A few weeks ago, this game was looking little more than an afterthought on the calendar; now it matters greatly, and to both teams.
Chelsea had been comfortably third and Leeds United had been seemingly safe from relegation. Now we’re just a point ahead of Arsenal, who play tomorrow against Spurs, and Leeds are back in the drop zone, thanks to Burnley’s and Everton’s resurgence — the latter in part thanks to our ridiculous defeat at Goodison Park.
Things often change quickly in football after all.
“You say this [that Saturday’s FA Cup final is bigger]? It’s true? Okay… I don’t know.”
“The biggest match is always the next match.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Date / Time: Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 19.30 BST; 2:30pm EDT; 12am IST (next day)
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds, England
Referee: Anthony Taylor (on pitch); Stuart Attwell (VAR)
Forecast: Breezy with a chance of drama
On TV: Sky Sports Premier League (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Leeds United team news: Appointed at the end of February, coach Jesse Marsch has won 3 of his 9 games in charge, which accounts for a third of their total wins and points on the season. It’s not barn-burning form by any means, and two of the three wins came against the bottom two teams, but Leeds certainly seem a tougher proposition now than before — and we barely managed a win last time out against them!
They will however be without one of their biggest leaders in Stuart Dallas, who recently underwent knee surgery. Vice-captain Luke Ayling is also out following his sending off against Arsenal at the weekend. Captain Liam Cooper should be back however following a minor knee problem. Adam Forshaw, Tyler Roberts, and former Chelsea prospect Patrick Bamford remain out with various injuries.
In the latter’s absence, Dan James or young Joe Gelhardt, who scored his first goal for the club against Chelsea in December, have been leading the line for them — though of course Raphinha remains their main danger man, and he would certainly become an enticing transfer target should Leeds end up getting relegated.
View from the enemy: Through It All Together
Chelsea team news: N’Golo Kanté, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Ben Chilwell remain out. Jorginho has returned to training, but may not be fit to start.
Tuchel switched up his attackers on Saturday, giving long overdue starts to both Romelu Lukaku and Christian Pulisic, and they both repaid the faith (even if we then contrived to give up a two-goal lead). But with the FA Cup final looming on Saturday, extra consideration may be given to players’ fitness — especially amid tired legs and tired minds: this will be our 60th match of the season!
Saturday’s draw, the latest in a weird and disappointing series of results that has seen us collect just five points from five games, has lead to some tabloid noise about turmoil on the training ground, but Tuchel claims that we talked and hugged it out on Sunday in an extraordinary training session, and that there’s also nothing to the Marcos Alonso “bust-up” rumors.
In Tuchel we trust.
Previously: A dramatic 3-2 win for the Blues at the Bridge; Jorginho scoring twice from the spot, including the winner in the final minutes. We’re unbeaten in seven straight against Leeds (five wins), with our last defeat coming in 2002.