After Chelsea’s easy win over Leeds shambolic Leeds are left looking at relegation In the event that Leeds United are demoted in the next ten days, they will be playing in the Championship. The team coached by Jesse Marsch is currently in last place after suffering yet another defeat and receiving their fourth red card in a row.
After his lunge at Mateo Kovacic, who is now a huge doubt for the FA Cup final on Saturday, they will be without Dan James for their final two matches. Kovacic’s status is currently unknown. After being ejected from the game at the weekend, he will be joining Luke Ayling on the bench. Prior to that, Stuart Dallas’s reckless challenge in the game before that caused him to suffer a catastrophic knee injury.
After Chelsea’s easy win over Leeds shambolic Leeds are left looking at relegation
According to Marsch, “It’s a little harsh to categorize Stuart’s injury in the same category as the other injuries, but we have to be aggressive against the ball, and at times we have been too aggressive in situations, and that has cost us.”
The American head coach of Leeds is running out of time to bring the club safe, and he is also running out of players for games against Brighton and Brentford, which will decide the course of their season. Leeds is in dire need of victories, which can only come with the players’ increased level of discipline.
They were unlucky to face a Chelsea team that was focused on going closer to confirming their spot in the Champions League rather than resting players in preparation for Wembley. Despite the setback caused by Kovacic’s injury, they are no longer in danger of falling out of the top four spots in the standings.
Mason Mount scored the first goal of the game early on, before Leeds were relegated to 10 men. After that, Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku added extra goals for the winning team. Putting Kovacic’s injury to the side for the moment, it was an excellent way to get ready for the weekend.
latest on chelsea club
“Maybe we will have a miracle but it is unlikely that he plays in the final,” said Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. “He has a swollen ankle and is in a lot of pain. I’m not a doctor and we need to wait for the examinations but it is absolutely bad news for us.”
Mount was one of Leeds’ foes from the Championship, knocking them out of the play-offs while on loan at Derby. He read the matchday programme before kick-off, with home skipper Liam Cooper calling for fans to make it “hostile and intimidating”, but the England forward silenced them within four minutes.
He was cupping his ears in celebration after finishing off a sweeping move. Chelsea’s passing took the ball from Marcos Alonso on one flank to Reece James on the other in a matter of seconds.
When James pulled the ball back for Mount, he curled into the top corner, bending the ball around Cooper and using the centre-back’s position as a guide on where to place his shot.
Leeds forward James made it two red cards in as many games when he was given a straight dismissal for his horror tackle on Kovacic. While he played the ball initially, his follow-through saw his studs land on Kovacic’s left ankle and Anthony Taylor did not hesitate when he sent him off.
Chelsea analysts in the press box voiced their anger at the tackle. Marsch, meanwhile, threw his arms in the air on the touchline and remonstrated with the fourth official, but this was a red card in anybody’s language. That did not spare Kovacic a volley of abuse when he was subbed off injured. The Croatian gave as good as he got.
It got worse for Leeds with Jack Harrison picking up a first-half thigh injury and needing to be replaced, Raphinha went off as a precaution later. Leeds fans whirled white scarves but were not waving the white flag in the relegation scrap. Just like they did during the thrashing at the hands of Manchester City, they kept urging players to keep fighting.
After Chelsea’s easy win over Leeds shambolic Leeds are left looking at relegation
They have certainly been getting stuck in. When Kalvin Phillips was booked, it was their 97th booking of the campaign.
Pulisic added the second goal after the break, rolling the ball into the bottom corner after Mount had flicked into his path on the edge of the area. Lukaku smashed in his close-range goal despite five Leeds defenders lying in front of him.
It meant Chelsea bounced back after drawing with Leeds on Saturday and holding a team meeting to clear the air.
“We spoke about how big this week was, it didn’t start well with the loss so we needed a bounce back and had few days to get together and speak within group, truths needed to be said and we got that out of our system,” Mount said.After Chelsea’s easy win over Leeds shambolic Leeds are left looking at relegation
Leeds 0 Chelsea 3 as it happened
Wasn’t easy when we gave up the early goal but I thought we started well [apart from that]. The red card made it difficult for us. It was similar to the Arsenal match.
The guys ran, competed for each other, never stopped, and it was disappointing. We can’t dwell on negative things. It has to be total focus for Sunday.
Dan was aggressive and thought he can win the ball in the middle and ended up being over zealous a little. I haven’t watched it back, I thought he got the ball but someone told me it was a red. We have to stick together.
