Preview: Leeds United vs Chelsea
It’s the penultimate home match of the season for Leeds United on Wednesday evening, as they take on European champions Chelsea FC, at Elland Road.
The match will begin under the lights in West Yorkshire, with a 7:30pm kick-off between two teams who have plenty left to compete for as the season draws ever closer to its conclusion.
The Whites are in a battle to a retain their Premier League status whilst the visitors want to secure Champions League football for next season and also have an upcoming FA Cup final to look forward to, this weekend.
A close-fought encounter saw Chelsea take the points earlier in the season courtesy of a last-gasp penalty at Stamford Bridge in a match that they ended up winning 3-2. The fixture at Elland Road last season was a tight affair, which saw the teams take a point each in a 0-0 draw.
Thomas Tuchel’s side travel to face the Whites knowing that a win would would move them onto 70 points for the campaign, which would just about guarantee them a spot in amongst Europe’s top competition next season, with Arsenal and Tottenham currently still having hopes of overtaking them.
Just one in win the last five matches has seen a stutter in form for the Blues. They conceded a last minute equaliser against Wolves at the weekend, which was the follow up game to a disappointing loss away at Everton in the previous clash.
After previously going on an impressive five match unbeaten run which saw the side return 11 points from a possible 15 on offer, Jesse Marsch’s squad will now be hoping to return to winning ways after back to back defeats to Manchester City and Arsenal.
With just three games remaining, every point is of the highest of value in the battle to avoid the drop. Leeds are in 18th spot, level on points with 17th placed Burnley and one point behind 16th placed Everton. Three points on Wednesday would see them go above both of their end-of-season rivals.
A positive stat for the hosts going into the game is their record throughout the month of May. Leeds United have only lost one of their last 41 home league matches in the month, which was against Tottenham in 1996.
The man in the middle on Wednesday is the experienced Anthony Taylor. The official has overseen Leeds twice so far this season, which was the 2-1 success away at Norwich, and the recent 1-1 draw at home to Southampton. The Blues are also unbeaten under Taylor’s charge this campaign, with two wins and three draws from five games.
Wednesday’s clash has been selected for live television coverage on Sky Sports. Live commentary is available as always through LUTV. Alternatively, stay right here on leedsunited.com for updates throughout the match.
What has Jesse Marsch said, ahead of the match?
“We have to accept that we’re in this situation but we have to stay strong and play with no regrets, make sure we go after it and push to do everything we can. On game day we have to be a combination of pragmatic, clever and tactically be sharp, defend our goal and find ways to be dangerous.”
Jesse Marsch has stated that Liam Cooper may be able to return to the side after rejoining training this week. Patrick Bamford will miss the clash with Chelsea, along with Adam Forshaw, Tyler Roberts, Stuart Dallas and the suspended Luke Ayling.
For Chelsea, midfield duo Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are doubts, whilst Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi are still missing through injury as well. Marcos Alonso is another doubt for the game.
Take a look at some important stats between two Spaniard’s who play a key role defensively for their side, but also like to attack and help out with a goal when they are able to do so!
The match has been selected for television broadcast coverage on Sky Sports. Live commentary is available as always on LUTV, with blog updates throughout, on leedsunited.com.