N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount were top class while Olivier Giroud was impressive again as Chelsea came from behind to beat Leeds United 3-1 on Saturday.
The game started on a sluggish note for Chelsea, who were behind just four minutes in when former youth star Patrick Bamford scored a fine counter-attacking goal. Chelsea, though, were dominant thereafter and should have equalised shortly after, only for Timo Werner to inexplicably miss from point-blank range. On the other end, Leeds continued to pose a threat and came close twice.
The Blues duly had their leveller ahead of the half-hour mark, as Olivier Giroud continued his fine run of form to turn in Reece James’s pinpoint low cross. Both sides continued to take the game to each other, but it was Chelsea who struck next, as Kurt Zouma converted Mason Mount’s corner in the 61st minute.
The win was then rounded off late on, as Christian Pulisic scored from close range after being set up by Timo Werner. The win sent Chelsea to the top of the Premier League table ahead of erstwhile leaders Tottenham Hotspur’s big tie against Arsenal on Sunday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Frank Lampard’s men.
Edouard Mendy: 6/10
Mendy did not really cover himself in glory when he needlessly charged out of his box before Leeds went ahead through Patrick Bamford. Thereafter, though, the Senegalese goalkeeper hardly put a foot wrong and made a couple of decent stops as well. Reasonably dependable with the ball at his feet.
Reece James: 7/10
Back into the starting lineup, Reece James produced another impressive display going forward. The English international delivered the assist for Olivier Giroud’s goal, with his cross being delightful, to say the least. Continued posing a threat with his deliveries and could have had another assist later on in the game. Left space in behind him, but N’Golo Kante and Kurt Zouma supported well.
Kurt Zouma: 7.5/10
Kalvin Phillips’ brilliant pass for Bamford bypassed Zouma and Thiago Silva, and the duo should have done better to stop the former Chelsea academy star in his tracks. Otherwise, though, the Frenchman was hardly troubled before he scored his fourth goal of the campaign with a trademark imposing header.
Thiago Silva: 7/10
As iterated earlier, Silva could have done better to deny Bamford the time and space. However, when Leeds were looking to grow into the game, it was his composure under pressure that enabled Chelsea to shut the gates smartly. Hardly misplaced a pass, completing 93 per cent of his attempted efforts.
Ben Chilwell: 6/10
Not the best of outings by Chilwell, who did not create as many chances as he usually does, although he could have had an assist with a delivery from his flank. Nearly scored himself, only to have his header saved by Illan Meslier. Pretty solid defensively against Raphinha, winning 6 duels and completing 2 interceptions.
Mason Mount: 8/10
Mason Mount created seven chances against Leeds, the most by a Chelsea player in a single PL game this season.
No Blues player has created more in a game across the past five seasons. pic.twitter.com/MxA2QNOMNO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 5, 2020
Another player who was back in the starting lineup, Mount was purposeful in his display, as is the case usually. The English international created a staggering 7 chances in the game and grabbed the assist for Zouma’s goal when his inch-perfect ball from the corner was met by the Frenchman. Put a shift in off the ball as well. Top class display.
N’Golo Kante: 8/10
A typically industrious display by Kante, who did not give his Leeds counterparts an inch in the middle of the park. Made a number of important recoveries, which meant that Mateusz Klich did not really enjoy himself on the night. Looked to release early passes and set a quick tempo to the game. Such an asset for Chelsea.
N’Golo Kanté vs. Leeds United [Chelsea rank]:
12 ball recoveries [1st]
3 tackles won [=1st]
2 interceptions [=1st]
Doing what he does best. 💥 pic.twitter.com/YpSJvBe5TU
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 5, 2020
Kai Havertz: 6/10
Retaining his spot in the starting lineup, this was a drop from the levels that Havertz showed versus Sevilla earlier in the week. The German international did not take many risks with his passing, which was quite surprising. Gave the ball away cheaply at times too, but could have scored a goal himself when he glanced his header wide.
Hakim Ziyech: 7/10
A frustrating evening for Ziyech, who only lasted in the game for half-an-hour before being subbed off due to a hamstring injury. Before then, though, Ziyech had come close with an effort and released James in the build-up to Giroud’s goal. Will hope to make a quick recovery after another injury setback.
Olivier Giroud: 8/10
Another start; another game wherein Giroud made an important contribution. While Giroud did not hit the heights of his performance against Sevilla, he still put Leeds to the sword and produced a fine finish to pull Chelsea back on level terms. Held the ball up smartly to bring his teammates in the game and even played 3 key passes. Just too valuable when in such a touch.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 5, 2020
Timo Werner: 5.5/10
Werner endured a frustrating evening on Saturday, as he failed to convert numerous chances when he really should have celebrated a brace. The worst of those misses came when he missed a shot into an open goal from a yard out. Did set up Christian Pulisic late on, but he needs to do far better in front of goal.
Christian Pulisic: 7/10
On for Ziyech, Pulisic saw a lot of the ball but saw quite a few of his efforts ended up being blocked. Did grab his goal late on when he converted Werner’s low cross from close range.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
Given the final quarter of the game after replacing Havertz, Kovacic kept play ticking in typical fashion and beautifully released Werner before he set Pulisic up for the third Chelsea goal. A good rest for him, though, keeping the big picture in mind.
Tammy Abraham: N/A
A late introduction, Tammy Abraham did not see a lot of the ball and sent his only shot off target.