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My brother asked me what I thought the result would be for this match. Form wise Leeds went into it with four losses and only one win, whilst Chelsea under Tuchel have yet to lose in his eleven games. So Chelsea went in to match as the likely winners. It was 18 years ago in 2003 when Chelsea last visited Elland Road.
Bamford makes his 100th appearance for the club. Koch makes his return to the squad by being on the bench. Finally we may play the first team we wanted to at the start of the season. Cooper has been dropped from Defence in preference for the pace of the returning Struijk – Bielsa clearly has a lot of confidence in him as a growing player. Having Roberts and Harrison starting together is yet another combination Bielsa is trying and that will be a lot of pace if they can link up effectively with Bamford and Raphinha.
Early on Leeds played a high pressing game. Within the space of a minute Leeds are beaten by the pace of Chelsea into the penalty who unable to convert and then the ball is straight down the other end with a sweet cross pitch move by Bamford but by time the ball is kicked Bamford is offside.
Another scary moment when Ayling kicked the ball out of the penalty box only to deflect off Llorente over Meslier and hitting the cross bar back into Meslier safe hands. The pace of Chelsea on the right hand side was causing havoc in the Leeds defence with Alioski eventually getting yellow carded. The worry is our weakness with set pieces but today we were a much improved wall.
We had our moments, on the fifteenth minute Roberts hits the woodwork with a clever chip beating Mendy in goal. But the early loss of Bamford to an injury is a blow but an opportunity for Rodrigo to have a kick. But Chelsea ended the first half dominant with most of the possession. It was a frantic first twenty when either team could have scored.
The referee Kevin Friend was no friend of Leeds, every time a Chelsea player went down it’s a free kick and every time a Leeds player went down it’s play on. Yellow cards aplenty and then a big talk to Alioski – his final warning.
Costa replaced Harrison on the hour but Harrison didn’t look happy about it. Leeds are chasing the game so it was probably just fresh legs. But Chelsea continued to dominate possession. A bizarre decision on 78 minutes with Rodrigo subbed just after he has a clear header on goal, he didn’t look happy either. So a sub gets subbed as Klich comes on , with no designated striker on the pitch. Roberts, involved in Leeds’ two best chances, is up front. After so many defeats, to pull off a draw against a form team like Chelsea is a good solid result to build on.
Man of the match: Roberts