Leeds United v Chelsea: YEP Jury give their big-match predictions

Leeds United face another toughest test when Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea visit Elland Road tomorrow. Here’s what our panel of fans make of the big game.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 6:00 am
IN THE FRAME: Rodrigo could be a possible starter against Chelsea tomorrow. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

ANDY RHODES

After a difficult last few weeks which has seen Leeds slip towards the foot of the form table, high-flying Chelsea may be the last team they want to welcome to Elland Road.

Under new boss Thomas Tuchel, the Blues are unbeaten in all competitions and boast eight wins from his 11 games in charge.

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KEY MAN: Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips made a successful return from injury against West Ham. Picture: Ian Walton/PA Wire.

Since Frank Lampard’s departure, Chelsea are reminiscent of the solid, capable unit seen in years gone by.

Leeds, then, will have to be disciplined if they want to get a result. Players returning from injury will be a huge boost to Marcelo Bielsa. Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo both got much-needed minutes under their belts on Monday, and both could be key here.

If Lampard was still in charge the Jury might have been more optimistic with its predictions. Alas, some things aren’t meant to be.

This fixture would come alive in the atmosphere of a sold-out Elland Road. United will hope they just need the 11 men, not the 12.

HOME TEST: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Andy Rain/PA Wire.

Prediction: Leeds United 0 Chelsea 2.

DAVID WATKINS

Leeds United have not lost three Premier League games on the trot all season but, if ever there was a danger of it happening, you would think this weekend was the time.

Chelsea come to Elland Road on the back of an unbeaten run of 11 games under Thomas Tuchel, with nine victories in all competitions; form that has catapulted them back into the Champions League places.

ON THE RUN: Raphinha goes past Southampton's Ryan Bertrand. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Leeds are stuttering; eight defeats in our last 12 games suggest, on paper at least, this looks like an away banker. There is a ray of hope though, not least that the game won’t be played on paper; it will be played on the far more tricky Elland Road pitch! Leeds’ recent defeats have come from a combination of appalling bad luck and, just as often, a catalogue of failures at both ends of the pitch, suggesting that mid-table is probably the limit of the current playing squad.

However, while that is concerning, it also offers hope that if we can just cut out those errors and if Lady Luck would play her part then, maybe, we can banish the Blues.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Chelsea 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

STRONG START: Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire.

Chelsea make their return to Elland Road for the first time in nine years, since a cup thrashing during the Neil Warnock era.

They were too good for us at Stamford Bridge and, as infuriating as that is, we gave a good account of ourselves given the gulf in costs between the two squads.

The loss of former Blues manager, Frank Lampard, reduces the spice level ever-so slightly but also reduces the chances of a Leeds win given how stable Chelsea have seemed since.

For United it’s a difficult patch.

The first time in three years that we’ve not had much to play for and, even the pride of ‘doing it for the fans’ is diminished by empty stadia.

I hope to see us start with the same side that ended the game against West Ham – when we were able to play a decent, if not effective, game.

Marcelo Bielsa rarely allows his teams to go on significant losing runs so a low-scoring draw against Chelsea feels about right.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Chelsea 1.

KEITH INGHAM

Once again we left London with nothing. It’s very frustrating because if you look at the chances we created at West Ham and the slimmest of margins VAR used to disallow a goal for offside,

Leeds should have returned home with at least a point for their efforts, but alas they didn’t.

Tomorrow offers us probably the hardest recent test; Chelsea have been playing really well since a certain ex-Derby manager was rightly shown the exit door and told to leave.

His replacement has steadied the expensive ship and they look to have a good chance of progressing in the Champions League and a finish in the top four.

I suggest that Leeds need to bring in Jack Harrison and Rodrigo for this game.

Player-of-the-season Stuart Dallas had a good game in midfield and could replace the out-of-sorts Mat Klich alongside Rodrigo and Kalvin Phillips who returned from injury against West Ham.

Harrison and Rodrigo should replace Helder Costa and Tyler Roberts.

I’m not usually pessimistic but, even through rose-tinted glasses, I cannot see Leeds getting anything from tomorrow’s game and I just hope it’s not embarrassing.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Chelsea 3.

JACOB STARR

An incredibly tough ask awaits us this weekend as the Whites host a revitalised Chelsea side, unbeaten in 11 since the appointment of Thomas Tuschel.

We go into tomorrow’s contest on the back of a frustrating 2-0 loss at West Ham, where another unbelievably harsh VAR decision prevented us from going a goal ahead, before a couple of glorious chances were squandered by Patrick Bamford.

That’s London for you.

It was a big boost to have Kalvin Phillips back, however, as we looked a lot more solid than we have during his recent absence.

With Rodrigo getting some minutes off the bench too, that will hopefully bring an end to the Tyler Roberts experiment for now.

With matches against Fulham and Sheffield United coming up, facing Tuschel’s team could be seen as another ‘free hit’, but with Fulham’s resurgence, we ideally don’t want to go into that game with a narrower gap than the nine points it is now.

I think it will be a low-scoring game, unlike the 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues drastically better defensively now, keeping nine clean sheets in 11.

Whilst they are seemingly a bit more conservative in possession, Chelsea have yet to score more than twice in a game under the new manager.

Prediction: Leeds United 0 Chelsea 1.

MIKE GILL

The West Ham game was a combination of bad luck, poor finishing and defensive frailties.

The way that the Whites started the game should have given them a genuine chance of victory.

It is not fanciful to suggest that had the Roberts goal been allowed then things could have been very different. Still, every team buys a ticket for the VAR lottery and by doing so must abide by the rules.

Leeds have to put all this behind them as they prepare for the visit of Chelsea.

The Blues are on a fine run at the moment with wins against Spurs, Liverpool and Everton joining the names of lesser outfits. Leeds have Kalvin Phillips back and many fans would like to see Rodrigo start. Whatever the line-up, in order to stand any sort of chance against Chelsea, they need to convert more of their chances into goals.

It is a truly remarkable feat for a newly-promoted team to never lose more than two games in succession but this record will be under severe pressure tomorrow.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Chelsea 2.

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