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Chelsea Lost Ground In The Top Four Race After Goalless Draw With Leeds United

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Chelsea were held to a draw by Leeds in what was their first visit to Elland Road for 18 years.

That day the two sides drew 1-1 and it was the same outcome with a different result.

It was by no means a classic in Yorkshire as the Blues lost ground in the race for the top four.

Leeds had the ball in the net early on, but Tyler Roberts’ strike was ruled out for offside before the Welshman hit the bar.

Kai Havertz had Chelsea’s best chance in the second-half when he was allowed time and room to turn.

Former Rennes team-mates Edouard Mendy and Raphinha were on opposite sides and the goalkeeper produced a big save to deny the Brazilian. in what was perhaps the chance of the match.

Leeds are enjoying the freedom that comes with knowing their top flight status next season is all but assured.

Chelsea meanwhile know that every point is crucial at this point of the season, but they didn’t necessarily play like it.

As we enter the final quarter of the year the Blues are one of several teams eyeing a place in the top four.

An upturn in form under Tuchel means they are more than in the mix, but this will be classed as two points dropped rather than one gained.

After beating European rivals Liverpool and Everton in successive games this was a chance to hammer home their advantage.

Instead Leeds, who are always something of a banana skin for top teams, managed to hold them.

Marcelo Bielsa and Thomas Tuchel haven’t crossed paths before, but they are certainly cut from the same cloth.

Their intense playing styles that seek to dominate possession and press hard when they lose the ball are immensely similar.

It perhaps wasn’t a surprise then that this was something of a cagey affair.

It was goalless at half-time with chances very much at a premium and although both teams did begin to force this more so in the second 45 they did cancel each other out.

Maybe it was a tactical decision which was meant to nullify the unique challenge posed by Leeds.

Nevertheless, Tuchel opting to play at Elland Road without a forward could be a damning indictment of Chelsea options.

Timo Werner faced the wrath of his manager from the touchline on Monday night while doubts remain over Tammy Abraham.

The Englishman has a knock but has been left out of several matchday squads in recent weeks.

Werner was joined on the bench by Olivier Giroud with Kai Havertz preferred in a central role as a false nine.

The hosts enjoyed their usual moments in possession and looked threatening at times, but they were only able to muster one shot on target in the first-half.

That is the lowest total in a league match under Bielsa – the second time it has happened this season after Brighton also limited them.

Leeds did have a goal ruled out for offside and hit the bar, so they were by no means nullified by Chelsea.

It does serve to show how they are often such a relentless side going forward, but Tuchel’s side were able to keep them quiet in the opening 45.

Christian Pulisic had been yet to start a game under Tuchel.

It came as a surprise given that the American played under his current manager when they were both at Borussia Dortmund.

His constant omission led to suggestions that he would be sold with reports linking him with Manchester United.

But Pulisic was handed a chance to impress in a reshuffled formation that did away with wing-backs and converted back to conventional full-backs.

It meant the American was able to influence proceedings in the final third, but he will certainly enjoy more productive afternoons.

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