It’s a big challenge. It’s felt like that for months. Our backs are against the wall. It’s all about Sunday now.
Our fans have been absolutely phenomenal. We’ve been trying, my last phrase to the team is that they worked so hard, they’re so committed they deserve it but we have to earn it.
[Against Brighton] we have to keep the match even, not go down early and do what we can to achieve the result.
Watford 0-0 Everton
Here’s how this leaves the bottom six.
Mason Mount speaks
I do love playing here, it’s a stadium with a lot of history and they don’t like us very much.
I was reading the programme before the game, when you come her it’s tough but we needed the win, it was a massive game for both of us. We needed to bounce back.
I wouldn’t say that [that Leeds were nervous]. It was all about us and the counter-press.
I wasn’t looking when the tackle was made. I saw Kov on the floor. It was tough for them [afterwards].
We say every game’s a final but the next one is!
Mike McGrath was at Elland Road tonight
But I will hold off posting his match report until we’ve heard from the managers.
Full time Leeds 0 Chelsea 3
Chelsea are world and European champions for a reason but that was a dreadful performance by Leeds. They were badly set up from the start by a manager who seems to be trying to make them do things they are incapable of achieving. He wasted Raphinha as a wing-back, marginalised Phillips and persists with Dan James in a central position he simply cannot play in. Having said that, it’s the outfield signings bar Raphinha since promotion that are consistently not up to snuff. Junior Firpo cost £15m, James £25m, Rodrigo £26m, Llorente £17m and Koch £12m. We’ll let Koch off because he has suffered multiple injuries but the rest of them have been dreadful value for scarce money … for now.
And the indiscipline.
90+3 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 3
Chelsea run down the clock with swagger and a bit of swazz. Leeds chase them.
90+1 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 3
The first of three minutes of stoppage time begins with a deep cross from the Leeds right that Christensen misses but there was no white shirt within 15 yards and Chalobah had all the time he needed to tidy up.
90 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 3
Mount thumps a right-foot shot wide from the left side of the area. He wanted it to curl back in but it stayed true. He is still the man of the match, though.
88 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 3
Phillips buys a free-kick off Christensen.
86 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 3
Koch heads Gelhardt’s right-wing cross over.
Leeds’ fans twirl their scarves in defiance. They are playing so poorly, their heads so far gone, that it is hard to see any way back for them.
Perhaps they should bin Marsch and go hell for leather in the last two games, reverting to the only way these players know.
84 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 3
Llorente dawdles on halfway, as he so often does. The bombscare defender detonates and is robbed. Chelsea pile forward and though Leeds’ defenders throw themselves in front of Lukaku, he is patient, twists and turns, teases them, and then thumps a right foot shot into the goal.
Leeds 0 Chelsea 3 (Lukaku)
82 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Still 0-0 between Watford and Everton by the way. Chelsea fans are serenading Leeds with ‘going down’.
81 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Lukaku’s left-foot shot, fed again by Mount, hits Llorente and goes behind. Leeds defend the corner well.
80 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Llorente tackles Loftus-Cheek down by the byline and concedes a corner. Cooper, who has a busted hooter, comes on with a Blackadder nose appendage to stem the bleeding.
79 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Gelhardt replaces Raphinha, Ziyech and Azpilicueta come on for Pulisic and Reece James.
77 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Marsch changes his mind. His indecsion is always final as they used to say of Jimmy Armfield. It is Gelhardt. Azpilicueta and Ziyech are also stripped.
76 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Raphinha needs treatment for a left thigh injury.
74 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Leeds are going to make another change. Not Gelhardt, though. It’s Greenwood who is stripping off his hoodie.
72 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Leeds continue to chase shadows and are indebted to their captain, Liam Cooper, for making a sliding tackle just as Lukaku was drawing back his left leg to shoot from 18 yards.
70 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
First Leeds attack of any merit, good cross from Firpo on the run but Raphinha had darted ahead of the ball, had to adjust with no time to do so adequately and speared his header over.
69 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Rodrigo is caught in possession. Wish I had that as a macro or on a cut and paste cheat sheet.
67 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Leeds have a free-kick on halfway after a foul on Raphinha and it is hit straight to Marcos Alonso.
Back come Chelsea quickly as Leeds are opened up through the inside right. Mount takes on the shot as the line dissolves ahead of him but slices it wide with his left.
