Leeds United and Chelsea will lock horns in what could be an exciting matchup in the third matchweek of the 2022/23 Premier League.

Chelsea will be gunning to bounce back to winning ways after the unfortunate draw last weekend when they travel to Elland Road to take on Leeds United on Sunday afternoon.

Chelsea started the new season with a narrow win over Everton and came extremely close to making it two in two last weekend, only to be held to a 2-2 draw by Tottenham Hotspur in a game filled with dodgy refereeing calls. Having seen the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City pull away at the top, Thomas Tuchel’s side will be intent on avoiding another early slip-up when they take the field at Elland Road.

Leeds United, like Chelsea, are yet to be beaten in the new season and have collected four points from two matches, having first defeated Wolves in their opening encounter before throwing a two-goal lead to be held to a draw by Southampton last weekend. Still, following their relegation battle last season, the signs are looking good for Jesse Marsch’s side, but a game against Chelsea will be a massive challenge.

The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 3-0 win for Chelsea over a ten-man Leeds United side. And ahead of their latest meeting at Elland Road, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Leeds United

Leeds United continue to be without the services of Stuart Dallas, Junior Firpo and Luke Ayling. Liam Cooper is back in training but the game against Chelsea could come too soon for him. Jesse Marsch confirmed that Patrick Bamford was in good condition ahead of the game, although a decision on the striker’s involvement will be taken much closer to the contest.

Marsch is unlikely to make any major changes to the side that started the game against Southampton, meaning Illan Meslier will continue between the sticks for Leeds. He will be shielded by the centre-back pairing of Robin Koch and Diego Llorente flanked by Rasmus Kristensen and makeshift left-back Pascal Struijk.

New signings Marc Roca and Tyler Adams have been the preferred pairing in the middle of the park, which is unlikely to change on Sunday. The pair will be up against it when they face quality operators like Jorginho and Mason Mount and will need to be at their best to stop Chelsea from dictating proceedings.

Moving into the final third of the pitch, Given Bamford’s injury troubles in the last season, Marsch might be unwilling to risk rushing him back into action against Chelsea. It could see Rodrigo Moreno move into the No.9 slot on Sunday. The Spaniard is finally starting to come good for Leeds, having scored three goals in two league games already.

Rodrigo will have support from Jack Harrison on the left flank and Daniel James on the right. New signing Brenden Aaronson, who has impressed in his two Premier League outings, could slot in as the No. 10 and look to provide the creative spark. Joe Gelhardt is back available and could be an option for Marsch from the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1):ย Meslier; Kristensen, Koch, Llorente, Struijk; Roca, Adams; James, Aaronson, Harrison; Rodrigo

Chelsea

N’Golo Kante is ruled out for Chelsea after he picked an injury against Tottenham. He joins fellow midfielder Mateo Kovacic on the sidelines, while young striker Armando Broja also misses out. Christian Pulisic returned to training on Friday and could play a part, but Marcos Alonso remains unavailable as he seeks to resolve his future.

There will likely be one or two tweaks made to the lineup that took the field against Tottenham last time out. Cesar Azpilicueta should return to the starting XI, taking up his place as the right-sided centre-back, alongside Thiago Silva and new signing Kalidou Koulibaly, who scored his first goal for Chelsea last weekend. Edouard Mendy continues in goal.

Reece James should move to his customary right wing-back position after starting at centre-back versus Spurs. Meanwhile, Ben Chilwell could come in for new signing Marc Cucurella on the opposite flank. With Kante out, Ruben Loftus-Cheek could start in the centre of the park for Chelsea alongside Jorginho. The former can pose problems with his physicality and ability to make driving forward runs.

The attacking trident of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling is expected to remain intact, while Thomas Tuchel can call upon the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi from the bench if needed.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3):ย Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Koulibaly; James, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz, Sterling

Key Stats

  • Chelsea won 3-0 against Leeds United at Elland Road last season. But they have never won back-to-back away league games against the Whites.ย 
  • Leeds United are winless aginst Chelsea in their previous seven Premier League meetings since a 2-0 triumph at Elland Road in 2002.ย 
  • Chelsea could win and secure a clean sheet in their first two away fixtures of a Premier League season for the first time since 2005/06 under Josรฉ Mourinho.
  • Rodrigo Moreno could become only the fourth Leeds United player to score in their first three top-flight matches of a season, after Arthur Hydes (1933/34), Mick Jones (1968/69) and Patrick Bamford (2020/21).ย 
  • Chelsea’s nine most recent Premier League goals were scored by nine different players.

Player to Watch

Reece James

The Chelsea academy graduate has grown into one of the best wing-backs in Europe over the past couple of seasons andย showcased his worth to his team last weekendย when he did a brilliant job nullifying Son Heung-min’s danger while posing an attacking threat himself. Reece James was rewarded with a deserved goal for his attacking endeavours, although a late equaliser deprived the Blues of a win.

The 22-year-old has been involved in 15 goals in his last 24 Premier League starts, scoring six goals and setting up nine more. He has more Premier League goal involvements than any other defender since the start of last season. Considering that he will be coming up against a makeshift left-back in Pascal Struijk on Sunday, expect James to pose a serious threat to Leeds with his forward forays.

Prediction

Leeds United 0-1 Chelsea

Even though they would be disappointed at not winning the game last weekend, Leeds United have shown signs of optimism in their first two matches of the season and are still unbeaten. Chelsea, meanwhile, were unlucky to come away with just a point against Tottenham but looked good in bursts, especially after an uninspiring display in the opening day win over Everton.

While Patrick Bamford’s absence could be a concern, in Rodrigo and Brenden Aaronson, Leeds have found players who can trouble opposition players. However, beating a backline consisting of quality and experienced stars like Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Kalidou Koulibaly might prove tricky. The Hard Tackle is thus predicting a narrow win for Chelsea.

One Response to “Leeds United vs Chelsea Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats”

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  1. Mason Jabl says:

    It will be so impressing as sterling scores his first goal in his three premier league matches

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