Chelsea hammered 3-0 by rampant Leeds at Elland Road
By Paul Lagan at Elland Road
Leeds United 3 v Chelsea 0
Chelsea were destroyed 3-0 by Leeds United at Elland Road this afternoon.
While much of the blames falls squarely at the simple individual errors and collective narcolepsy that seemed to affect the squad, Leeds had the better game plan - do to Chelsea what Chelsea did to Spurs last week in the 2-2 Battle of the Bridge 2.
Run at them, close them down, give simple, but needed fouls away to break up play.
Be annoying. Once that was established, take full advantge.
Mendy gave Leeds the lead. Poor defending gave Leeds their second. And capitulation secured the third for the home side.
The substitutions made no difference To the performance or result.
Raheem Sterling should have scored within a minute, latching onto a through ball by Conor Gallagher.
The ex-Manchester City forward, cut inside from the left, passed two players, before letting fly with a curling right-footer.
However, the ball was inches wide of Illan Meslier’s left post.
Gallagher was needlessly disposed and Chelsea were lucky that Mendy was on hand to stop Jack Harrison’s effort.
The nervy start by the Blues continued as Kalidou Koulibaly was yellow carded by referee Stuart Attwell on nine minutes for shirt-pulling.
Sterling did put the ball in the net on 15 minutes. In an almost carbon copy of his first minute effort.
But he was a tad offside and the goal was rightly disallowed.
Rodrigo took advantage of yet another turnover on the visitors, but he could only flash a left-footer past Mendy and the post on 21 minutes.
The end to end nature of the game saw an otherwise ineffectual Mason Mount pick up the ball 25 yards out, shoot a low, left-footer, on target, which saw Meslier tip round his post for a corner.
Chelsea’s lack of ability to hold the ball up front resulted in simple turnovers and leading to swift counter attacked.
But when they tried to play the ball out from the back, they looked ponderous. When Mendy is given a simple back pass, all he had to do his hack the ball up field and away from danger.
But no, on 34 minutes, he received the ball, tried to flick the ball away from in-running Brendan Aaronson, who couldn't quite believe his luck when Mendy completely made a mess of controlling the ball and the Leeds man walked the ball into the back of the net.
The Blues completely lost the plot three minutes later and the game, and the points.
From a simple free kick on the left from Jack Harrison, Reece James failed to get anywhere near enough to Rodrigo who glanced the ball past a despairing dive from Mendy.
There were no changes by the Blues or Leeds at half-time.
The Blues, like the first half started well, this time it was Marc Cucurella, who had the first shot - but like Sterling’s it was wayward.
Mount was next up after excellent work by Sterling. But Mount’s effort was blocked.
Chelsea head coach gave his misfiring side a chance to right the first-half wrongs, but it wasn’t sufficient to reduce the deficit.
So, on 64 minutes, on came Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, off came unsurprising, Gallagher and Jorginho.
A James pile driver, almost foxed Meslier, but he tipped the fine effort around the post.
Chelsea sleep-walked into conceding a third goal on 70 minutes. Another turnover on the left saw Leeds attack the byline without so much of a Chelsea player in sight. A simple cross was knocked down and Harrison was on the spot to half-volley home an unchallenged left footer from the six-yard box.
Left back Ben Chilwell entered the fray at the expense of Mount on 78 minutes.
To compound a disastrous day for Chelsea, Koulibaly, already with a yellow, card, deliberately pulled back Joe Gelhardt, and was justifiably brandished with another and a red with six minutes left on the clock.
The Chelsea fans did their best during the 90 minutes. The same could not be said of a significant proportion of the players on the pitch.
Teams: Chelsea, Mendy, James, Silva, Koulibaly, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Gallagher, Cucurella, Mount, Havertz, Sterling
Subs, Kepa, Ampadu, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Chilwell, Chuckwuemeka, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic, Ziyech
Leeds Meslier, Kristensen, Struijk, Koch, Llorente, Adams, Aaronson, Harrison, James, Rodrigo
Subs, Klaesson, Hjelde, Drameh, Klich, Forshaw, Greenwood, Summerville, Sinisterra, Gelhardt
Referee: Stuart Attwell