Having been knocked off their perch both domestically and continentally in recent weeks, Chelsea’s stellar start to the campaign has since plateaued with just one win from their last four games in all competitions, and even then Watford gave them a good run for their money.
Before throwing away the lead twice in a 3-3 thriller with Zenit St Petersburg – which saw them forced to settle for second in Champions League Group H – Chelsea conceded another trio of goals in the capital as West Ham United ran out 3-2 winners in a pulsating London derby.
Manchester City and Liverpool both took advantage of the Blues’ slip-ups to usurp them in the table, with Chelsea now two points behind the table-topping Citizens and one behind Liverpool as they occupy third spot in the rankings.
The Zenit thriller marked the fifth game in six that Chelsea have managed to net at least two goals, but Tuchel pulled no punches at the final whistle, seemingly angered by his side’s ‘change in behaviour’ when holding onto a slender lead.
Chelsea have also been held to draws by Burnley and Manchester United in their most recent Premier League home games, but not since the days of Guus Hiddink have they played out three consecutive top-flight stalemates on their own turf.
Leeds may not be losing as many games in the Premier League now, but their affinity for stalemates continues to bedevil them, and they had to rely on the last-minute heroics of Patrick Bamford to rescue a point against Brentford at Elland Road.
After Shandon Baptiste and Sergi Canos had cancelled out Tyler Roberts‘s opener, Bamford – making his first top-flight appearance in nearly three months due to a serious ankle injury – was in the right place at the right time to prod home and send the home crowd into delirium.
That point has not done much good for Leeds’ prospects of pulling themselves away from danger, though, as the Whites occupy 15th place in the table on 16 points – six clear of Burnley having played a game more than the 18th-placed outfit.
Bielsa’s side have now lost just one of their last seven Premier League matches – although that did come away to a London club in Tottenham Hotspur – and not since 1980 have Leeds managed to get one over the side boasting the tag of European champions.
Leeds did manage to hold Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Elland Road last season, but they lost 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in December 2020 and have only won one of their last 10 meetings with the Blues, which came back in the 2002-03 Premier League season.
Tyler Roberts – who is one booking away from a ban alongside Raphinha – can expect to hold his place up top with Bamford sidelined, while Phillips’s spot in midfield will most likely be filled by Mateusz Klich.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Saul, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Lukaku
Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Dallas, Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Firpo; Raphinha, Klich, Forshaw, James; Roberts