Report: Leeds United 0-3 Chelsea
Leeds: Meslier (GK), Koch, Cooper (C), Raphinha (Gelhardt 78’), Llorente, Rodrigo, James, Struijk, Harrison, Phillips, Bate (Klich 59’). Subs not used: Klaesson (GK), Firpo, Hjelde, Cresswell, Greenwood, Shackleton, Gray.
Chelsea: Mendy (GK), Rudiger, Alonso, Christensen, Jorginho (C), Kovacic (Loftus-Cheek 30’), Lukaku, Pulisic (Ziyech 78’), Chalobah, Mount, James (Azpilicueta 78’). Subs not used: Kepa (GK), Silva, Werner, Barkley, Havertz, Sarr.
Leeds United were beaten at Elland Road by third placed Chelsea, in their penultimate Premier League home match of the season. The visitors took an early lead in the contest which sent Thomas Tuchel’s side on their way to claiming the three points.
Inside just four minutes, a break down the right wing from Reece James saw the full-back cut back inside then lay the ball off for his teammate Mason Mount, allowing the midfielder to curl home the ball into the top corner to give Chelsea an early lead.
After conceding, the Whites kept control of the ball and tried to settle into the game. The possession based plan got them up the pitch win set-pieces, where Lewis Bate struck at goal with a first time volley which was blocked, before Diego Llorente’s follow up effort flew just wide.
With 25 minutes gone, Dan James was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Mateo Kovacic, meaning United were reduced to 10 players for the second match running, with around an hour to go in the match.
A few minutes after the dismissal, Chelsea had the ball in the back of the net again, but this one was ruled out correctly for offside. Romelu Lukaku latched onto Mount’s over the top ball and finished well against Illan Meslier, but the flag went up to deny the striker.
Jesse Marsch was then forced to go to his bench, as Jack Harrison - who had picked up a knock earlier in the half - had to be substituted. Junior Firpo came on in place of the winger which caused a tactical shuffle amongst the back line.
A stop-start first half was brought to a close following six minutes of stoppage time, with the visitors having a one-goal and one-player advantage at the interval.
Both teams came out in the second half with the same XI’s that had finished the first 45 minutes. The away side had the best chance early on, when Lukaku had space in the box but put his header well over the bar from Mount’s cross.
The lead was doubled just 10 minutes into the second half at Elland Road. Quick interplay from Chelsea saw them push up the pitch and after Mount laid the ball off, Christian Pulisic had time to pick his spot and finish low into the bottom corner.
Mateusz Klich entered the match, coming on in central midfield in place of the hard-working Lewis Bate, who had worked tirelessly throughout on his first Premier League start for the club.
Further chances came with Lukaku and Mount at the forefront again for the away side, with both players having efforts go close. Despite Leeds’ best efforts to get forward, the man advantage for Chelsea was playing a large part in the game.
The Whites - who were as always being pushed on by the packed out crowd inside the ground - did create an opening when Firpo sprinted down the wing and crossed into the box, only to see Raphinha’s header go over the bar.
Inside the final 10 minutes of the match and with Leeds players up the pitch searching for a way back into the game, Chelsea hit on the counter and made it three when Lukaku fired in from inside the box.