Kalidou Koulibaly

Chelsea snaps to life, bounces Dortmund to reach Champions League quarters


Chelsea sealed a place in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals by beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 (2-1 on aggregate) on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.

Raheem Sterling scored just before halftime and Kai Havertz made the most of a second chance at an early-second half penalty.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Dortmund led 1-0 after one leg through Karim Adeyemi, but Chelsea boss Graham Potter insisted that his team was very good in the game, just wasteful.

Chelsea joins Benfica in the hat for the last eight, while Dortmund refocuses itself on their pursuit of the Bundesliga crown.

[ MORE: Champions League score predictions

Potter’s Blues shows style, substance in huge win

Chelsea’s been through the ringer over the past two months, and almost all of it has been of its own doing.

But there’s been some question as to whether Graham Potter should be to blame for the mix of new- and old Chelsea failing to find its finish despite finding real resolves in its own end.

Once Tottenham beat Chelsea 2-0 a few weeks ago, the Blues no longer had defensive strength on which to lean and some were saying ex-Brighton boss Potter was out of his depth and soon to be shown the door.

Potter had admitted his struggles to deal with the criticism lobbed his way, but he stayed in his line and kept encouraging his players to deliver the goods.

Boy, did they, although it’s a little comical that Raheem Sterling butchered his first crack at Chelsea’s first goal and Kai Havertz had to retake the penalty that led to 2-0.

Nothing was going to come easy for the Blues, but Chelsea kept fighting and Potter deserves some credit for that.

The Blues are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League in any other matter than winning the competition, but the honest truth is that they very much have looked capable of that over 180 minutes versus a good Dortmund side.

Anything goes in the final 8, and we’ve already seen Chelsea win the European Cup in a down season earlier in the London club’s celebrated existence.

Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings: Stars of the Show

Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella: Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta was out and Benoit Badiashile ineligible, so the back three was a bit stretched. Wesley Fofana was fine, don’t get us wrong, but Koulibaly and Cucurella had us saying, “Thiago who?” (before quickly answering ourselves, “Thiago Silva. One of the best of his era, duh.”

Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings

Emre Can: Effective at both ends of the pitch as the former Liverpool man did his best to eliminate his former rivals.

Enzo Fernandez: There will come a day when someone will righteously criticize the expensive Argentine, but it won’t be Tuesday: Nine recoveries and four clearances next to a roving Mateo Kovacic.

Kai Havertz: Might’ve not been the tidiest, hitting the post early and missing his first penalty, but the German ran his shorts off and was credited with six recoveries. If anything, he should be lauded for not wilting during this ice-cold run as he’s been the only attacker religiously named starter by Graham Potter.

Giovanni Reyna: The 20-year-old was pulled into action after only five minutes, and was credited with two chances created and came within a brave Chelsea block of scoring shortly after Havertz’s penalty.

What’s next?

Chelsea goes to Leicester City for a 10am ET Saturday scrap with the Foxes.

Dortmund has to dust itself off for a Revierderby at 12:30pm ET Saturday at Schalke.

Graham Potter reaction

Asked how he feels about the win: “I’m not sure! There is a lot of emotion in the end. It was tense in the end but the boys played fantastic. I am delighted for them to get the win and great for everyone here.”

“Inevitably, in life, you’re going to have bad times and good times. I don’t see any other way to look at it. It’s how you react to the bad times, get some perspective and analyze it in the correct way. Things are never bad forever but it felt like that sometimes.”

Raheem Sterling goal video: England star makes good for gaffe

Kai Havertz penalty video: Second time’s the charm

How to watch Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund live, stream link, kick off time

Date/Time: Tuesday, March 7 at 3pm ET (UPDATE: Kickoff delays to 3:10pm by BVB late arrival)
Stats: Via scoreboard on NBCSports.com
How to watchTUDN, Paramount+

Key storylines

This game is Chelsea’s season. This game will define if Graham Potter’s superstars can improve in the final months of the campaign and go on another deep run in the Champions League. They have to stay solid defensively and hope their forwards finally click together. They can beat Dortmund and they showed that in the first leg as they dominated the game, missed several chances and were hit on the counter. Sound familiar, Chelsea fans?

