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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan

Chelsea win, fans go home happy, where’s the crisis?

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 1 v Leeds United 0


Head coach Graham Potter will sleep easy tonight as his charges beat relegation-haunted Leeds United 1-0 at the Bridge thanks to a sound half header from Wesley Forfana.

Chelsea started brilliantly, pushing Leeds back to their penalty area. Early crosses by Joao Felix and from the other side Raheem Sterling added the pressure on the visitors, but, to their credit they weathered the storm.

But Blues could not find the back of the net. A classic example fell on 12 minutes. A regulation corner by Ben Chilwell was met, full on the head by right-back Wesley Forfana, but he smashed the ball high and wide of Ilan Meslier’s goal.

Another glorious effort fell to Kai Havertz on 16 minutes. Chelsea produced the turnover just outside their penalty area, Sterling picked up the ball and raced forward. He produced an inch-perfect ball to the German, who zipped into the Leeds area. His right foot shot however was neither strong enough not directed accurately enough and Meslier had the relatively easy task of blocking it.

While poor finishing is inexcusable you have to have a degree of sympathy for Feliz’s shot on 22 minutes which smacked off the crossbar with Meslier well beaten.

It was a good attack by Chelsea, who once again pounced on the turnover and countered with pace.

A deflected Brendan Russell-Aaronson effort on 30 minutes was the visitors first effort on goal. The ball looped gleefully into Kepa’s arms.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

But the Blues missed another golden chance a minute into the half.

A sliced, close-range low volley by Sterling from a Ruben Loftus-Cheek byline cutback inched over Meslier’s crossbar.

You can say that you were there when Chelsea scored.

Like the first half from a Chilwell corner, Forfana outjumped the rest, but this time he was able to direct his header just under Meslier’s goal to score much to the delight of the majority of the 39,905 crowd at the Bridge.

Leeds should have levelled on 60 minutes when a Luke Aying cross was met by Georginio Rutter, but he failed to connect properly with his close-range effort and the ball skipped to Kepa.

Underfire Potter opted to bring on Conor Gallagher and Denis Zakaria on 67 minutes. Off went Felix and Sterling.

A Jack Harrison free-kick was pounced on by Alying but his header was just wide of Kepa’s right post.

It wasn’t long before Carney Chuckwuemeka entered the fray - Mateo Kovacic left the pitch.

The defensive set-up by Potter gave Leeds a sense of optimism that they would have more of the ball and a greater chance of a equaliser.

Next up for Potter and two more subs, on came Chukwunonso Maduke and Trevoh Chalobah of went Enzo and Loftus-Cheek.

The high-risk strategy of sitting back and absorbing the play and crucially the minutes reaped dividends although the hearts were in the mouths of Chelsea fans when Meslier had a header deep into added time, in fact the last action of the game. Kepa once again snaffled the ball to safety and held the ball as tightly as Chelsea held the three points.

They stay in 10th place in the League though.

Teams: Chelsea, Kepa, W Forfana, Koulibaly, Badiashile, Chilwell, Loftus-Cheek, Enzo, Felix, Kovacic, Sterling, Havertz

Subs: Aubameyang, Bettinelli, Chalobah, Mudryk, Zakaria, Ziyech, Gallagher, Chukwuemeka, Madueke

Leeds Utd, Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Wobr, Firpo, Adams, McKennie, Summerville, Aaronson, Harrison, Rutter

Subs: Roca, Gyabi, Struijk, Robles, Kristensen, Gnonto, Greenwood, Fernandez, Gray

Referee: Michael Oliver.


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