66 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Lukau rolls Cooper 40 yards out, spins and races towards the box to spank a raking left-foo shot wide of the left post.
64 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
James barges Firpo over in the penalty box but the ball was in Mendy’s hands.
62 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Klich collides with Jorginhi who takes a blow on the back of the head. Chelsea free-kick.
60 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Klich replaces Bate for Leeds.
59 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Leeds’ record signing, Rodrigo, another Victor Orta solid gold success, gives the ball away cheaply when dribbling backwards and sets up Pulisic to send a right-foot shot whistling past the right post.
58 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
It takes a special kind of genius to neuter both your best players, Raphinha and Phillips. Chelsea are toying with Leeds and Marsch may take Phillips off to spare him a second yellow.
I’ll give it five minutes before they start singing Marcelo Bielsa.
57 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Chelsea’s picadors had been swiping and cutting a wounded Leeds for most of the game and finally delivered the coup de grace.
56 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 2
Curtains for Leeds and it’s been coming. Outnumbered and outclassed. Pulisic sweeps a fine left foot shot into the bottom left corner after the cutest of Mount backheels.
Leeds 0 Chelsea 2 (Pulisic)
54 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Struijk wins a vital header to stop Lukaku winning a near-post header after yet more excellent work from Mount on the left.
53 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Loftus-Cheek skelps a left-foot shot wide from 20 yards.
52 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Raphinha has two choices 10 yards inside the Chelsea half when it’s two v two and opts to go himself against the two rather than play in Rodrigo who was unmarked five yards to his left.
51 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Bate persists to win the ball on the left and play it back but Leeds then launch it 80 yards and lose possession.
49 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea are passing the ball around easily. All that are missing are the olés. Mount is sent down the right and stands up a cross that was a tad too high for Lukaku who heads over from eight yards.
48 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Raphinha, in a promising position up the left, plays a pass backwards that goes straight out of play.
47 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Reece James is hot flush in the fizzog with the ball.
46 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Leeds restart the match and lose the ball knocking it long up the inside-right. Raphinha is playing further forward, mercifully.
Here’s the red card
Half-time Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for Leeds in that first-half. A botched formation, great gaps between midfield and defence, flimsiness down the left side of their defence, Raphinha utterly wasted and a mindless challenge in a nothing area of the pitch from James. Chelsea are playing well, but haven’t really needed to take the handbrake off. They have far better players but are being helped by Leeds’ self-inflicted wounds.
45+6 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
It’s still 0-0 at Vicarage Road in case you’re interested.
45+4 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea are perhaps guilty of over-elaboration around the box. But it’s so easy-oasy it has sucked the defiance and hope from the home crowd … for now.
45+2 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
There are six minutes of stoppage time on the board for the injuries, cards and the crowd emergency. Chelsea sweep passes from right to left and back again, trying to open up Leeds down the inside-forward channels. It feels like only a matter of time until they score again.
45+1 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Jesse Marsch is writing another note. Koch runs on to a diagonal down the right but all he can get is a throw-in and Chelsea regain the ball and momentun until Firpo flies into a foul.
45 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
The person who required medical treatment is OK, according to Sky.
44 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea are running rings round the white shirts who are dropping deeper and deeper.
43min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Phillips is yellow-carded for a petulant/exasperated scything foul on Pulisic.
42 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Leeds wide open down their left and Meslier makes a fine save from point-blank range to thwart Pulisic, though the flag eventually goes up. James was offside when he received Lukaku’s flick-on to get to the byline.
40 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
The game remains halted. Ah, we’re about to restart after three minutes.
38 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
A Chelsea fan has been taken ill and the game is stopped while he receives urgent medical attention.
36 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Harrison is injured and looks as though his night is over. Marsch writes another note and sends it on to the pitch with Robin Koch the postman.
Harrison is replaced by the walking yellow card Junior Firpo.
Leeds move Koch to right wing-back and free Raphinha.
34 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Lukaku flashes a near-post header wide of the left post.
32 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea are zipping passes around defence and midfield, soaking up and hogging possession against the 10 men. I once saw Leeds hold on to a draw with Chelsea with nine men but that was a George Graham defence not a Jesse Marsch one.
30 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Lukaku hooks the ball over Meslier and into the net after an excellent pass over the top from James but he was offside.
29 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Kovacic is injured and can’t continue, probably injured by the force of James’ irresponsible foul. Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces him but not before some Leeds fans give him some abuse.
