Premier League a better place as Leeds United take on Chelsea and every chance of Whites success - David Prutton

LEEDS United and Chelsea have a real traditional rivalry in the top flight and the rivalry was something I always knew of when I was playing.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 5:45 am

The rivalry is something that goes back to the 70s when you had two very good teams that were capable of very good football.

But also they were not scared to kick lumps out of each other which I had a certain fondness for.

When I was playing for Leeds, we also had the Chelsea connection with Ken Bates being there as chairman and you were made well aware of that by Leeds United’s fans.

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FIERY FIXTURE: Lee Bowyer gets stuck in to Emmanuel Petit during the Premiership clash between Leeds United and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in January 2002. Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images.

But this is just a wonderful match between two wonderful clubs to have back on the agenda as West London meets West Yorkshire.

It’s the way it has been since time began in a football sense and these two teams meeting together at this particular level once again is fantastic not just for both clubs but for the Premier League too.

Tonight’s game also renews that lovely rivalry between Frank Lampard and Marcelo Bielsa and there is no love lost between Leeds United’s fans and Frank Lampard.

Frank was very vocal when everything happened when he was at Derby and I am sure he will use that as motivation but the game is set up nicely and even more so given both sides’ recent results.

Could I see Leeds going there and getting a draw or even a victory? Absolutely.

Chelsea are not absolutely unbeatable at home at all and if Leeds play at their best they can give anyone in the Premier League a run for their money, as we have seen against some of the teams that they have played against.

Leeds have got to go there full of confidence.

Chelsea had a cracking result on Wednesday night with the 4-0 win at Sevilla in the Champions League in which Olivier Giroud scored all four goals and Leeds are operating in different circumstances to Chelsea in that they have just come back to the Premier League.

Now they are taking on a team that in the not too distant past were Premier League champions and Champions League champions.

The disparity in the recent history is very much there but there’s absolutely nothing to fear from Leeds’ point of view.

It’s a strange one with Giroud with the debate now ongoing over whether he has to start.

It’s a bit of a conundrum with Giroud in that he has managed to hoover up a lot of goals and win a lot of things but he has never really settled as a consistent starter which is a bit odd.

But after scoring four goals in the Champions League he is in stunning form and fine fitness.

It’s a short turnaround but he would give Leeds’ defence a serious examination which is why they are at this level and what they would want to be at this level for.

Chelsea are a mixture of youthful exuberance but also quite obvious talent with established stars too.

With the players that they have got and what those players have won this is a really serious test for Leeds but one they can’t be remotely timid about.

Leeds go into the game after last weekend’s 1-0 victory at an Everton side who were really pulling up trees at the start of the season.

But Everton keeper Jordan Pickford was kept very busy and the scoreline could have looked very different.

There were decisions that were made by the referee and debated by VAR and all that usual sort of stuff which is all very much part of what makes a Premier League game nowadays.

But the winning goal from Raphinha was a cracker and that will give him confidence as a Leeds player as well as giving the fans confidence seeing a new player settle in. It was an important win after a testing couple of weeks.

From what we have seen so far from Raphinha, there is a willingness to work hard for the team and that apparent and obvious quality.

There are many boxes that are ticked so far and if he is part of a Leeds United side that manages to consolidate in the Premier League this season then it will give him a perfect platform to flourish in the seasons to come.

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Thank you Laura Collins