French defender, Wesley Fofana earned Chelsea a rare goal and Premier League win against struggling Leeds United on Saturday, easing pressure on coach Graham Potter.
Chelsea were dominant in the first half and on-loan Portuguese Joao Felix rattled the bar but it was not until the 53rd minute that Fofana put away Ben Chilwell’s corner. Fans greeted the goal — only the second scored at home in 2023 – with surprise and relief.
It was the first win since January 15 for Potter’s side who were forced to defend in numbers in the second half as Leeds, who have earned only six points away from home this season, sought an equaliser.
The narrow and not entirely convincing win leaves Chelsea in 10th place but is a boost before their second leg last-16 Champions League game with Dortmund at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, when they need to score twice to overcome a 1-0 deficit.
Chelsea had two golden chances in the first half, when Kai Havertz was through on goal waited half a second too long to shoot and his chip was well saved by advancing goalkeeper Illan Meslier in the 15th minute.
Seven minutes later Raheem Sterling cut the ball back for Joao Felix but his shot hit the bar.
Joao Felix also shot wide from a Chilwell cross and Fofana headed over the bar from a corner.
Wing back Chilwell proved the difference for Chelsea and, along with Joao Felix and Sterling, was involved in most of their dangerous moves.
Leeds remain a point above the relegation zone.
“It’s a confidence boost and a morale boost,” Potter said, while Leeds coach Javi Gracia, who took over at the Yorkshire club only 10 days ago, described the defeat as “frustrating.”