Good day for Leeds United trio at Chelsea, bad day for duo and off-camera incidents as tempers frayed

Leeds United will look back on their visit to Stamford Bridge and the defeat by Chelsea with a mixture of frustration and regret, but they can draw confidence from it.

By Graham Smyth
Sunday, 12th December 2021, 9:19 am
Updated Sunday, 12th December 2021, 9:22 am

There were positives for Marcelo Bielsa to take and reasons for optimism. There was entertainment and some nice football. There were impressive performances and a career landmark for a youngster. There was drama and a measure of injustice. It was a game befitting the rivalry.

Good day

Joe Gelhardt

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The 19-year-old's first Premier League goal was a special one. As Marcelo Bielsa said, it wasn't the fourth goal of a rout, but a vital equaliser at Chelsea. The result will have taken a little of the shine off it but nothing can rob him of the feelings that hit him as the ball hit the net. He almost looked as if he didn't know what to do, overwhelmed by the enormity of what he'd done. The goal showed his striker's instinct, being in the right place at the right time.

Tyler Roberts

A fine assist for Gelhardt's goal and a solid performance. The ball he played into the Chelsea area was a wicked one, so difficult to defend and it begged a final touch. End product is what Roberts' game was lacking and in the last two games he's found it

Adam Forshaw

FLASH POINT - The full-time whistle was the signal for a confrontation involving Leeds United and Chelsea players at Stamford Bridge. Pic: Getty

The Premier League looks good on him. Yet again he was everywhere and tidy in possession but it was his fight that caught the eye. Stormed into tackles, shirked nothing.

Bad day

Mateusz Klich

Lifting his foot off the ground and making contact with Antonio Rudiger will be a moment that haunts him. He certainly didn't need anyone to tell him it was naive or that he'd given both Rudiger and Kavanagh the chance to decide the game with their actions and any abuse directed at him on social media was undeserved. What Klich did for Leeds en route to promotion was herculean and should not be forgotten. The 'what have you done for me today?' brigade were out in force but they don't reflect the feelings of the majority of the fanbase when it comes to the popular Pole.

Raphinha

Another who made an unwise challenge in the area. So often a game-changer at the other end for Leeds, he's not accustomed to making costly errors.

Off-camera moments

You can take the Leeds fan and plonk him in the first team squad but you can't take the Leeds fan out of him. Charlie Cresswell was happily singing along to Marching On Together with the away fans as he jogged back to the tunnel after the warm-up.

The Leeds United technical area is always a hive of activity during a game but in the second half against Chelsea the to-ing and fro-ing was incessant. Marcelo Bielsa wanted to put Crysencio Summerville on, so the winger came back from warming up at the corner flag, only for the head coach to change his mind. Summerville returned to the corner flag and Gelhardt made his way to the technical area in his stead, only for Bielsa to delay his introduction and send the striker back to warm up again. Eventually, with 10 minutes to go, Gelhardt's time came. Summerville's time was due to arrive too until Gelhardt scored and the plan changed yet again, Bielsa opting for Charlie Cresswell to combat the aerial threat of Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea had their star striker stripped and ready, with Cresswell lining up opposite him on the touchline. Bielsa waited until the Blues made their swap and then furiously demanded that Leeds be allowed to make their change. Referee Kavanagh tried to tell the Argentine to calm down and he did, quickly making friends again with fourth official Tony Harrington.

It was Bielsa who kept his cool in the wake of the late controversy. Junior Firpo made his way to the touchline to remonstrate with Harrington and/or the Chelsea bench - his angst was aimed in that general direction until his head coach gently guided him back towards the pitch.

There was no placating the left-back as he returned to the technical area following the full-time spat between the two sides. Firpo was heavily involved and led away but broke free to aim a kick at Bielsa's bucket, the fourth official's electronic board and the tunnel, with Chelsea staff displaying their irritation. Meanwhile Raphinha, whose passion and enthusiasm has been known to spill over from time to time, was being shadowed by Benoit Delaval as full-time approached and tensions simmered. It was all love between Raphinha and his pals in the Chelsea squad soon after, however and the winger even played his part in calming Rudiger, who seemed intent on being involved in it all.

Sam Greenwood ensured that Gelhardt got his moment with the fans, throwing an arm around his mate the goalscorer and ushering him towards an away section that did not stop singing all afternoon.

Number of the day

94

Leeds United, beset with serious injury problems that robbed Bielsa of numerous key senior players, were level with the European Champions after 94 minutes and so close to a superb result.

Turning point

There was no definitive moment that could be pinpointed as a turning point, other than the stoppage time spot-kick award of course, but after a rough start Leeds began to gain a foothold in the game after around 15 minutes or so and built their way into it until a theme was set. Chelsea were kept at bay and attacked sporadically. That was how it went for large parts, with the hosts only really looking dangerous when Leeds made errors.