Leeds United line in the sand, Chelsea stars' row, substitute's mischief and off-camera moments
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Here’s the YEP take on who shone and who didn’t, along with some moments you might have missed.
A player who looks born to press and challenge for the ball. He was a thorn in Chelsea’s side all afternoon and his energy levels never waivered.
A player for whom a summer departure would not, at one stage, have come as a surprise yet four goals in three games have underlined his importance and the potential to change a lot of minds. Captaining Leeds to a 3-0 win over Chelsea is surely the highlight of his time at Elland Road.
A pest off the ball and on it. Showed real intelligence in possession to move himself or the ball away from blue shirts. Maybe just lacked a little accuracy or vision once or twice in the final third, but fully deserved his goal.
Last season he scored lots of goals but often struggled to produce the kind of wing play and service he’s capable of. Against Chelsea his footwork in possession was mesmerising, he delivered service and added a goal. A man in form.
A line in the sand, perhaps, for some of the head coach’s doubters. He loved every minute of the game and put a huge amount of energy into coaching the side and celebrating the big moments. His full-bodied investment in celebrations are not to everyone’s taste – a Leeds fan actually rang up Five Live’s phone-in show to make a complaint to that end – but given the stress and pressure of last season when he walked into a situation for which he had no responsibility, he deserved his day in the sun.
Watching his side go down 3-0 to a team they expected to beat left Tuchel visibly irked, as it should, but his post-match interviews lacked grace. He would give no credit to the Whites for their performance, in a somewhat spiky press conference performance.
Goalkeeping mistakes, as a wise Leeds head coach once said, are highlighted because they happen so close to the goal and Mendy’s could not have been much closer to his. It was a howler, one that will be replayed and replayed.
The midfielder had a difficult time of it, coming in for N'Golo Kanté and being hit with waves of pressure from Leeds. Undoubtedly a fine player and a fun one to watch but he was shackled for the most part and couldn’t take his big goalscoring chance when it arrived in the second half.
The sun was beating down on Elland Road but Rodrigo still emerged from the tunnel for the warm-up in full jacket and tracksuit bottoms. Acclimatising to the West Yorkshire climate is an ongoing process for the man from Spain.
Rodrigo was part of a relentless press that made life uncomfortable for Chelsea from the early stages. He, Brenden Aaronson, Jack Harrison and Daniel James defended from the front and their running – which was often triggered by the ball going to the feet of Kalidou Koulibaly – forced the visitors to be brave and inventive in playing out from the back. It didn’t always go right for Chelsea, though, and as errors crept in Thiago Silva let Reece James know all about it. The pair engaged in a lengthy back and forth, with Silva refusing to let his right-back have the last word. Seconds later he was screaming at Raheem Sterling for not holding the ball up.
When Leeds went in front, thanks to Edouard Mendy’s howler and Aaronson’s persistence, Elland Road was a difficult place to be for anyone in a blue shirt, on or off the pitch. Even substitute Hakim Ziyech got it in the neck as he walked back to the dugout from warming up. He tried to laugh off the West Stand mockery but it was the Whites who had the last laugh.
Another substitute was drawing attention later in the game, with Leeds comfortably in front and Chelsea rushing to get the ball back for restarts to try and salvage something. Mateusz Klich managed to delay Marc Cucurella from retrieving the ball for a throw, by around a second, and got a rise from the full-back, to the delight of the Leeds fans in the West Stand and Kop.
Jesse Marsch’s substitutions and their timing was a talking point prior to the game, after the loss of a 2-0 lead at Southampton, and it appeared for a short time as if he might be forced into one when Pascal Struijk went down after an aerial collision. That prompted Leo Hjelde to run out of the dugout to warm up but when it became apparent he would not be required the youngster trotted back towards of the technical area, with a wry grin and a shake of the head in the direction of someone in the West Stand. He then applauded Struijk back onto the pitch as the left-back recovered from his knock.
With a little under 10 minutes remaining Rodrigo gave Marsch the signal that it was time for a change. He had started to look exhausted, although still managed to chase and harry defenders, and Marsch responded with frantic signals to his staff to get Joe Gelhardt on, in what became a triple swap for the Whites.
Klich was one of those introduced and his dumping of Silva on the deck in the centre circle was too much for Tuchel, who raged at the fourth official. Leeds brought a high level of physicality to their visitors all afternoon but did not take a single yellow card.
The full-time whistle brought a US Men’s National Team reunion on halfway, Aaronson and Tyler Adams catching up with international team-mate Christian Pulisic.
Third-choice goalkeeper Joel Robles made a beeline for Illan Meslier to congratulate him on a hard-earned clean sheet as the players made their way around Elland Road lapping up the ovation.
In the press box, Eddie Gray gleefully bearhugged Angus Kinnear and celebrated with director Pete Lowy, while Meslier gave the South Stand the now traditional fist-pumps and Adams wearily soaked up every last second of the atmosphere.