27 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea almost have their second following a foul by Struijk. Chelsea whip the free-kick to the left of the box, Mount drags a half-volley through the area and Chalobah just can’t turn it in.
25 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Fully deserved red card. He got the ball but his right leg came out like a lance and planted itself in Kovacic’s calf. Leeds’ indiscipline and tactical incoherence is killing them.
These are insane tactics from Marsch, whatever the ultimate outcome of this match. Raphinha is playing as a wing-back.
24 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Red card for Leeds. Dan James is sent off for a lunge at Kovacic. He won the ball but it was deemed reckless.
23 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
R James beats D James around halfway, Chelsea switch it to the left and swing over a deep cross that Cooper heads out for a throw on the right.
22 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Rodrigo and Bate lose the ball just inside their half and Mount starts an attack that, for once, fizzles out down the Chelsea right.
But within 10 seconds Leeds have given the ball away. Again.
21 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Harrison takes it short, James curls it to the far post where it’s headed out and falls eventually to Llorente who swings his left foot at a half-volley that flies wide from 20 yards.
19 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
James does get his free-kick for his next burst, though, when Kovacic tackles him from behind. It;s 30 yards out, right of centre. Phillips crosses, Lukaku heads out and Leeds have a corner on the right.
18 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
James and Raphinha combine up the right to win a throw-in that Chelsea defend once it;s hurled to the 18-yard line with ease. James thought he was tripped by Rodrigo earlier in the move but the referee isn’t having it.
16 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Leesd are being run ragged by Mason Mount’s movement and don’t seem to have any answer for him. They’re kettled in their half and clinging on by their fingernails.
14 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Struijk is having the backside torn off him by James who is beating him at will, for fun etc. Once again he gets to the byline as if Struijk wasn’t there but his cut-back is intercepted by a white shirt.
12 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
A mix-up between Koch and Meslier who was about to pick up a Raphinha header. Koch hacks it out of his hands and invites another Chelsea attack down the left. Alonso picks out mount and he could easily have scored but Leeds manage by the skin of their teeth to get in the way of his shot, throwing bodies at it.
10 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
Leeds enjoy their best moment when Raphinha goes flying up the right and centres, behind Rodrigo. James picks it up and tries to face up Christensen and then run past him but the centre-half isn’t buying it and easily blocks.
8 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
The early blows keep coming for Leeds and the crows is silenced by, presumably, a gnawing sense of dread. Raphinha heads away a diagonal and James is fouled as he tried to spin away in midfield. Leeds lose the ball again but Mount fouls Bate and Leeds start again.
7 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
The crowd is rattled as are Leeds and Lukaku is inches away from doubling the lead, though he might have been offside, when James was given the freedom of the flank once again and centred through the six-yard box.
5 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 1
James tears a hole up Leeds’ left, beating Struijk who is running through treacle. James twists inside and lays it off too Mount who thumps a superb swerving, dipping shot from 18 yards in at the near post.
Leeds 0-1 Chelsea (Mount)
3 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 0
Raphinha challenges Lukaku and handles inadvertently as the ball bounces up awkwardly. Chelsea free-kick on halfway.
2 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 0
Cooper comes across to cut out a pass down the left for Pulisic and Leeds throw themselves into tackles and blocks to halt Chelsea’s progress with Kovacic and Chalobah.
1 min Leeds 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea kick off, attacking the Gelderd End, ie right to left. Rodrigo currently is the central striker with James behind him and a back three with Raphinha as a wing-back. Hmmm. Best player out there.
Sky pundits as puzzled as we are about Leeds’ formation
The suggestion from those watching the warm-up is that they will go for a back three.
Leeds are in all white, Chelsea in all royal blue, forced out of their white socks by the home side.
The players are coming out
Eddie Gray is belting out Marching On Together in the directors’ box.
We were open about [our tiredness and being unsettled by the takeover] but that doesn’t help us in achieving what we need. We need points to reach our targets. That is possible today but to a certain degree we can do better and we are trying this today.
Exciting match, exciting crowd, very emotional. It’s on us to accept their energy, adapt and enjoy it because that is what the Premier league is all about.
Psychologically it’s not that much different [because] we’ve been in and around this position for a while.
It’s about being fresh in our minds and be up for a fight.
We think we can be competitive against Chelsea against the ball. It’s a challenge, our guys have been strong and positive.
