Chelsea opened their Champions League campaign with a poor display after being stunned 1-0 by Dinamo Zagreb at the Stadion Maksimir, heaping the pressure on head coach Thomas Tuchel. The Blues were well below their best once again despite fielding new signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Wesley Fofana as they succumbed to a miserable defeat.
Mislav Orsic sent the home support into pandemonium with a tidy finish after Dinamo executed a sublime counter attack early in the first half. And it took two fine saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga, brought in for his first appearance of the season, to keep Chelsea in the game.
Raheem Sterling put the ball in the back of the net only to see the flag go up but that was as close as the west London side came to equalising as Dinamo put up a valiant defensive effort to keep a clean sheet and claim a famous victory.
Just 13 minutes into the opening tie, Chelsea found themselves behind from a routine counter-attack. Mislav Orsic was determined to latch onto the knockdown from Bruno Petkovic and raced clear of Fofana, who surprisingly didn’t have the pace to catch the Croatian as he finished neatly beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga.
It may take the £70m signing some time to adjust the trouble is, he doesn’t have it, and nor does Kalidou Koulibaly. Thomas Tuchel has spent a huge amount on recruiting a new-look defence and they need to start gelling together, or face leaking more avoidable goals like this.
Wesley Fofana could have hardly asked for an easier task on paper against Dinamo Zagreb. But the young Frenchman learned how you can be punished if your concentration lapses even for a moment.
The Blues had struggled to break down a sturdy Dinamo Zagreb backline with space at a premium in front of the box. And when they had an opportunity to test the goalkeeper, the Blues didn’t take it. Aubameyang, in particular, looked well off the pace.
Chelsea’s issue is leaking goals but there is a clear example of how their missed chances or lack of opportunities on goal have contributed to a nervousness at the back. It cost them against Tottenham, who barely had a sniff and still salvaged a 2-2 draw. It might take Tuchel a training session of allowing his players to bombard Edouard Mendy or Kepa Arrizabalaga before they get their confidence back after another poor attacking show in Croatia.