Ahead of one of the biggest games of the season, Chelsea legend Pat Nevin speculates on the Blues’ formation against Borussia Dortmund, welcomes Wesley Fofana’s passing contribution, and reveals what his final thoughts will be before kick-off…

A massive sigh of relief at the weekend will be replaced by a massive intake of breath tonight. If a league win was important then a victory tonight is crucial to keep hopes for glory going this season.

I think it is becoming pretty obvious that most games lately have had good, bad and indifferent periods for us, and yet again the opening period against Leeds United was good enough to have seen us out of sight had we taken our chances, with the obligatory woodwork getting in the way yet again. Happily, it didn’t matter in the end and it will certainly give the lads a lift for the visit of Borussia Dortmund.

Just like the Leeds game we had enough chances to win in Dortmund three weeks ago and that should give us the confidence that we can create enough opportunities again.

The biggest question on Graham Potter’s mind might, however, be which system to use. Last week I mused at the end of my column about why I thought it might be the right time to switch back to a 3-4-2-1, giving our wing-backs more opportunities to get forward into areas where they are more dangerous. The manager decided to do just that against Leeds on Saturday and it certainly helped Ben Chilwell get into the positions he likes upfield.

Towering display by centre-back

What that change does give us is options and adaptability. The back-four system created plenty of opportunities over in Germany, but of course there is no Thiago Silva available for this one so it is not an easy call. We might need an extra body in there.

I wouldn’t be shocked by a back three again at some point tonight, especially as Benoit Badiashile didn’t make the Champions League squad. It will be a very different-looking unit back there.

Leaving Benoit out was a tough call back when it had to be made, but the manager went with Wesley Fofana and maybe after the weekend it was easier to see the thinking. Our signing from Leicester was able to show the quality he has, quality that has been hidden away in the treatment room for so long.

It was a towering display by the young Frenchman and I don’t only mean with his goal. There was a calm comfort on the ball, as well as great vision when passing out from the back or switching the play from one side to the other. Those arrowed cross-field balls are an important part of our game, as we seem to play against so many tightly packed defences. That particular pass stretches opponents, and you need someone who can play them accurately. He might not be a David Luiz quite yet in this area, but he looked the part and he will be ever-more important as time goes by.

Wesley almost scored earlier in the game with another impressive header before he got the winner and of course he did notch against AC Milan in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge in October, just before his injury. That goal against the Italians was also from a corner, one that Thiago Silva almost scored from before Wesley slotted in from the rebound.

At 22, Wesley is yet another nod to the plan for the future that Chelsea has been putting in place this season. It is the classic idea, if he is this good at 22 - and you could say the same for Badiashile at 21 - then how good will he be at 26/27? Centre-backs usually don’t really get close to their best until their mid-20s at the earliest, so it is an exciting thought that the back line is being future-proofed.

I do think Thiago Silva at the other end of the age scale is also incredible at attacking corners, but as Wesley showed he can do it too and with either Koulibaly, Chalobah or Badiashile alongside them attacking set-pieces as well, they will be a fearsome sight for opponents.

The special goal is coming

It is hard to call where the goals will come from tonight, but if it has to be from defenders from set-pieces or from wing-backs on the overlap, then so be it. Watching Joao Felix however, I do reckon he is due not only a goal but it could be an absolute beauty when it arrives. Some of his near misses of late would have been contenders for goal of the season had the ball been an inch or so the other way, specifically hitting the crossbar against Leeds and Dortmund. There is a player who is due a bit of luck.

I have no doubt there will be one or two surprises in store for the Dortmund boss Edin Terzic, as he thinks about trying to stop the Blues tonight. Trying to guess the Chelsea side this time isn’t going to be easy whether you have just flown in from Dortmund or if you sit in the Matthew Harding End for every home game. That is a good thing, the opposition will find it hard to plan ahead for our system and the particular personnel.

What would be useful tonight would be another very quick start and if possible an early goal. The psychology of destroying the opposition’s 1-0 advantage, that they have been thinking about for three whole weeks, cannot be overestimated. I am sure Graham Potter will have been talking to the players about this all week. It doesn’t have to be a Bournemouth-style 9.11 seconds opener, but a goal in the first 30 minutes could help shape the tie.

That would have Stamford Bridge rocking, but then it will be wild anyway, Champions League nights always are. For all the negative statistics being bandied about just now, Graham hasn’t lost a home Champions League match and the only draw was against Salzburg, six days after he was appointed.

That will be my last thought as I stand on the gantry tonight, preparing for the co-commentary listening to the Champions League theme blaring out. Well that and get ready to duck Jason Cundy’s elbows if we score that early goal I am hoping for!