[On his selection] It’s making sure we’re stable, not give early goals away, then make our chances and find our lead. I like our group.
Difficult to work out how Leeds will line up
Three at the back with Koch and Phillips as defensive midfielders and James/Raphinha and Harrison as the wing-backs? Or a flattish back four with Koch and Struijk, Bate alongside Phillips and James and Rodrigo in some kind of central roles. Looks like a dog’s dinner to this observer but we shall see.
And one more time for black and white viewers
Leeds United Meslier; Koch, Llorente, Cooper, Struijk; Raphinha, Bate, Phillips, Harrison; Rodrigo, James.
Substitutes Klaesson, Firpo, Gelhardt, Hjelde, Cresswell, Greenwood, Klich, Shackleton, Gray.
Chelsea Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Pulisic; Lukaku.
Substitutes Arrizabalaga, Thiago Silva, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Ziyech, Azpilicueta, Havertz, Sarr.
Referee Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe)
Two centre-backs drop out, Thiago and Azpilicueta for Christensen and Chalobah, Jorginho replaces Loftus-Cheek and Mount is in for Werner.
Leeds are lining up with four centre-backs
If they go for a back four, Koch would be the right-back, Struijk the left. Cooper comes in for Ayling, Bate for Klich, Struijk for Firpo and Rodrigo for Gelhardt.
And it’s four changes for Chelsea, too
Leeds make four changes
And welcome to live coverage of Leeds United, currently 18th in the Premier League, level on points with Burnley but with an inferior goal difference of unseemly proportions, and Chelsea, third and heading to Wembley on Saturday for the FA Cup semi-final. Leeds’ five game unbeaten run under Jesse ‘Mindfulness’ Marsch came to an abrupt end, as form suggested it would, against Manchester City and Arsenal when the incoherence of their post Bielsa narrow tactics and the players’ by now instinctive urge to play the out-ball wide, vandalised the one part of the former manager’s approach that was still working – the creation of chances if not converting them.
The defence has looked more solid on occasion but part of how these players had closed the titanic talent gap between them and markedly superior squads to compete and finish ninth last season, was their ability to raid forward in waves of movement, like an upended wasp’s nest. Order may one day bring the balance he craves and stability at the back but its unintended consequence in neutering the attack has placed Leeds in peril, quaking ground exacerbated by revivals at Everton and Burnley, revivals, Leeds supporters hope, that will run out of steam over the final three games.
Marsch may be better served tonight by simply telling them to tear the backsides off Chelsea from the first whistle and opt for chaos as the cure. A point may prove a good enough result for them but their best way of achieving that with the resources they have is to try to win. If it’s Raphinha filling in for the suspended Luke Ayling at wing-back, baldness may become a self-inflicted epidemic in LS11 as thousands of people rip their hair out by the roots.
It is impossible to predict which of the post-Ukraine invasion, Janus-faced, palpably unsettled Chelsea sides will turn up: The one that went down 4-1 at home to Brentford, run ragged by Arsenal, went all vanilla at Everton and chucked it away against Wolves and Manchester United or the slick top-three team that took Southampton to the cleaners.
The rivalry was in hiatus for 16 years while Leeds plumbed the depths so it isn’t really relevant but the world and European champions have won only once at Elland Road in the Premier League on their past 10 visits and may well be resting players for Saturday, knowing that Arsenal and Tottenham can only do each other damage tomorrow night and needing their best players to be as sprightly as possible to take down Liverpool and win their ninth FA Cup.
Ayling’s red card ended his season and he joins Stuart Dallas, Tyler Roberts, Adam Forshaw, Crysencio Summerville and Patrick Bamford on the sidelines. Liam Cooper, who has missed the last two games, could be back to captain the side, though, which may mean a switch to right-back for Robin Koch. A galloping, tall centre-half at right-back? Shades of David O’Leary’s Josimar years at Arsenal in 1992-93. Jamie Shackleton could also slot in there, or Dan James or, dread the thought, Raphinha, who spent 90 minutes out there over the past two games following Dallas’s broken tibia and Ayling’s broken equilibrium.
Thomas Tuchel said yesterday that Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, who have minor niggles, will not be risked unless he is 100 per cent confident they are 100 per cent fit. Thiago Silva is likely to be rested, as is Marcos Alonso despite kissing and making up with Tuchel after their barney on Saturday. Only Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi are definitely ruled out. After Chelsea’s easy win over Leeds shambolic Leeds are left looking at relegation