Leeds United sprung one of the surprises of the Premier League (PL) season so far, cruising to a 3-0 victory over Chelsea to ensure their remarkable record of having never lost consecutive home H2Hs against the Blues continues.
A frantic start at Elland Road was perhaps to be expected after Leeds’ impressive start to the season, but despite plenty of Leeds huff and puff, they created little in the final third. Chelsea reminded the hosts they were in a game inside 15 minutes, when Raheem Sterling latched onto Marc Cucurella’s measured pass before planting the ball into the bottom corner, only for the lineman’s flag to cut short his celebrations. Leeds continued to probe for an opener and found one in comical circumstances, when a laboured Édouard Mendy had his pocket picked on his own goal line by Brenden Aaronson, who had the simplest of tasks to walk the ball into the net.
The half undoubtedly belonged to Leeds, and Jesse Marsch’s side doubled their advantage just moments later when Rodrigo Moreno flicked home Jack Harrison’s free-kick to become only the second Leeds player in history to score in their opening three games of a PL season. Thomas Tuchel will undoubtedly have torn the strips off the away dressing room walls at Elland Road, and Chelsea stepped out for the second half with a renewed optimism. Reece James forced Illan Meslier into action with a fierce drive from the edge of the area, before Kalidou Koulibaly headed the resulting corner into the arms of the French stopper.
Any jitters in the Leeds ranks were laid to rest 20 minutes from time, when Dan James cross was met by Rodrigo, who inadvertently put the ball on a plate for Harrison to prod home his first goal of the season. Having squandered a two goal at Southampton last week, the importance of that third goal can’t be understated from a Leeds point of view. It gave them a platform to control the game and also withdraw some of their big-hitters with ten minutes to play ahead of a midweek Carabao Cup Yorkshire Derby against Barnsley. As for Chelsea, it was a bad day at the office, compounded by the sending off of Koulibaly six minutes from time.