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Chelsea came back to beat Leeds United 3-1 on Saturday night, sending Frank Lampard’s men to the top of the Premier League.
The Whites caught a surprise, an early lead at Stamford Bridge, when Patrick Bamford latched on to a deep pass, circled Edouard Mendy and scored on empty goal. Chelsea somehow failed to equalize immediately afterward, with Timo Werner rattling the bar from a meter.
But the Blues got their goal through Olivier Giroud just before half an hour, as the Frenchman reacted quicker to hit a Reece James cross. Lampard’s team had to wait until the 60th minute to break through for the second time, when Kurt Zouma jumped higher to drive home a superb header.
And Chelsea completed the scoring in injury time, Christian Pulisic converted to send the hosts back to the top of the league.
Let’s look at the player ratings for an exciting night at Stamford Bridge.
Edouard Mendy (POR) – 5/10 – The imperious form came to an end early in this match with a lapse of judgment to rush towards the opening goal. Get the whole team going on the left foot.
Reece James (RB) – 8/10 – Lovely whipped cross for Giroud’s attack, hit with lots of rhythm and venom. He forced Harrison to change wings in search of some joy.
Kurt Zouma (CB) – 7/10 – Caught by the deep pass that divided the defense, and Bamford did it with pace and movement. He made a great header to put Chelsea ahead.
Thiago Silva (CB) – 8/10 – He did not participate in the awarding of the opening goal. In command once again, leading the bottom line with authority.
Ben Chilwell (LB) – 7/10 – Always with the aim of charging on that left side and whipping the waiting Giroud on a cross. Solid, as always.
Kai Havertz (CM) – 5/10 – Not in racing, although he may suffer from playing out of his preferred position. He had little impact in the first half. Subtitled in the second.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – 7/10 – He had to be at his best against the press and Leeds’ relentless counterattack, but he was up to the challenge. Always in the right place to cut the overtaking lanes and get Chelsea moving again.
Mason Assembly (CM) – 9/10 – Full of bite at the tackle and looked ready for battle. He showed a lot of heart and effort, and got his reward by swinging in the corner that Zouma expertly dispatched.
Hakim Ziyech (RW) – 6/10 – His work on the tie cannot go unnoticed. He hit one man, luring two into his path before releasing James to the right to cross. Beaut. Unfortunately his final act, pulling injured immediately after.
Olivier Giroud (ST) – 8/10 – He had a great opportunity to equalize in a good position, but he deflected his blow. He made no mistake the second time around, pulling out a boot to level the scores. A constant threat.
Timo Werner (LW) – 7/10 – How did it fail ?! At the goal line, he just needed a touch. No that touch though. Disgusting surprise. He had Alioski on toast when he switched to the right flank. Always a threat and should have appeared on the score sheet at least once.
Christian Pulisic (LW) – 8/10
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 7/10
Tammy Abraham (ST) – 5/10
Illan Meslier (GK) – 6/10 – Almost wrapped as a gift a draw for Giroud, but the Frenchman’s waste saved the goalkeeper. He had little chance with goals but cleverly denied Werner to keep Leeds in the game.
Luke Ayling (RB) – 6/10 – Clean and neat in possession, helping Leeds escape dead ends with tricky play. It wasn’t an easy night against Pulisic and Werner, but he kept his cool in the face of adversity.
Robin Koch (CB) – N / A – He suffered an early injury that forced him to leave the pitch after ten minutes.
Liam Cooper (CB) – 6/10 – He held firm in the first half, when a barrage of crosses rained down from both flanks. Quite the opposite in the second half, as he slipped and could not clear the decisive corner.
Gianni Alioski (LB) – 4/10 – He rocked the post with a good shot, although it wouldn’t have counted if he had gone offside. He was defeated by Ziyech and James on his flank for Giroud’s goal. Subtitled.
Calvin Phillips (CDM) – 7/10 – He produced a perfect one-inch ball to free Bamford for the opener. He tried to slow down Chelsea but struggled to contain the flow when the Blues found their groove. It is still impressive.
Stuart Dallas (CM) – 6/10 – He typifies this Leeds team with endless pressure, performance and dynamism. In the end, he didn’t have the quality to hurt the Blues.
Mateusz Klich (CM) – 7/10 – He took a right inside position, popping into space to feed Ayling and Raphinha by the wing.
Raphinha (RW) – 6/10 – Always looking to cut off that delicious left foot, and it gave Chilwell a weird scare. It moved to the left but had less impact. Possibly he should have put Leeds ahead, but he missed twice.
Patrick Bamford (ST) – July 10 – He started the scoring with a beautiful goal, coldly rounding the goalkeeper. I should have celebrated it, Patrick.
Jack Harrison (LW) – 5/10 – Far from his prime on Saturday. Pocketed by James and dispossessed too easily. Successfully replaced.
Diego Llorente (CB) – 6/10
Ian Poveda (RW) – 6/10
Rodrigo (ST) – 6/10