Chelsea takes on Leeds United on Saturday afternoon at Elland Road, and I fully expect some more rotation as the second leg versus Atletico Madrid inches closer. This match has all the potential to be a great game for the neutrals, like many other games that Leeds has been involved in this season. The Blues will be looking to repeat the result that they had last time against Leeds, but this time, accompanied with a clean sheet. The opposition poses a threat on the counter attack and will work hard for 90 minutes, which is the bare minimum that Marcelo Bielsa asks from his players.
Chelsea must be patient and wait for opportunities to become available. Expect the usual 3-4-2-1 to be deployed, but with more rotation and chances for players who don’t play as much as Chelsea look to keep the momentum going. Here is the predicted XI for Saturday’s match:
Edouard Mendy (No.16) Goalkeeper, Senegal
The No. 1 retains his spot in the team as expected and will look to add another clean sheet toward his ever-growing collection. But it won’t be easy as I expect Leeds will pose more of a threat then Everton did on Monday. The likes of Raphinha and the former blue Patrick Bamford have done very well for Leeds this season, so Mendy must not let what happened last game versus Leeds happen again. Last time, Bamford’s 4′ strike caught the Blues by surprise, but that was under another manager and this is now with a defense who doesn’t look like conceding. Regardless of that, Mendy must be ready if another situation like that arises again.
Cesar Azplilcueta (No. 28) Centerback, Spain
I thought that the captain would receive a break for this game with the return of Thiago Silva but more bad news came Friday morning with Tuchel confirming Silva suffered a setback in training. So that just put my predicted eleven in disarray nonetheless Azpilicueta will have to step in and that’s far from a problem. Ever since he has returned to the side the defense have been close to flawless and it shows how your captain being on the field changes the dynamic of the game. I am sure Azpilicueta will display another great performance on Saturday.
Andreas Christensen (No. 4) Centerback, Denmark
The news that Thiago Silva remains out will continue to give Andreas Christensen the chance. He has been amazing for the past couple of games and that’s why retains his spot in the starting XI. He has really took it upon himself prove to the manager that he should be one of three in the defense every game. With Silva returning soon that position may be under threat so Christensen must continue to impress, especially against Leeds. Like I mentioned already, Bielsa’s side is dangerous, so it’s important that Christensen and the two beside be aware of that.
Antonio Rudiger (No. 2) Centerback, Germany
The German returns to the side after having a rest against Everton and will be thrusted into a game where he might have is work cut out for him. The good thing is that no matter who is playing in the back three, they will have leadership beside them to give them the confidence to play at their full potential. Rudiger is probably the least favorite centerback amongst the Blues fans for several reasons that may or may not be true, but despite that, he puts his body on the line and defends for 90 minutes. Nobody can’t fault him for that.