante is another name many Blues fans are waiting to return from injury. However, Pulisic’s return is a welcome one as Chelsea are in search of more creativity in attack.