Chelsea – Leeds: Kurt Zouma’s second-half header gave Chelsea a 3-1 comeback win over Leeds United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, pushing the Blues top of the table.
Christian Pulisic scored in the third minute of stoppage time to put away the win for Chelsea, who was dominant but kept Leeds in the match to that point.
[ MORE: Pulisic Watch from Chelsea 3-1 Leeds ]
Ex-Chelsea man Patrick Bamford put Leeds ahead early but it was level before halftime through Olivier Giroud’s fifth goal this week.
Frank Lampard won’t like that Chelsea’s misfiring finishers joined forces with Leeds star goalkeeper Illan Meslier to leave the game in the balance left despite the hosts dominating the proceedings.
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The Blues’ 22 points are one ahead of Tottenham and Liverpool, who both play Sunday. Leeds sit 12th with 14 points. Chelsea hasn’t lost in 16 matches since a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Hakim Ziyech was injured early in the win and replaced by Pulisic.
Chelsea – Leeds saw the Blues in firm control but requiring late defending in London to move top of the table.
Three things we learned from Chelsea – Leeds
1. Giroud Awakening: Giroud’s first start of the Premier League season saw him all over the pitch, nearly producing two goals before he found Chelsea’s leveler with a clever finish at the front post. Giroud scored four times at Sevilla in midweek and in his last five PL starts last season, making a bit of Chelsea history.
6 – Olivier Giroud is the first player to score in six consecutive Premier League starts for Chelsea since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in October 2001. Super. #CHELEE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 5, 2020
2. Ziyech Injury: Frank Lampard had to wait a long time to utilize Hakim Ziyech as the Moroccan fought his way to fitness, and may be without him again after an injury forced him before a half-hour was gone Saturday. Ziyech had starter Chelsea’s last five Premier League matches, showcasing his magnificent vision. The Blues’ depth in attack will continue to pay dividends if he’s out for an extended period of time.
3. Busy Meslier: French goalkeeper Illan Meslier is the reason this one didn’t get out of hand, well-positioned to make seven saves including some beauties. Timo Werner will be happy to see the back of the youngster.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount
Chelsea’s left-sided midfield menace has been a man on fire of late. Mount completed five-of-eight crosses with two interceptions and two tackles. He might’ve had a few assists on another day but only gets credit for the corner kick that Zouma put home.
Chelsea – Leeds recap
Chelsea twice troubled Leeds before the visitors went ahead when Kalvin Phillips played a perfect ball to a streaking Bamford for a near-post finish against his former club.
Olivier Giroud had his head in his hands after flicking a corner to the empty back post and watching Werner somehow put the ball off the bottom of the cross bar and out within inches of the goal line.
Chances for both teams arrived before the break. Leeds’ Alioski ripped wide on a chance that would’ve come back for offside before Giroud claimed a bad Illan Meslier pass but smashed just wide himself.
Giroud was Chelsea’s force in the half and it was deservedly 1-1 when the Frenchman lunged to poke Reece James’ cross past Meslier.
Ziyech was injured before the half-hour mark, bringing Christian Pulisic into the game.
The Blues were the better money for the second goal, Werner twice denied by Meslier before Mount’s shot was blocked for a corner in the 61st.
Chelsea took the lead through Zouma off that corner, the French center back thumping a back post header home off a Mount delivery.
You would’ve bet on Werner putting the match to bed off a wonderful Mount cross with a quarter-hour to play but the German saw his shot turned out for a corner.
Ian Poveda conjured a shot that Edouard Mendy collected for his second save of the game in the 78th minute, but the only goal to arrive was Pulisic’s finish of Werner’s feed.