5 Chelsea players who underperformed against Leeds United


Looking for their second win of the season, Chelsea traveled to Elland Road for their Premier League week three clash with Leeds United on Sunday afternoon (August 21). Thomas Tuchel’s men were uncharacteristically miserable against the Whites, succumbing to a heartbreaking 3-0 away defeat. Brendan Aaronson, Rodrigo Moreno and Jack Harrison found the back of the net to provide Elland Road with a memorable afternoon against one of the Premier League greats.

Chelsea started the game well, not taking even a minute to open their first chance of the game. Raheem Sterling found himself in an inviting position inside the box but dragged his shot away from the target. Four minutes later, the pensioners caught Leeds with a quick counterattack. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who completed the attack, had the opportunity to apply a finish for the first time but ended up taking an extra touch and luck was overdue.

In the 15th minute, Sterling walked away in celebration as he found the back of the net with an inspired curling effort. Much to his disappointment, the goal was eventually ruled out for offside. Five minutes later, Leeds got their first chance of the game, with Rodrigo going in on goal from a tight angle. To Elland Road’s dismay, his effort fell just short of the target.

Just after the half-hour mark, Leeds scored their first goal of the match, courtesy of a moment of madness from Edouard Mendy and superb anticipation from Aaronson. Four minutes later, Rodrigo doubled the hosts’ advantage, meeting Harrison’s perfect free-kick with a hard-hitting header. New Chelsea signing Marc Cucurella had the chance to pull a goal back for the visitors in the 40th minute but the left-back couldn’t keep his effort on target.

Cucurella had another very decent chance early in the second half but, again, his finishing let him down, his efforts flying considerably over the bar. The west Londoners created a couple of decent chances through Conor Gallagher and Reece James in the 57th and 65th minutes respectively. As Gallagher’s effort (via a Marc Roca deflection) drifted just past the post, James’ attempt was parried by Illan Meslier.

After being under the hammer for a while, Leeds bounced back with a 69th-minute reply, scoring their third goal of the night through Harrison. The goal, a rather straightforward tap-in from close range, took the visitors’ game completely away.

In the 84th minute, things went from bad to worse for Tuchel’s side as their newly acquired centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly saw a second yellow and was subsequently sent off. Playing with 10 men in the last 10 minutes, the Blues didn’t create anything of substance and seemingly accepted their fate.

Here are five Chelsea stars who underperformed in their 3-0 loss to Leeds United on Sunday afternoon:


#5 Jorginho

Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Leeds United v Chelsea FC – Premier League

Chelsea central midfielder Jorginho was one of the most experienced players on the pitch on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Italian failed to put his experience to good use, struggling to produce anything to write home about. He rarely ventured onto the pitch, his passing was rarely adventurous, and he was often brushed aside by the opposition.

If Jorginho can’t slow down the pace of a match (tempo?), then he’s totally useless. Leeds stepped up the game and we had no midfield. Pair that with Havertz losing the ball every time he’s challenged and we’re in trouble.

Against Jesse Marsch’s side, Jorginho didn’t assist, lost five of 11 duels, gave up the ball five times and was dribbled past three times. He was naturally replaced by Hakim Ziyech in the 64th minute.


Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Leeds United v Chelsea FC – Premier League

After loaning out Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea have taken a huge gamble on attacking midfielder-turned-striker Kai Havertz. The German has the quality of making opponents pay, but he also has a rather irritating habit of often disappearing from games, something we witnessed against Leeds.

Havertz rarely did anything noteworthy against the Peacocks on Sunday, failing to register a single shot on target during the game. His second-half performance was better in terms of getting involved in the build-up play, but he didn’t bring the much-needed goal threat to the table.

I don’t think there is a single Premier League player whose reputation has been more influenced by a game than Kai Havertz. Take away the Champions League final, was he really much better than Werner/Pulisic/Ziyech? I’m not so sure.

Against Leeds, Havertz failed to attempt a single shot, failed in both dribble attempts, lost eight duels on the ground and three duels in the air, and gave up possession 13 times. He also committed three fouls and was caught offside several times.


#3 Rahim Sterling

Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Leeds United v Chelsea FC – Premier League

Former Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling has been impressive in pre-season games for Chelsea but has yet to show the same level of confidence in competitive matches. On Sunday, the Englishman had the opportunity to open the scoring in the first minute, but ended up dragging his shot away. Aside from that off-target attempt, Sterling didn’t land a single shot on Sunday.

Raheem Sterling explains why he joined Chelsea: “It was their intention, how they approached me. I wasn’t listening to promises, I was seeing action and I think that’s one of the factors that made me really considering the football club was a possibility I wouldn’t pass up.” https://t.co/5UzV6BX3op

Sterling also failed in three of his four dribbling attempts, lost four of five on the ground and gave up possession nine times. He was also caught offside twice and booked for a cynical foul on Roca in the 36th minute, giving Leeds a free kick in a dangerous area. Harrison fired the free-kick and found Rodrigo in the box, who headed in Leeds’ second goal from close range.


#2 Edouard Mendy

Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Leeds United v Chelsea FC – Premier League

Widely hailed as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Edouard Mendy endured an unusually nervous afternoon on Sunday. He failed to gain control of his area, misplaced three long balls (total of eight attempts), lost a duel on the ground and made an error which led to the opener for Leeds United in first half.

For some reason, Mendy held the ball too long against Aaronson. He then tried to tackle him, but the midfielder was quick to snatch the ball from his toes and send it home from close range. There was little Mendy could do to save the other two goals but his first-half error weighed heavily on the Londoners’ confidence.


#1 Kalidou Koulibaly

Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Leeds United v Chelsea FC – Premier League

Former Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly was one of the Blues’ best performers in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday (August 14), scoring the game’s opening goal. Against Leeds he looked like a shadow of his former self, making stupid fouls and questioning every move.

Just nine minutes into the game, the Senegalese openly stripped Aaronson’s shirt after being beaten by the midfielder. The referee rightly showed him a yellow card.

In the 69th minute, he found himself out of sync with the rest of Chelsea’s back line as he played Daniel James alongside him. The Welshman found Rodrigo inside the box, who mishandled him, allowing Harrison to intercept and push the ball home.

From bad to worse, to terrible. Koulibaly ends a horrible day at Elland road with a second cynical yellow 😬#LEECHE https://t.co/BvdkeGSXg4

15 minutes later, Koulibaly deliberately brought Joe Gelhardt down after the youngster beat him, prompting the referee to call a second yellow.

Koulibaly also lost three ground duels, lost eight long balls and 16 assists, and gave up possession 16 times against Leeds United.


Edited by Sushan Chakraborty




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