The Blues know if they score in the first half then it’s all systems go but they will be wary of this young Dortmund side who despite a slew of injuries to attacking players, they’re flying right now and have absolutely no fear. If Potter can guide Chelsea to at least the Champions League semifinals then Chelsea’s fans will ease some of the pressure on him, for now. Of course they want to finish in the Premier League’s top four but that seems very unlikely this season so the only way they will be playing in the Champions League next season is by winning this tournament. Expectations are high. First up: let’s see if Chelsea can reach the quarterfinals. Baby steps.

Chelsea team news, lineup options

OUT: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Thiago Silva (knee), Edouard Mendy (shoulder), Armando Broja (knee), Mason Mount (abdominal/suspension), Cesar Azpilicueta (concussion)

Borussia Dortmund team news, lineup options

OUT: Youssoufa Moukoko (knee), Karim Adeyemi (muscle), Gregor Kobel (muscle), Julien Duranville (muscle), Mateu Morey Bauza (fitness)

Joao Felix’s bright Chelsea debut ends in red; 10-man Blues fall at Fulham


Joao Felix’s bright Chelsea debut ended with a late lunge and a red card as the loanee’s Blues debut was a microcosm of the Graham Potter tenure in a 2-1 loss at Fulham at Craven Cottage on Thursday.

Former Chelsea star Willian had given Fulham a halftime lead but Kalidou Koulibaly had the Blues level after the break and Felix showed instant chemistry with Kai Havertz.


But Felix went in hard and late on Kenny Tete in the 58th minute, and Graham Potter’s Chelsea misery continued when Carlos Vinicius snapped home an Andreas Pereira cross late for the win.

Fulham’s victory boosts it sixth in the Premier League with 31 points, six more than 10th-place Chelsea.

The Blues have played one more match than Fulham, but they’ve won just one of their last nine games in all competitions. Fulham has five straight in all competitions, beating Palace, Southampton, Leicester, Hull CIty (FA Cup), and now Chelsea.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Chelsea’s injuries in attack joined by Felix red

Fulham’s having a magnificent season but Chelsea controlled this match on the whole. The Blues’ list of injured attackers, however, continues to complicate things.

Injuries to Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling helped inspire Chelsea’s loan of Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid and he looked just the tonic over most of his 57 minutes on the pitch.

He wasn’t lifted for fitness or injury, however; Felix’s super late, studs-up challenge means Chelsea won’t have their new toy for a while.

It’s a shame, too, because Chelsea had racked up more than 2.00 expected goals as Felix was joined by Kai Havertz in a tantalizing young duo.

Fulham vs Chelsea
Joao Felix (fotmob.com)

The Blues had all the big chances in the game as Fulham’s goal came on Willian’s deflected effort — the longtime Chelsea man did not celebrate his opener.

Carlos Vinicius, a former Tottenham man himself, did celebrate his late goal that boosted Fulham up 2-1 and came as another ex-Londoner in Bernd Leno played very well between the Spurs’ sticks.

This was a good effort from Fulham. While the Cottagers continue to keep things interesting late in their close games, close wins build character.

Marco Silva’s men put forth plenty of his fire on the pitch, and they did it without Aleksandar MItrovic. The double-digit scorer will try to cool off Newcastle at his former home this weekend.

Stars of the Show

Thiago Silva

Kai Havertz

Bernd Leno

Carlos Vinicius


What’s next

Chelsea hosts Crystal Palace at 9am ET Sunday, while Fulham visits Newcastle at the same time.

Graham Potter’s reaction: Joao Felix red warranted, frustrated for fans

“We responded well but the red card changes the game. We could do better than we did on their goal and that’s what cost us. Really disappointed to lose,” Graham Potter said after the game. “There’s a reaction from the side and it’s a forward’s tackle, shall we say, and there was too much malice in it. I understand why he’s sent off. It’s another blow. The hits just keep coming at the moment. That’s how it is. He was really good and you could see his quality in the game so it’s doubly disappointing for us.”

