Where's Aubameyang?! Chelsea winners, losers and ratings as Joao Felix's finishing lets Graham Potter down in Dortmund

Joao Felix Chelsea Dortmund Champions League 2022-23
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The Blues were left counting the cost of the Portuguese's profligacy as they slumped to a 1-0 Champions League loss at Signal Iduna Park.

Chelsea spent a fortune on players during the winter window but they were once again left counting the cost of their failure to sign a proven goalscorer in Wednesday night's Champions League loss at Borussia Dortmund.

Joao Felix was the most high-profile forward to arrive at Stamford Bridge in January but the Portuguese has never been prolific, and the Blues' 1-0 loss at Signal Iduna Park showed precisely why.

Having already squandered one great opening, after receiving a clever cut-back from Hakim Ziyech, Felix fired against the bar after being put clean through on goal by Kai Havertz.

Unsurprisingly, his profligacy was punished in the second half, as Karim Adeyemi raced away from Enzo Fernandez to score a stunning solo goal that gives Dortmund the narrowest of advantages ahead of the second leg of this last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge next month.

Below, GOAL runs through the winners and losers from another frustrating evening in front of goal for Chelsea...

  1. The Winners
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    The Winners

    Karim Adeyemi:

    Truth be told, this wasn't a high-quality contest but it was decided by a goal worthy of a Champions League final. When Raphael Guerreiro hooked the ball clear in the 63rd minute, he was merely trying to relieve some of the pressure on the Dortmund goal. However, in doing so, he inadvertently released Adeyemi, who picked up possession deep inside his half before absolutely rinsing poor Enzo Fernandez. Adeyemi also took a wonderfully delicate touch to take the ball around the onrushing Kepa before slotting home. It was no more than the Germany international deserved, too. He had looked the man most likely to break the deadlock for Dortmund during a dominant first half and he now has three goals in his last three appearances - more than he had in his first 20 outings combined (two).

    Jesus Gil Manzano:

    The Spaniard is not many people's favourite official. Gerard Pique had a few choice words for Manzano before retiring from the game last year... But credit where it's due, Adeyemi's wonder-goal would not have been possible without the referee, who decided to play the advantage after his assistant had flagged a Chelsea offside just moments before Dortmund broke to such devastating effect. Match officials are copping an awful lot of criticism right now - some justified, some horribly over the top - so it's only right that we highlight great calls when they're made.

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang:

    The man's stock is rising without even having to take a seat on the bench. Seriously, what was Potter thinking leaving Aubameyang out of his squad for the knockout stage of the Champions League?! He may have been a Thomas Tuchel signing but he's the only proven goalscorer in this dreadfully imbalanced Chelsea squad. Yes, Potter has too many players to choose from right now. He's not been helped at all by his bosses' scattergun approach to recruitment. But to not even have Aubameyang as an option off the bench is madness. Chelsea needed a goal at Signal Iduna Park and they couldn't even bring on a player who used to score goals there for fun.

  2. The Losers

    The Losers

    Joao Felix's finishing:

    The Portugal international is a joy to watch at times. He's got a wonderful ability to get out of the tightest of situations with the ball still glued to his feet. But, for all his attributes, and he does have plenty, finishing is not one of them. Remember, he scored just 34 goals in 131 games for Atletico Madrid, while he's only netted four times for his country. He was never likely, then, to suddenly run riot at Chelsea. However, one is perfectly entitled to expect a player of his undoubted quality to convert the second chance he had in Dortmund. The goal was at his mercy and yet he somehow construed to crash the ball off the bar. It cost Chelsea the game, and could yet end up costing them the tie too...

    Mykhailo Mudryk's first touch:

    The Ukrainian's potential is obvious, his pace absolutely breath-taking, but he's far from the finished article, which is quite something given his transfer fee. There is a worrying lack of control right now; at times, it's almost as if he is too quick for his good, as underlined by the way in which he never quite got the ball out of his feet after being released into acres of space by Felix early on. The net result was that he ended up being dispossessed on the edge of the area. Then, just moments before he was subbed midway through the second half, his pace got him in behind the Dortmund backline once more but he failed dismally to control a lofted pass from Kalidou Koulibaly. Mudryk scares defenders. He should develop into a serious and constant threat but it's clear that it will take some time and patience to polish this roughest of diamonds.

    Graham Potter:

    Had the Blues boss got the victory that his team arguably did enough to earn (their xG was 2.13, to Dortmund's 1.41), he would have become the first English coach to win five consecutive games in the Champions League, which would have gone some way towards easing the intense pressure he is under. As it was, though, Europe provided no respite for the former Brighton manager. Indeed, Chelsea have won just two of their past 12 games in all competitions, and tasted victory just once in 2023. This is obviously a team in transition, one in the middle of the most expensive overhaul in football history. It can't be easy working in such an unstable environment but there's no denying that Potter's results simply aren't good enough right now. He needs to mastermind a second-leg turnaround to buy himself more time to work with this expensively-assembled side.

  3. Chelsea Ratings: Defence

    Chelsea Ratings: Defence

    Kepa Arrizabalaga (5/10): Didn't have much to do, truth be told, but could have done better to make life more difficult for Adeyemi, who rounded the Spaniard with ease.

    Reece James (7/10): One of Chelsea's better players, looking more and more like his old self going forward.

    Thiago Silva (6/10): Booked for stupidly handling the ball into the net in the first half but was otherwise his usual clever, composed self.

    Kalidou Koulibaly (7/10): Performed well on his return to the starting line-up and very nearly levelled the game late on with a low drive that Can cleared off the line.

    Ben Chilwell (5/10): Looked unsurprisingly rusty in his first start since November. His distribution was particularly poor but he'll be delighted to get 70 minutes under his belt.

  4. Midfield


    Ruben Loftus-Cheek (7/10): A very solid showing from the Englishman, who won the ball back repeatedly and used it well.

    Enzo Fernandez (6/10): Embarrassed by Adeyemi's pace for the only goal of the game but did his best to try to make things happen. Indeed, everything went through the Argentine, who drew a great save out of Gregor Kobel in the dying seconds.

  5. Attack


    Hakim Ziyech (5/10): Booked for dissent midway through the second half, which kind of summed up what was a frustrating evening for the winger.

    Joao Felix (6/10): Chelsea's best attacker by some distance but, as already mentioned, he is just not a natural finisher.

    Mykhailo Mudryk (5/10): His pace is frightening but there was once again a worrying lack of an end product.

    Kai Havertz (5/10): Set up Felix for Chelsea's best chance of the game but the German has never scored against Dortmund and he never looked like ending that ignominious record here.

  6. Subs & Manager

    Subs & Manager

    Marc Cucurella (5/10): Introduced in place of his good friend Mudryk with just under 20 minutes to go but the most notable thing he did was get involved in a late melee.

    Mason Mount (5/10): Came on for Chilwell but did little of note, other than pick up a booking.

    Graham Potter (5/10): If Felix had taken one of his chances, Potter would be getting praised right now for another decent result in Europe. As it is, though, there will only be further questions over the composition of his expensive squad, and his ability to get the most out of it...