It was a sombre day at the office for the Blues, as strikes from United States forward Brenden Aaronson, Rodrigo and Jack Harrison put Thomas Tuchel’s men to the sword in what proved to be a thoroughly deserved victory for Jesse Marsch’s Leeds side.
The result leaves Chelsea in the bottom half of the table with just one win from three games and plenty of questions to be answered ahead of their return to Stamford Bridge to host Leicester City next weekend.
For spells of this encounter, especially in the first half-hour, we saw Chelsea playing Leeds at their own game with sustained periods of pressure and a really high press, which many will wonder why they couldn’t maintain. They gradually turned it into their own kind of fixture by slowing down the tempo and stringing together some good passages of play on the deck that we should’ve seen more of.
The visitors panicked under direct pressure from beginning to end, and you have to wonder whether they were in the right frame of mind to match the intensity on display from the hosts. Anytime the ball was in the air they struggled, and set pieces were a notable problem with Leeds finding it far too easy to overrun them in the middle of the park.
Manager rating (out of 10; 10 = best)
5 — Thomas Tuchel went from being as animated as ever to being as quiet as a mouse following last week’s antics. The attacking formation he started with showed promise as well as his starting XI selections, but it seems like the German needs to start drilling some more physicality in training based on this performance. In addition, you could argue he should have made his changes much sooner.
Player ratings (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Edouard Mendy, 3 — Looked promising and alert in the early stages, but in the end, his main contribution here was a horrendous 33rd-minute error that handed Leeds the opening goal.
DF Kalidou Koulibaly, 3 — Was as physical as anyone on the pitch at first, but two needless yellow cards saw him get his marching orders to add to his new club’s embarrassment.
DF Thiago Silva, 4 — While he did tidy things up in the opening quarter of an hour, the veteran struggled with Leeds’ pace, and the intensity got the better of him.
DF Reece James, 4 — The England international had a day to forget, with his positional play a helping hand in two Leeds goals.
DF Marc Cucurella, 5 — A bright start quickly faded away after spurning two good chances and failing to cover his man for the third Leeds goal.
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 6 — Was one of the highlights for Chelsea once they’d gone behind, with some nice footwork and determination to help out defensively.
MF Jorginho, 4 — Went missing as things got tough, with none of the control or elegance in midfield we have come to expect from the Italy international.
MF Conor Gallagher, 4 — An initially strong start that featured a determined outing from the youngster soon fizzled away through misplaced passes and a nervy disposition.
AMF Mason Mount, 5 — Did better when he was allowed space and wasn’t being hounded, but at the end of the day, he couldn’t handle being consistently pressured.
AMF Kai Havertz, 5 — Simply wasn’t active or urgent enough, which was a shame, as he looked sharp whenever he had a good turn of pace or link-up.
FW Raheem Sterling, 5 — Fired wide early on, picked up a yellow card that led to the second goal and just couldn’t carve out any opportunities.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, N/A — Steadied the ship ever so slightly in the wake of Koulibaly being sent off.
DF Ben Chilwell, N/A — Didn’t have much time to make a steady impact on the game and only really served as a warm body to prevent any further damage.
AMF Hakim Ziyech, 6 — Had a few nice touches and looked lively to start his cameo but ultimately, didn’t do enough to change the outcome.
AMF Christian Pulisic, 5 — Looked like a fish out of water at times as questions continue to be raised regarding his immediate future.