Later News Dec 06

Chelsea 3 Leeds 1 – Blues flex their attacking might, send signal of intent to title rivals


After a shaky start to the season, Chelsea now appear to be among the frontrunners for the English Premier League (EPL) title, as they went top of the table – for a day at least – following their 3-1 win over Leeds United.

 

More worryingly for title contenders Liverpool and Manchester City, who continue to struggle with injuries, the Blues are now nearly back to full strength, with Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz back in the team after recovering from their respective issues.

 

And it was Chelsea’s attacking prowess that came to the fore at Stamford Bridge, with the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Havertz and Mason Mount proving so effective at going forward that Frank Lampard could even afford to field a 34-year-old Go-Kart up top and still get all three points.

 

Like any side managed by Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds gave as good as they got, but they ultimately fell short as Chelsea’s overall superior quality proved too much to overcome.

 

WATCH: Lampard looks forward to seeing fans again

 

Line-ups: Chelsea are so well-stocked up in every department of the pitch, they can afford to put former undisputed first-teamers Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and Tammy Abraham on the bench for the visit of Leeds. With 2,000 home fans in attendance at the Bridge for the encounter, Frank Lampard decides to flex and show off the aforementioned attacking talents. However, Bielsa’s Leeds – on a high from their 1-0 win over Everton last weekend – will not be easy to beat.

 

1st minute: Ziyech almost gives Chelsea an early lead

Nearly a perfect start for Chelsea! Thiago Silva finds Ziyech with a ball over the top and the Moroccan controls it well before firing it at goal from a tight angle. But Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier stands strong to block the shot with his thigh and the ball goes out for a corner.

 

2nd minute: Giroud heads just wide

From the resulting corner, an unmarked Giroud makes his trademark run to the near post and glances his header into the side-netting. Chelsea are certainly not messing about here!

 

4th minute: GOAL! Bamford gives Leeds a shock lead

That was…unexpected. For all of Chelsea’s chances in the first three minutes, it is Leeds who take the lead through former Blues man Patrick Bamford. Kalvin Phillips’ inch-perfect through ball puts Bamford through on goal, and the English striker makes Edouard Mendy look like Kepa Arrizabalaga as he easily goes past the Chelsea goalkeeper and rolls the ball into an empty net. Is an upset on the cards?

 

9th minute: OFF THE BAR! Werner somehow misses from a yard out

The home team nearly gets themselves back on level terms but Timo Werner somehow fails to put the ball into the back of an unguarded net from a yard out. Another inviting corner from Mount is headed on by Giroud to the back post where Werner lurks, but the German striker Nwankwo Kanus a simple tap-in. He tries again with the loose ball but only succeeds in hitting the underside of the bar. What a start we’ve had to this game so far!

 

22nd minute: Giroud nearly punishes Meslier’s mistake

In a misguided attempt to be more like Liverpool’s ball-playing goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Meslier attempts a risky pass out from the back to Luke Ayling. Unfortunately, Meslier only succeeds in looking like David De Gea instead, as his pass is intercepted by Giroud at the edge of the box. The French striker’s effort, however, goes wide.

 

27th minute: GOAL! Giroud makes no mistake this time

Giroud makes up for his earlier miss and equalises for Chelsea in typical fashion. Ziyech holds the ball up well on the right before playing in an overlapping Reece James, whose low cross is turned home from close range by the outstretched boot of Giroud at the near-post. How many times have we seen such a goal by Giroud before? The rest of the half is a more evenly-matched affair and both teams enter the break level at 1-1, although there is minor injury scare for Lampard with Ziyech forced off with what appears to be a hamstring problem. But in his place comes Pulisic. Potaytoes, potahtoes, right?

 

57th minute: Raphinha goes close – twice!

Chelsea may have had all the good chances so far but don’t count Leeds out just yet. The Peacocks nearly retake the lead again from a corner that finds its way to Raphinha at the edge of the Chelsea box. The Brazilian winger’s first-time shot is blocked by his compatriot Thiago Silva. The ball finds its way back to Raphinha but he blazes over the ball with his second attempt. 

 

60th minute: Werner’s poor day in front of goal continues

Those who captained Werner in their Fantasy Premier League team must be cursing Meslier right now. The Chelsea striker bursts into the box from the right and fires a shot that Meslier manages to save with his legs. The rebound falls kindly to Werner, but his second attempt is ALSO saved by the French custodian. The ball then finds its way to Mount, whose effort on goal is bravely blocked by Ezgjan Alioski for a corner.

 

61st minute: GOAL! Zouma puts Chelsea ahead

Another Mount corner, another goalscoring opportunity for Chelsea. This time, though, Kurt Zouma makes no mistake as he leaps unmarked to head the ball past a stranded Meslier to give his side a well-deserved lead.

 

68th minute: Giroud misses a gilt-edged opportunity

Whatever Werner can do, Giroud can do better. In this case, the former Arsenal striker somehow contrives to put the ball wide from close range with his right foot after being found by Ben Chilwell’s cross via a lucky deflection off Pulisic. The battle to be Chelsea’s main striker is certainly stinking up!

 

76th minute: Werner misses YET another good chance

And it’s back to advantage Werner. The 24-year-old is well in the box found by Mount’s cross, but his first-time shot is saved by Meslier yet again. A frustrated Werner throws his hands up in the air and makes a mental note to send a box of turd to Meslier’s house for Christmas.

 

93rd minute: GOAL! Pulisic seals all three points for Chelsea

Finally, Werner does something right in front of goal. He still doesn’t get on the scoresheet, but at least he gets an assist on the night, as he plays a low cross into the box for Pulisic to slide home past Meslier. The goal, deep into injury time, seals all three points for Chelsea.

 

Werner’s profligacy in front of goal might be a cause of worry for lesser teams, but as Chelsea have shown, they simply possess far too much firepower to care if one of their strikers has a stinker of a game. The Stamford Bridge outfit also seem to have found a fine balance in defence as well, with Thiago Silva proving himself to be a smart acquisition and helping to calm things down at the back. Chelsea may find themselves back down in third by the time this weekend’s matches are over, but only a foolish man who would bet against them reaching the summit again soon. – By FBS Guest Writer