“It’s tough. I feel for the supporters and the players and everyone at the club. We have to just keep going. We have to keep working. There’s no other solution, move to the next match and try to get three points.”

Willian goal video: Deflection helps Fulham in front

Kalidou Koulibaby goal video: Senegalese cleans up rebound

Joao Felix red card video: Bright start undone by late blades

Carlos Vinicius goal video: Back in front!

How to watch Fulham vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET, Thursday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium

Key storylines

Fulham are flying high after three-straight wins over the festive period and there is a very impressive resilience about the squad Silva has created. Of course, Mitrovic is the main man up top and will be sorely missed in this clash, but they have so much quality in midfield and attacking areas with summer signings Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira and Willian making a big impact. Also, Bernd Leno has been excellent in goal. Most people expected Fulham to go down this season so they’re now playing with house money and are full of confidence. Special things can happen when teams are in the kind of situation, and mood, the Cottagers find themselves in right now.

Chelsea are feeling the opposite of special. They have been hit hard by injuries, look lackluster in attack and questions are starting to fly when it comes to whether or not Graham Potter was the right hire. Todd Boehly has said he will give Potter plenty of time to sort things out but Chelsea’s squad don’t seem to be excited by the brand of football he is asking them to play. What is their philosophy? How will they hurt opponents? None of it is clear right now.

In-form players to keep an eye on

Mitrovic continues to score goals galore but he’s missing this one through suspension so Carlos Vinicius is likely to start up top. Pereira, Palhinha and Willian are winning the ball back and will be aiming to get the ball to Vinicius in dangerous areas. USMNT duo Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson have been excellent all season long and Leno has provided some real confidence as Fulham have improved massively in defense.

Chelsea have no players in good form but youngster Carney Chukwuemeka did play extremely well when he came on against Manchester City.

Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options

Mitrovic is suspended due to yellow card accumulation so Vinicius should start up top. Shane Duffy and Neeskens Kebano remain out, while Manor Solomon made his long-awaited return from injury in the FA Cup win at Hull and having him around will be a big boost.

Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options

Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic both joined Chelsea’s growing injury list as N’Golo Kante, Reece James and Wesley Fofana are getting closer to returns. Ben Chilwell, Armando Broja, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Edouard Mendy remain out, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is battling through a back issue. At this point Graham Potter still has a lot of international players to choose from and he needs the likes of Jorginho, Mason Mount, Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Hakim Ziyech to stand tall.

Chelsea makes quick work of 10-man AC Milan at San Siro (video)


Chelsea didn’t let a change of venue alter its control over AC Milan, winning 2-0 at the San Siro on Tuesday in a red-card aided UEFA Champions League affair in Italy.

Graham Potter’s Blues now sit first in Group E after former Chelsea back Fikayo Tomori was sent off in the 18th minute for a last man back foul which occurred… in a non-traditional place for such a sending-off. A controversial call that begs a look at the rule book.

Jorginho would convert a penalty and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also scored as the final score line was set by halftime.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Chelsea beat Milan 3-0 at Stamford Bridge last week as Graham Potter’s side got their first win of the group stage and sit on four points.

Injury-hit Milan remain on four points and sit fourth after Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb drew 1-1. Milan is behind Dinamo on goal differential and two points back of Salzburg.

So, yeah, it’s still very tight in Group E.

Americans Abroad: Pulisic, Dest start on bench

USMNT winger Christian Pulisic did not feature for Chelsea after starting at the weekend, and it seemed likely that international teammate Sergino Dest would suffer the same fate.

But Brahim Diaz was sacrificed for the far more defensive-minded Dest in the 37th minute as AC Milan looked to stop goal differential from getting out of hand.

Dest played the remaining 52 minutes and missed a glorious chance to pull Milan within a goal early in the second half. He finished with a blocked shot and two tackles while displaying a wide range of passing. If Stefano Pioli can get over the miss, Dest may get more looks based of this showing.

