USMNT attacker Brenden Aaronson was one of the stars of the show as Leeds United stunned Chelsea 3-0 at Elland Road on Sunday to stay undefeated on the young Premier League season.
Aaronson scored his first Premier League goal in the 33rd minute, Rodrigo made it 2-0 within moments, and Jack Harrison completed the score line in the second half.
Chelsea was without Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante and looked it, run ragged by Leeds and behind the 8-ball well before injecting Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic with a half-hour to play.
Insult was added to injury when Kalidou Koulibaly was shown his second yellow card with minutes to play with the score line already 3-0.
The Blues’ first loss of the season leaves them on four points, five back of leaders Arsenal, while Leeds’ seven points have Jesse Marsch’s men in third.
Rodrigo added to his Premier League goal-scoring lead with his fourth of the young season after Aaronson caught Edouard Mendy flat-footed as Leeds scored twice in five first-half minutes.
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What we learned from Leeds vs Chelsea
Chelsea missing key components: The No. 1 thing that seemed set to put Chelsea amongst the top four again was their incredible midfield, led by steady eddies Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, and N’Golo Kante. The latter two were injured on Sunday and that led to a Jorginho and Conor Gallagher pairing that wasn’t terrible but hardly terrifying. Leeds enjoyed their freedom and it’s no surprise Chelsea’s backs found themselves under duress.
Jesse Marsch’s identity all over Leeds: There are plenty of similarities between this Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, so let’s start by lauding the ownership for hiring a proper replacement. Jesse Marsch’s energetic team may, too, one day burn out like Bielsa’s did, but they are working relentlessly and with purpose. The system asks for pressure but also creativity, and a team that sold Raphinha and has went and scored two, two, and three goals in their first PL games. Not too bad.
Rodrigo resurgence for real: Remember that Rodrigo’s arrival to Bielsa’s Leeds seemed like the right fit at the right time, but the Spaniard got just 13 goals across two seasons in the Premier League. But three of those goals came in Marsch’s first month (ish) in charge and the man is wearing the arm band now. Four goals from three against Wolves, Saints, and Chelsea, the first and last of the bunch quite good at that whole “defending” thing during the 2021-22 Premier League season.
Leeds’ press was intended to dishevel Chelsea’s midfield and backs, and it did that and then some in shaking up Edouard Mendy as well. The Blues’ Thomas Tuchel stuck with his unit for too long — especially in the case of on-yellow Kalidou Koulibaly, it turns out — and Chelsea dipped from the ranks of the unbeaten in unceremonious fashion.
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Stars of the show
Leeds gets a tasty visit to Brighton and Hove Albion at 10am ET Saturday while Chelsea hosts Leicester City at the same time.
How to watch Leeds vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10 am ET, Sunday
TV: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Leeds team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Stuart Dallas (thigh), Luke Ayling (knee), Junior Firpo (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Patrick Bamford (adductor), Liam Cooper (achilles)
Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Mateo Kovacic (knee), Marcos Alonso (undisclosed) | QUESTIONABLE: Christian Pulisic (achilles), Armando Broja (undisclosed)