Chelsea also have injury issues ahead of clash v Leeds United
By George Overhill
Leeds United will be considering positives and negatives from Chelsea’s Champions League draw with Zenit St Petersburg last night ahead of Saturday’s meeting between the injury-hit sides.
Both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner were back on the scoresheet in Russia which may worry Marcelo Bielsa with captain Liam Cooper and England star Kalvin Phillips both suffering injuries against Brentford.
However, Chelsea were again unable to secure a win thanks to Magomed Ozdoev’s injury-time equaliser making it 3-3 and the London side’s own injuries offer significant hope for Leeds’ chances on Saturday.
“You have to play through the pain – physical pain – and you have to raise your level of concentration and you have to overcome adversity,” said Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel last night via BBC Sport.
“If you change your behaviour because of the score, you allow the possibility to get punished. It’s as easy as the basics. The basics need to be pushed onto a higher level while we are in the lead,” added the German.
This was after his side had thrown away another lead following 3-2 defeat at West Ham last week.
Depleted Chelsea squad
With injuries across the midfield and defence, Chelsea had looked to rest starters such as Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Edouard Mendy.
Mateo Kovacic contracting Covid-19, on top of N’Golo Kante’s knee injury and a bad back for Jorginho, may mitigate the impact of the potential loss of Phillips.
Ben Chilwell’s long-term absence in defence and concerns around the fitness of Trevoh Chalobah should also give Leeds hope since Chelsea have now conceded six times in their past two matches.
With the Daily Mail reporting that striker Patrick Bamford may be missing due to injury again after his goal-scoring return against Brentford, any weaknesses at the back for Chelsea will be a plus for Leeds.
Bielsa may be lamenting fitness issues in his own squad but the issues currently facing his opponents on Saturday suggest this is a good time to face them.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites could tempt a club to sell this Yorkshire-born defender in January.