Leeds United have been a sensation in one of the most extraordinary Premier League season we have ever witnessed. The style of football displayed by Marcelo Bielsa’s side has left football faithful in awe of Leeds United, and turned them into one of the most enjoyable team to watch. But can Chelsea break their high press? All is discussed below.

As the picture above depicts, you can see the pressure Leeds United players put on the opposition keeper forcing him to clear it long where Leeds can regain possession again. We can observe Patrick Bamford pressing Jordan Pickford while Ezgjan Alioski presses Tom Davies which forces Pickford to kick the ball long.

But the picture above doesn’t always end in their favour as pictures below depict:

Now we can observe the downsides of the high pressing structure by Leeds United and why they always offer the opposition an opportunity to strike a goal on the counter. As you can see in the picture above, most of the Leeds players are in the Everton box while others are tightly pressing the Everton team but one long ball by Pickford which was well slotted into the path of James Rodriguez by Dominic Calvert Lewin allowed Everton to spring an counter creating a 2 on 2 situation which could have resulted in a goal if Everton had the finishing boots on the day.

Leeds have not shown these problems just against Everton but these were easy to witness when they were battered by Leicester City 1-4 at Elland Road as shown in the picture below.

Again most of the Leeds players are pressing the opposition in their box but one good pass can expose their defensive problems and quick forwards on the counter can really pounce on their weaknesses.

Now let’s discuss what Chelsea can do to avoid Leeds High Pressing style?

  1. Chelsea’s defense has always been vulnerable to make mistakes while being pressed and the same has been shown on countless situations either by Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christensen who is behind Zouma in the pecking order. Only Thiago Silva looks comfortable in the Chelsea defense while playing from the back. Bielsa’s side will heavily pressurize Zouma through Alioski and Harrison and the French defender needs to keep his composure for Chelsea to put a good defensive display against this flamboyant side.
  2. As you had observed in the previous pictures above, high press by Leeds United’s fullbacks sometimes expose their defense to ferocious counter-attacking situations and Chelsea need to capitalize on the same to defeat Leeds United this Saturday. This is a match where Timo Werner will be the key towards the accomplishment of three crucial points for Chelsea against Leeds this game week. Timo Werner is a very quick and intelligent striker and his movement behind the Leeds high press could allow Chelsea to really create many good goals scoring opportunities.
  3. Lastly and the most important, Chelsea need to have someone who can hold the ball up top to allow Chelsea to deny Leeds regaining the possession and also expose their high press with instant counter attacks. The partnership between Dominic Calvert Lewin and James Rodriguez as depicted in the above pictures shows the Leeds weakness Chelsea can exploit on the counter. Edouard Mendy will be forced to kick long but if there is someone to hold the ball up and allow Werner to make clever runs behind the back of Leeds defenders, Chelsea could really create a handful of opportunities against Leeds United and therefore Oliver Giroud is a must for this encounter due to Tammy Abraham’s poor aerial ability (currently). His fantastic performance against Sevilla also warrants this.

So I believe that lining up as given below might allow Chelsea to break Leeds United:

Mendy, James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell, Kante, Mount, Kovacic, Ziyech, Werner, Giroud.

That brings us to the end of the article. Hope the insight was helpful, and we can get the three points in front of the fans who will be returning to the Bridge for the first time in months. Up the Chels!

Written by- Shrey (@Shrey765)

Cover photo- Thestar