Chelsea 3 Leeds United 2 – Young Guns and Hidden Blessings

Chelsea 3 Leeds United 2 - Young Guns and Hidden Blessings.  Leeds almost beat Chelsea but could not make their substitutions work whilst Chelsea did with Callagher. 

Chelsea 3 Leeds United 2 – Young Guns and Hidden Blessings.  Leeds almost beat Chelsea in this FA Cup Fifth round tie but could not make their substitutions work whilst Chelsea did with Gallagher.  Chelsea left it to the last minute to win but it was Leeds’ young guns in Joseph and Gray that were more than a match for Chelsea’s millions.  Ultimately Leeds will see this loss as a hidden blessing to allow them to concentrate on the Championship.

This was a difficult match to gauge beforehand.  The two clubs are in very, very different situations. Chelsea, having spent hundreds of millions of pounds on their squad are certainly under a lot of pressure to deliver.  The disappointment of losing the Carabou League Cup Final three days earlier will have been painful. 

However, For Leeds United the priority has to be protecting our automatic promotion place in the Championship.  Farke thought of tonight’s match as an interesting test against a premier league team, and he will have been proud of how his young guns performed.  With a number of players out or rested Piroe, Roberts, Joseph, Anthony and Cooper were all given rare starts.

Chelsea had a horror start as both teams tried to play out from the back and pressed each other, with Leeds catching out Chelsea to score a goal from their own blunder.  An awkward pass out was intercepted and Firpo the Assister gave the ball to Joseph who scored with aplomb.

Chelsea then settled into their stride controlling the passing and earned their equaliser through Jackson nutmegging Meslier who could have blocked it better with the tight angle. Leeds had to defend for long stretches but Chelsea easily picked off their’ hopeful forward balls.  Leeds were nervous going forward with many passes going astray.  Chelsea ended the first with their second as they stretched the Leeds defence and cut back for an unmarked Mudryk to easily score in front of goal.

Leeds were marginally the better side in the second half with more confident passing and probing.  Joseph showed his predatory skills by getting on the end of a pinpoint Anthony cross to head in his second of the night bringing Leeds back on level terms.  Chelsea looked rattled and Leeds, through Gray and Ampadu kept Chelsea at bay.  Joseph was unlucky then not to have scored the winner, his third.

Pochettino then threw on his big guns with Chilwell and Gallageher and then Palmer.  Leeds responded with Gnonto and Summerville.  It was Chelsea’s subs not Leeds, that made the difference as, right on the 89th minute, Gallagher in the middle found a gap between the Leeds defence and a lob over Meslier gets them the winner.

It was a difficult night for Piroe, James and Connor to start – against a Premier League, never really making an impact whilst Anthony did look comfortable.  Firpo, Cooper and Rodon were much more confident in defence in the second half.

It was a thoroughly entertaining match with Chelsea coming from behind in the first half only for Leeds to look the more likely to win in the second half, but losing their consistency at the end for Chelsea to break through.  With the rivalry between the two clubs stretching back to the Seventies this was a classic duel, with Leeds fans often the dominant voice.

Man of the match: Joseph given a full match to show off his talent which he did in style against Chelsea. He looked like he thoroughly enjoyed his game celebrating with the Leeds fans.

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