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Preview: Leeds United vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Leeds United and Chelsea, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Chelsea will be looking to make it three Premier League victories in a row when they travel to Elland Road on Saturday afternoon to face Leeds United.

The Blues, who beat Everton 2-0 on Monday evening, are currently fourth in the table, two points clear of fifth-placed West Ham United, while Leeds occupy 11th spot in England's top flight.


Match preview

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa pictured on February 27, 2021© Reuters

Leeds have largely impressed in their first season back at this level of football, picking up 35 points from 27 matches to occupy 11th position in the table, nine points clear of the relegation zone.

The Whites have won 11 Premier League games this term, which is the same as Arsenal and just one fewer than the champions Liverpool, but they have suffered 14 losses, which is more than 18th-placed Fulham.

Marcelo Bielsa's side are also on a disappointing run of form, having lost four of their last five in England's top flight, including their last two against Aston Villa and West Ham without scoring.

Leeds do not have any relegation fears as they sit nine points clear of the bottom three, while they are only three points behind 10th-placed Arsenal and will still be eyeing a top-half finish.

The former Championship club have won five, drawn two and lost six of their 13 home league games this term, which is an indication of their inconsistency, but they did hold Chelsea to a 1-1 draw when the two teams last locked horns in the Premier League at Elland Road in December 2003.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel pictured on March 4, 2021© Reuters

Chelsea, meanwhile, will enter Saturday's contest off the back of a comfortable 2-0 win over Everton on Monday; an own goal from Ben Godfrey had sent the Blues ahead in the 31st minute of the contest before Jorginho doubled the advantage from the penalty spot in the second period.

The capital giants are still unbeaten under the leadership of Thomas Tuchel, with the former Paris Saint-Germain manager winning eight and drawing three of his 11 matches at the helm.

The Blues have won their last two in the Premier League against Liverpool and Everton, and a total of 50 points from 28 matches has left them in fourth position in the table, just three points behind third-placed Leicester City but only two points clear of fifth-placed West Ham, who have a game in hand.

Chelsea are very much locked in a top-four battle, but they will also have their eyes elsewhere, facing Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League clash next week before taking on Sheffield United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on March 21.

Tuchel's team have only won half of their 14 away matches in the Premier League this season, meanwhile, and have not been victorious at Elland Road in England's top flight since April 2000.

Leeds United Premier League form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Chelsea Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

Chelsea form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W


Team News

Chelsea's Kai Havertz and Cesar Azpilicueta pictured against Everton in March 2021© Reuters

Leeds will again be without the services of Adam Forshaw on Saturday, while Bielsa revealed during Thursday's press conference that Pablo Hernandez and Pascal Struijk are also absent.

Jamie Shackleton is available, though, while Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo Moreno are both fit, having come through the clash with West Ham following recent injuries.

Robin Koch has also recovered from a knee problem, but the defender will not feature in this match, with a return for the Under-23s on Monday evening more likely.

Patrick Bamford and Raphinha will both feature in the final third of the field, and there are also likely to be starts for Jack Harrison and Rodrigo, with Tyler Roberts and Helder Costa potentially dropping out.

As for Chelsea, Tammy Abraham remains unavailable due to an ankle problem, while Tuchel revealed during Friday's press conference that Thiago Silva has suffered a setback in his recovery from a thigh problem and will also not be available for selection here.

There are expected to be changes from the side that started against Everton, with Mason Mount, N'Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell and Antonio Rudiger likely to return, but Andreas Christensen will retain his position at the heart of the defence, having been in strong form in recent weeks.

Kai Havertz, meanwhile, impressed against the Toffees in a centre-forward position, and the Germany international could retain his spot in the starting XI on Saturday afternoon.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Dallas; Harrison, Klich, Phillips, Rodrigo, Raphinha; Bamford

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Werner, Havertz, Mount


SM words green background

We say: Leeds United 1-2 Chelsea

Leeds are more than capable of making it a tough afternoon for Chelsea despite Bielsa's side struggling for results in recent weeks. The Whites have enough attacking talent to find the back of the net, but we are finding it difficult to look past a Chelsea side battling to remain inside the top four.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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How you voted: Leeds vs Chelsea

Leeds United
10.5%
Draw
12.9%
Chelsea
76.6%
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Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips pictured on January 10, 2021
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