Mount reaches pinnacle as Leeds languish in relegation zone
Leeds United's Dan James was sent off for this tackle on Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic in his side's 3-0 loss to the London side. Image via Telegraph

With both sides desperate to get back to winning ways and secure points at the business end of the season, this game had the potential to be a hard-fought and fraught physical encounter.

Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku started his second Premier League game in a week, having bagged two goals against Wolves at the weekend and despite rumours of a heated exchange in that disappointing draw, Thomas Tuchel kept faith with Marcos Alonso, even if his long-term future at Chelsea is seemingly in doubt. 

Mase on the Money:

With barely three minutes on the clock Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount's right boot connected with the ball on the edge of the penalty area having been played in by Reece James, which curled round Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier and left the Yorkshire side in an immediate deficit. 

Lukaku was pivotal in the move, with Chelsea breaking at pace and the Belgian holding up the ball with his back to goal, picking out Mount who spread the ball out into the space on the right-hand side into which the oncoming `James was able to gather the ball and lay the ball off for Mount to strike home. 

Wild Ways:

Just twenty minutes later and Leeds forward Dan James recklessly lunged in two-footed on Mateo Kovacic and connected with the Croatian's ankle, receiving a straight red card, taking any chance that his side had from getting anything from the game down the tunnel with him. The Chelsea midfielder had to be withdrawn from the game shortly after, being replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and will be hoping that he is fit in time to return for Saturday's FA Cup Final against Liverpool.

An audacious chip by Lukaku to capitalise on thoughtless keeping by Illan Meslier who rushed off his line, was ruled out for offside on the half hour mark. But, otherwise the rest of the first half concluded without any significant drama, James' red card taking the sting out of the game and stunning the Elland Road crowd, he will now of course face a suspension.

Clinical Finishing:

Chelsea finished Leeds off in the second half, scoring ten minutes into the second half, when a neat flick from Mount set-up Christian Pulisic who rifled into the net to kill off any lingering hope Leeds supporters had for the evening. 

Though he had been a constant threat in front of goal throughout the game, it had looked like Lukaku had spurned his best opportunity to score when he chose not to strike first time when found in the box by substitute Hakim Ziyech on 82 minutes. On this occasion, his endeavour took him round flailing Leeds defenders, which he managed to effortlessly shrug off before finding the net from a fair from straight forward angle.

On any other night the Belgian would have been a worthy winner of the man of the match accolade but that honour was reserved for Mount who opened the scoring, assisted Pulisic for the second and was central to the positivity in Chelsea's play when a positive performance was required. 

Healthy Headache:

Lukaku's recent run of appearances have coincided with a rest for first-choice front man Kai Havertz, but it appears now that Thomas Tuchel has a genuine choice to make in terms of who will lead the front line against Liverpool at Wembley. A headache the Chelsea manager could have perhaps done with earlier in the season but he will now be desperate to win the competition this year, having lost last year's final to Leicester City and the EFL Final to Klopp's team already. The game against Leeds was Chelsea's last on the road this season, with two home games remaining after their trip to north London, and they will be hoping to end on a high after a Jekyll and Hyde season, marred by off-pitch mayhem.

Chelsea having lost their last three domestic finals at Wembley and their last two FA Cup Final's is extremely out of character for the club who have an incredibly strong record in domestic trophies over the last two decades. Whoever takes to the pitch, whether it be Havertz or Lukaku or both starting in a front three, you can be sure that Mason Mount will be lining up alongside them and that they will go all out for their third trophy this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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