Chelsea 3 -2 Leeds United: Blues positives and negatives

FA Cup offers Blues another lifeline to redeem season as Gallagher strikes late at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea v Leeds United - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Chelsea v Leeds United - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Chelsea overcame Championship side Leeds United at Stamford Bridge to reach the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. The in-form Leeds arrived at Stamford Bridge after demolishing Championship leaders Leicester City last Friday at Elland Road. Chelsea, on the other hand, entered the encounter fatigued following their demoralizing defeat in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

After the dramatic events at Wembley in extra time, Chelsea started the FA cup game in the worst possible way by conceding a goal to Leeds inside the first 10 minutes due to a mix-up at the back. However, the team responded well through Nikolas Jackson and Mykhailo Mudryk, going into halftime with a 2-1 lead.

As the game seemed to be heading towards a stalemate, the ever-hardworking Conor Gallagher sealed the victory for Chelsea in the closing stages.

Here at the Pride of London, we analyse the positives and negatives of this morale-boosting victory against old foes.

Blues Positives

Gallagher delivers

Gallagher was one of the players criticized for Chelsea's final defeat against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley last Sunday. In this encounter, he started on the bench, which isn’t surprising given his consistent role as the player initiating the press and working tirelessly for the team. With the game level at 2-2, the energetic England international was substituted and delivered the decisive blow in the 90th minute.

Gallagher is arguably Chelsea's second-best player this season after Cole Palmer. He is showing promising signs of becoming a future legend for the Blues.

FA Cup redemption

The Blues, unfairly labelled 'bottle jobs' by former Manchester United player Gary Neville, partly redeemed themselves in the FA Cup match. With a victory against the tier-2 side, the opportunity to secure a trophy in an otherwise underwhelming season remains alive. Mauricio Pochettino expressed satisfaction with his team's performance, stating, "We needed this result. It wasn't a great performance. [Leeds United is] a team full of confidence, very, very strong team doing fantastic in the Championship. The character we showed after [the early goal] is something to learn for the team.

"In the end I'm so happy. It's always tough when you lose a final in extra-time and 72 hours or less to recover was difficult, but today the effort was massive again and I have to say thank you to the players."

Conor Gallagher celebrates with teammates
Chelsea v Leeds United - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

Silverware dreams still alive

With the Blues currently sitting in 11th place in the league, having suffered defeat in the Carabao Cup final, and no European appearances, the FA Cup remains Chelsea's sole chance of landing silverware this season. Drawn against another Championship side, Leicester City, in the quarterfinals, Chelsea is just one game away from another Wembley appearance. Having avoided facing top-tier opponents like Liverpool and the Manchester clubs, Chelsea is the overwhelming favourite to progress from this encounter and secure another semifinal spot at Wembley.

Blues Negatives

Disaster at the back

The Blues backline connived to gift Leeds United the lead at Stamford Bridge after a mix between Axel Disasi and Moises Caicedo. Similarly, in the Carabao Cup final, Chelsea conceded possession too easily in their own half, although Liverpool failed to capitalize on these opportunities. Axel Disasi, for instance, was guilty of giving away possession cheaply at the back in the cup final. These defensive errors must be rectified if Chelsea is to improve their chances of winning matches.

Clean Sheet hard to come by

Chelsea's difficulties in front of goal this season are well-documented, with just 41 goals scored in 25 Premier League matches. However, what is even more concerning is the rate at which the Blues are conceding goals. With only five clean sheets kept, Chelsea has conceded 41 goals in 25 league matches this season, averaging 1.64 goals conceded per game. This figure is nearly triple the goals conceded over the entire 2004/2005 season under José Mourinho.