The Premier League season seems to move faster every year. Even with the unusual inclusion of a November World Cup, the season is rapidly heading toward the business end.
There have been mixed fortunes for many teams this year. Today, we will explore Leeds United’s trip to Chelsea on 4 March, and give our thoughts and predictions regarding this crunch fixture.
If you’d told Chelsea fans at the beginning of the season that they would be one point behind Liverpool after 22 games – you would have been the target of much ridicule.
Unfortunately, both teams have had a disastrous season by their standards and could easily slip into the bottom half of the table over the next few weeks.
Even the best betting apps wouldn’t have had Liverpool and Chelsea outside the top six at this stage of the season. So, we will examine the strong points of Chelsea this year and see if they can make a late charge for the European positions.
Chelsea’s performance in the Premier League this season has been poor when measured against their standards. However, after relieving Thomas Tuchel of his services as manager, many thought they had found an intelligent replacement in Brighton’s Graham Potter.
Having worked wonders on a shoestring budget and implemented an attractive football style down on the south coast, plenty of fans and analysts believed he could be the man to steer them back toward the higher end of the table.
However, Chelsea is a club in transition at the moment. With Tuchel leaving and Roman Abramovich leaving his long-standing position as owner, the club is without a real identity.
This has been coupled with the fact they have been erratic in the January transfer window, spending in excess of £300m over 30 days.
It hasn’t resulted in instant victories on the pitch. Although football managers often need time to implement their own strategy, this has been noted as a severe issue for Potter. Rival fans have begun to sing about Chelsea’s misfortunes, and their league form has been far from impressive.
Despite spending big money on new signings, many believe the long-term injury of talisman N’Golo Kanté has been pivotal and caused much of their bad form.
Chelsea has only won half of their home games so far this year. It is a dreadful run of form for a team that was looking to crack on and possibly break the monopoly of Liverpool and Manchester City. Instead, it is a season the West London club will be looking to forget in a hurry.
Their home form hasn’t been great, and neither has their away form. Luckily for Chelsea, they’re coming up against a team that finds themselves right in the thick of the relegation zone again.
Last year, Leeds United survived relegation by the very skin of their teeth. Despite bringing in a raft of new faces, Jesse Marsch was relieved of his services earlier this season.
After failing to pick up a single win in January, Leeds United found themselves right back in the mix with some of the worst teams in the division.
Following a spirited draw at Old Trafford, a game in which the managerless squad were unlucky not to pick up three points, they have proved they have some of the quality to drag themselves out of the relegation dogfight again.
Although this game won’t have been earmarked as a winnable game, Leeds United will be hoping they have enough to steer themselves out of trouble.
Looking at the sides around them, such as Everton and Southampton, you’d think they’d have enough to escape the doomed bottom three by the time May comes around.
With their star man Rodrigo out for another few weeks, they’ll be hanging a lot of hope on the Brazilian when he fully recovers from his surgery.
Leeds United’s form away from home this season hasn’t been anything to brag about. However, given the display they put in at Old Trafford, they’ll be quietly confident of potentially picking up a point.
At this stage of the season, that could make all the difference. It could inspire confidence within the team and fuel them toward staying in the division.
The return fixture at the start of the season was a resounding win for Leeds United and it was the beginning of the end for Tuchel.
You’d think that some in this Leeds United squad would fancy themselves to pick up all three points, given they had already decimated them once this season at Elland Road back in August.
However, as we know in football, statistics, history and form sometimes go out of the window. Chelsea could quickly put three past Leeds United this time, given they are at home and have a point to prove.
It would act as a statement of intent for Potter, who is struggling to get this team out of the turbulence.
When teams are fighting for their lives in the Premier League, it can produce spirited performances and results that are wholly unexpected. Leeds United can attest to this at the end of last season as they dug their way out of the relegation zone with a few minutes to spare.
Chelsea’s name carries significant weight and with the amount of star talent they have brought in, you’d think they would be too much for Leeds United. However, some Chelsea club legends have blamed this seismic squad impact as bad and the driving factor behind their poor form.
Leeds United probably looked at the fixture list at the beginning of the season and thought there wasn’t a good time to go to Stamford Bridge. However, now appears to be as good a time as any, with the club languishing in mid-table.
As we have already discussed in today’s article, with so many fresh faces and a young manager inexperienced at the highest level struggling to get them to gel, could Leeds United possibly cause an upset?
After picking up wins against Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge, the West London outfit hasn’t looked bad in certain games.
Potter believes the team will turn a corner soon, once they have a bit of luck, and you’d think he is looking at this game as a fixture to kickstart a good run into the final third of the season.
We’ll go for a narrow victory in this one for Chelsea – either 1-0 or 2-1. However, if Leeds United can get off to a strong start and snatch a goal, it will completely change the game’s dynamic.
This group of Chelsea players will be eager to prove themselves, with some coming in with huge price tags and attracting criticism.
A home game against a team fighting for their lives in the division should be seen as a must-win game. Leeds United will be relying on their home games to pick up points instead of away games against the likes of Chelsea.
Plenty of their managers in the last couple of decades say that Chelsea should be winning every home game, regardless of opposition given the money they have spent.
Although Leeds United is more than capable of playing well it’s hard to imagine a situation where they don’t lose this game.