An extremely rare goalless draw at Elland Road between Leeds United and Chelsea played out on Saturday morning. It was a game that promised goals, but delivered none. To the disappointment of most Chelsea fans, the points were shared. However, I for one was not disappointed by the result. Yes, dropping points never feels good, but the draw was a fair result. Chelsea could have—and probably should have—won the game after forcing 21-year-old Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier into making some smart saves, and even comically hitting the woodwork in the first half. However, had Edouard Mendy not made two world class saves, the Blues could have very easily been handed their first defeat under new manager Thomas Tuchel.
When this result is put into context, it is even less disappointing. Chelsea is on a 12-game unbeaten run ever since Tuchel took over, the joint longest of any manager at the start of their tenure. Additionally, Chelsea has faced Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and Leeds in the span of just 19 days. It is remarkable that the Blues have managed to stay unbeaten during that run of fixtures, only dropping points against the Red Devils before yesterday. Such an achievement should not be overlooked by fans, especially considering our form in January.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how each player performed on the day:
Edouard Mendy (Goalkeeper): 9/10
Edouard Mendy was Chelsea’s best performer on Saturday. I still maintain that he has been Chelsea’s most important summer signing, single-handedly improving their defensive record this season. His two outstanding saves kept the Blues in the competition and meant that he now had more clean sheets for Chelsea (19) than actual goals conceded (18). Not a bad start for the Senegalese goalkeeper.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Centreback): 7/10
Another solid display at the back from club captain, Cesar Azpilicueta. It is crazy to think that even in this congested period of fixtures he has started every Premier League game under Tuchel. At 31, his fitness and consistency is such a perfect example for the youngsters in the squad. In a high-energy game, Azpi did not look out of place at all.
Andreas Christensen (Centreback): 7.5/10
Does it matter how long Thiago Silva stays injured when Andreas Christensen is in such fine form? Another assured display from the Dane, who had the highest passing accuracy on the pitch (93 percent). His calmness on the ball was key to Chelsea playing out from the back against a high pressing Leeds team. At times when the press was too intense, he was not afraid to step out from the back, completing both of his attempted dribbles
Antonio Rudiger (Centreback): 8/10
Antonio Rudiger’s resurgence under Tuchel has been very impressive. He returned to the starting line-up after being rested against Everton and showed exactly why he is being played ahead of the monstrous French defender. He was solid throughout the game, making six clearances and three tackles and deserves massive credit for his headed clearance which prevented Leeds from getting the opening goal in the first half.