Things finally seem to be pointing in the right direction for Chelsea Football Club.
Sitting in 10th-place and mired in a 3-4-4 (W-D-L) stretch in league play since the World Cup, the Blues collected a huge result on Tuesday by defeating Borussia Dortmund, 2-0, to advance to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
The win, which was their second in four days after a 1-0 decision against Leeds United in the Premier League, took some of the building heat off of Graham Potter, who took over at Stamford Bridge back in October.
As was the case with the early days of Potter’s tenure at Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea’s statistical profile under the Englishman looked great, but the Blues just couldn’t turn a strong process into tangible results.
That may be changing.
Chelsea vs. Leicester City pick
(10 a.m. ET)
Chelsea has played 11 matches since the World Cup.
In that span, the Blues have scored seven goals and conceded eight.
That tells us a few things. One, Chelsea seems to be playing a lot of low-event matches.
Not only are the Blues not scoring, but they’re not conceding much either.
The offensive firepower may be lacking, but at least the team’s defensive form is keeping them in games.
And the defensive numbers look legitimate.
According to Understat, Chelsea has conceded 9.8 expected goals in those 11 matches.
In other words, the Blues have benefited from strong goalkeeping and some luck, but nothing out of the ordinary.
It’s a different story on the other side of the pitch, though.
The Blues have mustered just seven goals in their last 11 matches, but their xG output suggests they should have 16 goals in that span.
In other words, Chelsea is underperforming by almost a goal per match since the World Cup.
At some point you’d have to imagine a team with this much talent will make good on the chances it is creating.
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And there may not be a better opponent for that to happen than Leicester City.
The Foxes have conceded the third-most goals and most non-penalty expected goals in the competition this season.
They are a defensive mess and don’t have the attacking prowess to cover up those warts.
It’s been a rocky season for Chelsea, but things should turn eventually.
This team is too good and they’re playing too well for things to continue to break against them.
Leicester City’s defensive woes make the Foxes a perfect opponent for Chelsea to continue their upward trajectory and try to salvage what has been a disappointing season.