Leeds United host Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday in a 12:30pm kick-off at Elland Road.
Leeds have lost four of their last five games to fall into the bottom half of the table, although a win would move them level on points with 10th-placed Arsenal.
Chelsea, meanwhile, mean business under Thomas Tuchel, remaining unbeaten since the German replaced Frank Lampard in January with 21 points from nine league games moving them into the top four.
The Blues are odds-on 7/10 favourites to beat Leeds, with the draw 3/1 and a Leeds win 15/4.
Frankly I expected Chelsea to be around the 1/2 mark given how impressive they’ve been under Tuchel, so I’m happy to back them to win here.
Leeds have failed to even score in three of their last four games, so I’m struggling to see Marcelo Bielsa getting much change out of Chelsea to be honest given how defensively watertight the Blues have been of late.
Indeed, 10 of Tuchel’s 11 games in all competitions have seen under three goals scored at either end, with the only exception their 2-1 win at Sheffield United when Antonio Rudiger scored a calamitous own goal.
Leeds do have the tendency to produce the odd crazy game, though, so I’ll play a little safer by backing Chelsea to win and Under 5 Goals for Both Teams Combined at 21/20 (bet365).
If you’re looking for a bigger price, Chelsea to win, Under 3 Goals for Chelsea, Under 2 Goals for Leeds, Under 4 Cards for Both Teams Combined, Over 2 Corners for Chelsea and Over 2 Corners for Leeds is 4/1.
However, Chelsea have only picked up six yellows in nine games under Tuchel – with three of them coming in one game against Tottenham – while Leeds have been shown seven in their last six, having also seen three in one match against Aston Villa, so it’d be a surprise to see more than two or three cards shown on the day.
On the corner front, Leeds have earned 4+ in 24 of their last 26 games, while Chelsea have earned 3+ in eight of their nine league games under Tuchel.
In terms of player cards, as mentioned I’m not expecting too many in this clash, but Kalvin Phillips would be my main fancy at 15/4 (Unibet).
Chelsea overload central attacking areas under Tuchel and I could envisage Phillips getting caught in transition with Leeds chasing the game, as was the case when he was booked for the sixth time in 19 league games this season at West Ham on Monday night.
Stuart Dallas and Ngolo Kante both look too big with Sky Bet at 13/2 and 9/2 respectively, too, given they have been carded five and six times respectively. The double would pay a big 40/1, which I’ll request if both start.
Marcos Alonso and Ben Chilwell also appeal at 4/1 (bet365) and 8/1 (Unibet) respectively depending on who starts at left wing-back for the Blues, with Raphinha likely to give his opposing man a torrid time down that flank.
On that note, I’m surpised to see the Leeds winger as big as 5/6 (Sky Bet) to have a shot on target given that he has had at least one in 15 of his last 18 league starts. Even against a side as defensively organised as Chelsea, Raphinha has more than enough individual talent to test Edouard Mendy at some point.
Likewise, if Rodrigo returns from injury to start the game, he’s also too big at 10/11 (Betfair) given that he had at least one in seven of his 10 starts prior to injury.
The two Leeds forwards alongside Marcos Alonso – who has had five shots on target in five league starts under Tuchel – pays a tasty 10/1 with Betfair. Should Rodrigo not be considered fit enough to start, Raphinha and Alonso both to have two – which they each did on Monday night – is a huge 90/1 longshot.
Should Chilwell start ahead of Alonso, though, I’d definitely back the England left-back to have 2+ tackles at 5/4 (Sky Bet). This has landed in five of his last seven league starts, with Raphinha more than capable of drawing at least a couple out of him on the day.
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