Date: Saturday 4th March 2023
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Our games feel less predictable but somehow more inevitable every week now. I’ve no idea who wrote the script for this season but it would be more ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ than ‘Documentary’ in the Netflix categories. So many questions to be answered but the narrative is the same each week.
So what can we say about today’s game? Well, Dirty Leeds have a new manager in situ, so that’s good (for them), not that having a manager is a requirement to get a result against us of course. He got off to a good start last weekend with a win against Southampton, yes, Southampton because anyone can get a win against them, right? Oh…
Like us, Leeds do come into today’s game off the back of a defeat, because they lost to Fulham in the FA Cup midweek, so they’ll be glad they’re at Stamford Bridge this afternoon. Meanwhile Fulham’s more benevolent neighbours come into the game on a six-game winless run, with just one win in our last nine top-flight games, hitting the back of the net just six times in the last fifteen games in all competitions. We lost to Sp*rs last time out, and they couldn’t buy a goal against us at their new ground before this season but apparently, we’re in a process.
We’re 10th in the table now and working our socks off to get ourselves into a relegation battle, so let’s face it we really need someone to have stretched the goalposts the width of the pitch for us to get anything out of the game this afternoon.
Going into today’s game, Graham Potter, says
the same thing he says every week now, “The results are the results and ultimately the coach is responsible, so we have to improve those, that’s the first thing. Then you have to look at the performance of the team and how we can improve that because generally if you improve the performance of the team you can get better results. That’s my responsibility and that’s what I have to do. As the head coach you have to take that responsibility, that’s the job. I don’t think it’s a total responsibility but it’s certainly a huge responsibility. The results haven’t been good enough, we know that and we accept that. There’s no hiding behind it. We have to do better and that starts with me.
The most important thing is Chelsea can win. That’s the most important thing. It’s an easy thing to say: do something else and you win. There is always a thought process there but there are no guarantees, That is the beauty of football. You have to fight and understand when you’re in a tough moment you’ve got to stick together and work hard. We’ll give it our best and we’ll try.”
Leeds manager, Javi Gracia, meanwhile, says “I think all my players are focused on the next game and know the importance of the points at play. It’s true we are coming from FA Cup game where we got a defeat but in my opinion this game was good for us as well because we did many things well. It’s true we got a bad result but with many options during the game to change the dynamic, creating chances. We were a little bit unlucky, we didn’t finish with composure. But I’m happy with the way we competed. Now we are focused on the next game against Chelsea, it will be a tough game at a great stadium against a great team. I think the player are focused.
The confidence we have is in the work we are doing, not about the rivals. I respect a lot the team but we expect a demanding game and a tough game and it’s up to us to be ready for that.”
For Chelsea, the injuries are creeping back up yet again, Armando Broja (ACL) and Edouard Mendy (finger) remain out injured. Christian Pulisic (knee) and N’Golo Kante (thigh), are back training but not ready for a return. Thiago Silva (knee) is out for about six weeks after picking up an injury against Sp*rs and Mason Mount (abdominal) has also been ruled out. Reece James (hamstring) and Mateo Kovacic (illness) are doubts, whilst Cesar Azpilicueta (concussion) may return.
For Leeds, Rodrigo (ankle), Stuart Dallas (leg) and Adam Forshaw (groin) remain out, Luis Sinisterra faces a late fitness test, whilst Max Wober (shoulder), Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk (concussion) could return.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Arrizabalaga; Chalobah, Fofana, Badiashile, Chilwell; Fernandez; Zakaria, Madueke, Felix, Sterling; Havertz
LEEDS (Possible line-up): Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Wober, Firpo; Adams, McKennie; Harrison, Aaronson, Gnonto; Bamford
Chelsea 3-2 Leeds (11 December 2021)
- Chelsea have won five in a row against Leeds at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.
- Leeds’ last win at Stamford Bridge was in 1999.
- Chelsea have won just two of the last 15 Premier League games.
- Leeds won the reverse fixture at Elland Road in August.
- Chelsea have lost their last three in all competitions without scoring.
- Leeds have the joint-worst Premier League away record this season.
- Chelsea have just one win in league and cup this year.
- Leeds have won two of their 12 Premier League games against sides currently in the top half of the table.
- Chelsea have found the net 23 times in 24 Premier League games this season.
- Leeds have lost 199 games in the Premier League ahead of todays game, Chelsea feel like they’ve lost that many this season!
Sportsmole: Chelsea 1-1 Leeds