Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the 2022-23 Premier League season at the hands of Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday (21 August), with the Yorkshire outfit running out 3-0 winners.
Raheem Sterling had an effort rightly ruled out for offside after 15 minutes before the Blues found themselves behind in the 33rd minute after Brenden Aaronson forced Edouard Mendy into a mistake as the Senegalese goalkeeper attempted a dribble following a back pass.
Things went from bad to worse for Thomas Tuchel’s men four minutes later as Rodrigo Moreno headed in Jack Harrison’s cross from a free-kick to double the hosts’ lead.
Chelsea could not improve when play restarted for the second half, and they were punished for it 24 minutes later as Moreno assisted Harrison for the third and final goal of the game.
The Blues had their woes further compounded much later as Senegalese centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly was shown his marching orders following a second booking with six minutes left on the clock.
Despite registering 60% of the possession, the London side were the second-best team all day, with Leeds registering double (six) of their shots on target (three).
The lack of a traditional number 9 in attack played a role in the Blues’ dismal finishing as neither Sterling nor Kai Havertz could impress, and Tuchel could be looking to land a replacement before the summer transfer window shuts after sanctioning the exits of striking duo Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.
While Chelsea were indeed poor, due credit must be given to a Leeds side that have impressed so far this term despite the sales of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.
Jesse Marsch’s side secured a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening day of the campaign before squandering a 2-0 lead at Southampton to draw 2-2 last weekend.
Meanwhile, Chelsea opened the season with a 1-0 win at Everton before Tottenham Hotspur left it late to snatch a draw against them in last weekend’s 2-2 cracker.
Despite the result, Tuchel insisted his side were the better team, claiming post-match:
“Everything that can go wrong, did go wrong. It started yesterday. We had no plane arrive so we came on the bus. The players could fly but for the coaching staff it was a long ride on the bus.
“It continued today. We lost the game in the first 20 minutes, where we were clearly better and had huge chances. We missed the target and did not take what we deserved. We created enough chances to be 2-0 up.
“We were clearly the better team and then we gave two presents. We lost our discipline. We scored an own goal (Mendy’s mistake) and gave away a cheap set-piece and conceded from a set-piece. They are mistakes.
“It is nothing to do with pressing, nothing to do with running less kilometres and nothing to do with the style of Leeds. I don’t see the connection that we lost to the style of Leeds.
“For you, this is the story, for me, it is not. It is more our fault than anybody else’s credit.”
Marsch did not agree, though, claiming:
“He can have his opinion but our way of playing dictated the match almost entirely. It made them make mistakes.”