The first time Chelsea played Leeds this season, a 3-0 defeat at Elland Road, was a proper shock to the system, and an early indication that the team were probably not quite as solid as we might have imagined it. In hindsight, it was also the first step in the process that has seen our season unravel and go completely off the rails.
So, perhaps the second time we play Leeds this season, today at Stamford Bridge, it will be the first step in the recovery process. Football does love a pattern.
It remains a mystery where the spark necessary to exact that change is going to come from however. But if we do win, I’m claiming full credit for this, my first game at the Bridge in four years.
Date / Time: Saturday, March 4, 2023, 15.00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Michael Oliver (on pitch); Darren England (VAR)
Forecast: Cool and a bit breezy
On TV: none (UK); USA, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); Sporty TV (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); SuperSport GoTV (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Results have been bad, and seem to be getting only worse. Last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Spurs wasn’t necessarily a surprising outcome, but the straightforward ease at which it was accomplished was yet another shock to the system.
To make matters worse, injuries have re-reared their ugly head. Thiago Silva has been ruled for about six weeks with a knee problem, Mason Mount will miss at least this weekend with a “lower abdomen” concern, and Reece James is doubtful with tightness in his hamstring. Christian Pulisic might be ready to return, but N’Golo Kanté and César Azpilicueta are not quite there yet.
Graham Potter has intimated that nothing matters more than winning this game right here, right now, which underlines the seemingly changing vibes behind the scenes. Patience will not be endless, neither from the owners nor, and especially from, the fans. It’s make or break time!
Leeds United team news: After their hot start, including the aforementioned 3-0 win over Chelsea, United’s season has also gone off the rails and they currently find themselves in the relegation zone. But one of their four wins on the season was last weekend at home against Southampton, and we didn’t even manage to do when we had that opportunity the weekend prior, so...
Leeds took two weeks to appoint the successor to Jesse Marsch, who was sacked at the start of last month. The new man in charge is Javi Gracia, formerly of Watford and a whole bunch of other teams, mostly in Spain. He’s led the team to one win and one defeat (crashing out of the FA Cup against Fulham on Tuesday) in his ten days with the team.
Rodrigo Moreno, Adam Forshaw, and Stuart Dallas are out for at least another month. Pascal Struijk, Luis Sinisterra, and Liam Cooper could be back as soon as this game.
Previously: Here’s to better days ahead