Leeds United 0
That was magnificent! Not in a spectacular end to end loads of goals sort of a way but in a gritty, absorbing, dig in for all you are worth sort of a way! For once the rub of the green was pretty even as were the big chances of which there were very few. For Leeds, a game with few if any out and out errors at the back and no big chances missed up front that is a huge positive as we look to a whole series of difficult games coming up. Confidence should have been boosted now as Chelsea is a side packed full of individual brilliance and we basically kept them under wraps.
The first twenty minutes of this game was scintillating, thrills and spills all over the pitch with Chelsea going close with a couple of balls fizzing across the face of goal and an absolutely bizarre incident when Luke Ayling whacked the ball against Diego Llorente only to see it cannon back onto our own crossbar and down into the grateful arms of Illan Meslier. At the other end though Chelsea got an equally lucky break as a clever ‘blind’ shot from Tyler Roberts sailed towards the top corner only for the merest fingernail touch from Mendy to deflect it onto the Chelsea bar. Leeds were undone with another close offside call too as Paddy Bamford was just a few feet off as he beat the Blues’ backline to square for the unlucky Tyler Roberts to ‘score’. That was a typical Bielsaball move from Leeds that took just 17 seconds from one end to the other.
Despite a deluge in the first half the Eland Road pitch, although looking like a lightly ploughed field from above, played reasonably well with none of the slipping and sliding we’ve seen in recent home games. In terms of performances, Tyler Roberts had one of his best games, especially in that opening twenty-minute period. He perhaps isn’t involved often enough but when he is he does show he has some silky skills. At the back Leeds looked generally solid although a couple of the Chelsea corners did cause me to cover my eyes! Chelsea wasted most of their corners as did Leeds at the other end although the swirling wind may well have been a factor in that.
The disappointments in the game were obviously the injury to Patrick Bamford and the fact that Rodrigo, replacing him looked way off the pace and it was no surprise at all that he in turn was substituted late on by Mateusz Klich. Raphinha was quieter than usual but with Chelsea bossing the possession to the tune of 62% that is hardly surprising. Pascal Struijk looked assured and Diego Llorente looked much more comfortable in his company at the back.
All in all, this was one of the most satisfying results I can remember, it was the kind of performance that gives huge confidence for the coming weeks and, at the end of the day, it is one more point towards achieving that ultimate goal this season of avoiding relegation. Surely that is now just about done. Next up, another trip to London… and if we can avoid defeat at Fulham we can start planning our next moves!
Leeds Utd Chelsea
Possession 38% 62%
Shots 7 15
On Target 4 8
Corners 8 5
Fouls Committed 16 6