Michael Owen predicts Leeds v Chelsea clash
Michael Owen is backing Thomas Tuchel to emerge triumphant from his battle of minds with Marcelo Bielsa in Leeds United v Chelsea.
After somehow coming away from Monday night’s meeting with West Ham without a goal or point the Whites will still be smarting ahead of Saturday’s Elland Road clash.
That 2-0 defeat means Leeds have now lost four of their last five fixtures and they need to put a stop to the rot if they have any hopes of securing a top-10 finish.
But they will bump into a Chelsea side unbeaten in Tuchel’s first 11 games in charge since replacing Frank Lampard and Owen has predicted a 2-1 away win to inflict more pain for Bielsa and co in his weekly BetVictor column.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s Bielsa v Tuchel in what should be a fantastic tactical battle between two top-quality managers.
“Most of Leeds’ good form was before the turn of the year. Since then, they’ve been very inconsistent.
“So, it’s fair to say that the hosts need a result, however, Chelsea have been a totally different animal since Tuchel’s arrival. With that in mind, I think the Blues’ will have too much for the home side.”
Stamford Bridge pain
Leeds made a whirlwind start in the reverse fixture between the sides earlier this season but were ultimately overpowered.
Patrick Bamford set the Whites off to the perfect start when he bagged a fourth minute opener but it was all downhill from there as just five minutes later Robin Koch was forced off the pitch through injury and he has not been seen since that clash on December 5.
Olivier Giroud equalised just before the half-hour mark and while we dominated possession in the second half the West Londoners won the game 3-1 after goals from Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic.
The bad news is that after a troubled spell Chelsea are now rejuvenated and pose a formidable threat.
Plotting a way past their formidable rearguard will be the toughest task – under Tuchel they have conceded just twice in 11 games, keeping nine clean sheets.
Meanwhile we have failed to find the net in three of our last four games and Monday’s defeat at the London Stadium really laid bare our problems in front of goal.
That has to change if we have any chance of emerging with a positive result.
The return of Rodrigo might just help in that regard.
In other Leeds United news, Daniel Farke aims Bielsa jibe amid fume at award snub.