The first time Chelsea played Leeds United this season, resurrecting a rivalry from decades long gone, our 3-1 victory was not only one of Lampard’s best as manager, it was one of the most impressive Premier League performances of the season. And it put us smack dab in the middle of the budding early-season (and thus far too premature) title conversation.
We spent that night at the top of the table.
Incidentally, all the teams in that conversation back in early December have fallen precipitously in the three months since, and Chelsea actually remain best placed, with Spurs down in seventh and Liverpool one below them, even, having now lost six of their last seven matches, and with just three wins from their last fourteen (14!) league games.
Our grip on fourth place isn’t necessarily too solid just yet however, and despite Tuchel’s 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions (including six wins and three draws in the league), there is plenty of work to be done still. With a few easier games on tap, too, in the next few weeks, including home games against West Brom, Brighton, and Fulham over the course of the next six matchdays, we have a clear pathway into Europe for next season.
But we do have to keep winning.
Date / Time: Saturday, March 13, 2021, 12.30 GMT; 7:30am EST; 6pm IST
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds, England
Referee: Kevin Friend (on pitch); Stuart Attwell (VAR)
Forecast: Gusty winds, rain possible
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Leeds United team news: After a good start to the season, Leeds have settled into midtable, with the most remarkable part of their record being that they’ve managed just two (2!) draws all season. There’s been a winner and a loser in their last 19 Premier League matches, with Leeds coming out on top 8 times. They have however won just one of their last five.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have remained one of the higher scoring teams in the league (their 43 goals are just one behind Chelsea’s 44), but only three teams have conceded more than Leeds’ 46: West Brom, Southampton, and Crystal Palace, and the latter two have had a couple shocking margins of defeat this season that skew those goals-totals. Leeds have conceded three or more goals in 8 of their 27 matches so far this season.
Former Chelsea prospect Patrick Bamford, who scored Leeds’ only goal at the Bridge, remains the obvious danger-man up top, with winger Raphinha in good form lately as well, with three goals and three assists in his last nine games. Defender Pascal Struijk and midfielder Pablo Hernandez remain out, while Robin Koch and Jamie Shackleton face late fitness tests.
View from the enemy: Through It All Together
Chelsea team news: Tuchel-ball kept on rolling against Everton to the tune of 2-0 on Monday, with the new head coach’s tweaks in the attacking setup paying off in a long-awaited breakout Premier League performance for one Kai Havertz. Whether Tuchel sticks to his Kai-9 experiment is anyone’s guess, though it’s unlikely that we would see Mason Mount rested again.
Tuchel’s unbeaten run will eventually come to an end, and that will be an unfortunate occasion. And the team’s and the coach’s response to that eventually will certainly be instructive. But we shouldn’t be in any hurry to test out and cross that bridge just yet.
Previously: The aforementioned 3-1 win, wherein Chelsea out-everythinged Bielsa’s boys.