Leeds vs Chelsea result: Five things we learned as Blues held to a frustrating draw

Thomas Tuchel’s side faltered in the top-four race at Elland Road

Andrew Gamble
Saturday 13 March 2021 14:25
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Leeds and Chelsea played out a goalless draw at Elland Road in the Premier League’s early kick-off on Saturday.

After a pulsating start, the visitors took control before Marcelo Bielsa’s side dominated the final stages but both sides failed to find the net.

In a goalless first half, Leeds hit the crossbar when Tyler Roberts’ floated effort was tipped onto the woodwork by Edouard Mendy.

The Chelsea goalkeeper made an even better save in the second half, acrobatically denying Raphinha from close range before Rodrigo’s free header was straight at Mendy.

The draw means that the Blues will remain fourth in the Premier League, three points clear of Champions League-chasing West Ham, while Leeds sit in 11th – two points behind Arsenal. Here are five things we learned from the game at the Elland Road.

Chelsea were held to draw at Elland Road

Right to play down the right?

Chelsea consistently attacked down the right-hand side, and it was interesting to watch.

Christian Pulisic operated as the winger down that flank but Hakim Ziyech drifted to the wing, allowing the Moroccan to cut inside and use his left foot effectively.

Even Mason Mount, playing as the left-hand equivalent of Pulisic, would often occupy a central role and was constantly looking to pick out the American.

The tactic almost worked perfectly, with Ziyech swinging in a beautiful cross that Havertz narrowly failed to get on the end of after good work by Pulisic.

Chelsea’s enhanced fluidity under Tuchel

It is often difficult to figure out what formation Chelsea are playing.

German boss Thomas Tuchel employed a 4-2-3-1 formation, but it seemed to effortlessly flow to five at the back when Leeds were in possession.

Pulisic would drop back from the right-sided player in the three attacking midfielders to become almost a right-wing back, although this dropped off in the second period.

This fluidity was particularly evident when the American was withdrawn for Reece James.

Timo Werner in action

Leeds impress with the high-press yet again

Chelsea are usually far more comfortable when they face teams with pressing mentality as relentless as Leeds, but they struggled at Elland Road.

This was because Leeds’ ability to press as a coherent unit was remarkable against the Blues, with a white shirt constantly putting an opposition player under pressure.

It wasn’t just the likes of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount or even Jorginho – Andreas Christensen barely had time to play out from the back.

Their expansive offensive play has grabbed the headlines this season, but Marcelo Bielsa’s team are just as impressive without possession.

False dawn for Havertz

The German has struggled since his initial £61 million move to Stamford Bridge, but Tuchel has brought out flashes of his enormous potential.

Those flashes were rife at Elland Road as Havertz was deployed as a false nine, and the 21-year-old did a number of clever runs and flicks.

However, the same old story of his Chelsea career so far continued against Leeds – Havertz just cannot find an end product in the final third.

This is remarkable for a player that scored 18 goals for Bayer Leverkusen in all competitions last season, but Havertz is showing promise.

He simply needs time – will it be afforded to him after such a hefty price tag?

Mount holds key to England’s Euro hopes

With the 2020/2021 European Championships coming in the summer, the Chelsea midfielder has found form at the right time.

His performances throughout this season have propelled Mount to surely be the second name on Gareth Southgate’s England team sheet right after Harry Kane.

Mount has it all: the composure, awareness, and guile to play as a deeper central midfielder, while his shooting from distance is a constant threat.

Along with his versatility, Mount’s ability to effectively link defence to attack makes him an invaluable member of the Three Lions squad.

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