Stars of the show

Kalidou Koulibaly: Serie A familiarity shone bright for Chelsea, especially from the longtime Napoli back

Jorginho: Same as above, controlling the midfield.

Kepa Arrizabalaga: Only needed to make one save but showed his skill as a passer, connecting on 25-of-27 passes. The only misses were on long balls.

Fikayo Tomori red card video

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal video

How to watch AC Milan vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET, Tuesday
TV Channel: TUDN, Paramount+
Online: Updates via NBCSports.com

Key storylines

Milan have been hit by plenty of injuries and after a gruelling game against Juventus at the weekend, this is a very quick turnaround. Chelsea made seven changes for their win against Wolves and such is the strength of their squad, Potter should revert to pretty much the same lineup which beat Milan last week. Both teams are in good form heading into this one so confidence levels will be high and this is a crucial game in determining which team will move closer to reaching the last 16.

In-form players to keep an eye on

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz scored at the weekend and continues to pop up when needed, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling and Reece James were all rested so they should be razor sharp at the San Siro. Milan’s Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea academy product) popped up with a big goal in the win against Juventus at the weekend and Brahim Diaz (formerly of Man City) also scored a beauty too. Rafael Leao remains the man dangerman for Milan.

The lowdown on AC Milan

Injury issues aside, Stefano Piolo’s side are digging deep early in the season and the reigning Italian champs sit just three points off leaders Napoli. Defensively they have been missing Davide Calabria and Simon Kjaer, while goalkeeper Mike Maignan is also expected to be out with a calf injury. In midfield Alexis Saelemaekers and Charles De Ketelaere have also been hit with injuries but left back Theo Hernandez and Divock Origi did return at the weekend. Up top Olivier Giroud is leading the line heroically and Leao is causing so many problems. Even with injuries piling up, this Milan side will be very tough to break down, especially at home.

Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options

Chelsea’s injury issues have calmed down with Wesley Fofana expected to be out for around a month with a knee injury he picked up against Milan last week. That is nowhere near as bad as the Blues first feared. N’Golo Kante has suffered a setback in his comeback from injury, which is a big blow, while Thiago Silva is back after missing the win against Wolves with a cold. Potter will rotate his lineup once again as the likes of Sterling, James, Silva, Aubameyang, Kovacic and Chilwell are all expected to come back in. Having such a huge squad is perfect for this busy period of intense games every three days between now and November when the World Cup break arrives.

Chelsea vs Tottenham player ratings after combustible London derby


Chelsea vs Tottenham took some time to get heated up but there was a full boil going by the final stages of Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

The London derby rivals might’ve been a little tentative to start and Chelsea definitely looked like the club that’s been in the rivalry ascendancy for some time, but Tottenham found some life through a tactical switch after halftime.

[ MORE: Tuchel furious with referee after Conte fight ]

When all was said and done, however, a Chelsea team in some need a statement performance for its manager got one for Thomas Tuchel, and did it at the expense of a man who’s brought it silverware in Antonio Conte.

Did Conte wait a bit too long to make some substitutions, or did some of his usual stars just let him down? A little of both?


Let’s dig into Chelsea vs Tottenham player ratings.

Chelsea player ratings vs Tottenham

Eduoard Mendy: 6.5 — Terrific early save on Ryan Sessegnon moments after the Blues went ahead on a chance that could’ve stifled Chelsea’s early joy. You want to judge his failure to get to the late corner, but four Spurs attackers were there, too.

Reece James: 7.5 — Well taken goal and good day going forward and defending. Gives his all, that’s for sure.

Kalidou Koulibaly: 8 — Proving every bit the Premier League player he was rumored to be year-upon-year-upon-year. A Kevin De Bruyne-esque finish to start the scoring. Actually terrifying.

Thiago Silva: 6

Marc Cucurella: 6.5– Buzzed up and down the pitch in a performance that will leave Pep Guardiola grimacing at City ownership (or whatever allowed the transfer to get to Chelsea).

Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 6.5

Jorginho (Off 73′): 5 — A quieter day as Chelsea’s central midfield work was best done without the ball. Gives the ball away in his box under pressure leading up to Hojbjerg goal.

N’Golo Kante (Off 85′): 6

Mason Mount: 7 — Not terribly effective in attack but his seven tackles and constant pressure were key to Chelsea’s moments of control.

Raheem Sterling (On 85′): 6.5 — Got his assist and the explosive nature he brings to the Blues is almost as clear as his calm in big-game experiences. That said, He struggled to drive at Tottenham’s back line and should’ve scored at least one.

Kai Havertz: 6.5 (Off 90′) — Could’ve scored. Should’ve scored. But got stuck into countless challenges and looked dangerous on the dribble. Still, he’s here to score goals and did not.


Cesar Azpilicueta (On 73′): N/A
Conor Gallagher (On 85′): N/A
Christian Pulisic (On 85′): N/A
Armando Broja (On 90′): N/A

Kalidou Koulibaly
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham player ratings vs Chelsea

Hugo Lloris: 5.5 — It’ll read a bit harsh but like Harry Kane getting a half-change, we’re used to Hugo Lloris coming up with a huge save. Could he have done better with the second Chelsea goal? It was a one-save day for the World Cup winner.

Ben Davies: 7.5 — Among Spurs’ MOTM candidates, with eight clearances and four tackles plus the layoff to Hojbjerg for Spurs’ lone goal.

Eric Dier: 6.5

Cristian Romero: 6.5 — Was set for a Spurs MOTM-type nod until he pulled Cucurella’s hair in a move that, should it have been called by VAR, would’ve sent him off and cost the corner that led to Kane’s goal.

Ryan Sessegnon (Off 57′): 5 — Pulled after 57 minutes, Chelsea had joy down the right side as Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a big foil for Sessegnon

Emerson Royal (Off 82′): 5.5 — Had enough bright moments going forward that you could miss his mistakes on Chelsea “almost” moments.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 8 — Only Kane was as strong a player on the day. Six clearances, four tackles, three blocked shots.

Rodrigo Betancur (Off 80′): 6

Dejan Kulusevski: 4.5 — We don’t say this much about the 22-year-old but he played a young and Immature game today.

Heung-min Son (Off 80′): 4 — One of the worst days you’ll see from the South Korean star, who was starved of the ball and didn’t have a good day defensively. Failed to close down Reece James cross on what should’ve been a Kai Havertz goal.

Harry Kane: 8.5– Come the moment, come the man. He missed a chance to score earlier in the match and he doesn’t often miss twice, does he? Busy all day even with very little support until Richarlison arrived into the game.


Richarlison (On 57′): 6.5 — Made his case on a day that Son and Kulusevski showed their fallibility.
Ivan Perisic (On 80′): 7 — Gets an assist on the corner
Yves Bissouma (On 80′): N/A
Lucas Moura (On 82′): N/A

Kalidou Koulibaly spins sensational goal, Chelsea leads Tottenham (video)


Kalidou Koulibaly, welcome to Stamford Bridge.

The big Chelsea defender is making his home Premier League debut a memorable one, smashing home off a set piece moments after lashing away from outside the box.

Koulibaly’s first effort fired wide of the near post as the center back sent a warning shot that had him apologizing to Raheem Sterling for not finding the forward on the left edge of the box.


But the longtime Napoli man made amends within minutes when fellow Chelsea new boy Marc Cucurella swept a corner kick through the fray that met the man mountain at the back post.

Koulibaly measures his volley and smacks it home with the outside of his foot in a shot that may’ve just grazed the top of Sterling’s head on the way to goal.

Wouldn’t that truly be a make-good if Sterling got credit?

In any event, Chelsea is living the dream early at Stamford Bridge against a Tottenham side tipped to potentially claim top London honors this season.

WATCH: Kalidou Koulibaly goal is all-quality to give Chelsea lead over Spurs