High-scoring Chelsea aiming for the top against attacking Leeds United
Chelsea to win 3-1
Chelsea have taken the bull by the horns in recent weeks to climb from 10th after their draw with Manchester United to 3rd after three successive victories and a draw to Tottenham last weekend.
Their attacking brand of football has seen them score goals for fun - indeed no team has scored more goals than they have so far this season.
As well as strong form in the league, their Champions League performances have also been terrific of late, winning away in a superb 4-0 victory over Sevilla in midweek.
They could go top with a win here, albeit temporarily as Liverpool and Tottenham play a day later.
Leeds will feel slightly happier after winning their first match in four attempts against Everton last weekend.
Their attacking football has not changed, but they have found picking up points more difficult of late, slipping to 15th before that win brought them up to 12th.
Form Guide (all comps): WWWDW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions
League’s joint top scorers
Reasons to be fearful:
Have struggled against teams who directly attack them
Will be disappointed at failing to beat Spurs last weekend
Chelsea are in an excellent position, currently.
3rd in the league, with no sign of slowing down their pursuit of the top clubs ahead of them and with their Champions League qualification secured after a terrific thrashing of Sevilla in midweek.
Frank Lampard has such an embarrassment of riches to select from each match, with several options available to him in every position.
There are, of course, certain players who have been key to their success so far. Thiago Silva is one of those in central defence, who has superb since signing from PSG in the summer.
They have the second tightest defence in the league, which has given their attackers the confidence to go about their business in the knowledge that the defenders can keep things solid at the back.
It’s certainly worked, with seven wins and a draw coming from their last eight matches.
Star Man – Olivier Giroud
Perhaps deserves to start after scoring all four goals in midweek. A terrific player who is hugely underrated.
Form Guide (all comps): WLLDW
Reasons to be cheerful
12th is a comfortable position for a newly promoted side
Seven points from last five matches
Reasons to be fearful
Not consistent enough to break into the top half
Chelsea can pick apart their defence
Leeds have fallen slightly from the side who looked to cause an upset against every big team they faced.
They ran Liverpool close on the opening day of the season, but Chelsea represent a team who are arguably one of the strongest teams in Europe going forward.
Unfortunately for Leeds, they have not been particularly solid at the back so far, with only two sides conceding more goals than they have. With the attacking quality Chelsea possess, it’s likely that Leeds will have to stand toe to toe with Chelsea if they have any hopes of gaining anything from the match.
They played brilliantly against Everton last weekend, however, with Raphinha’s long range strike enough to separate the teams. Keeping a clean sheet will help too.
Chelsea will be a tougher proposition this weekend.
Star Man – Kalvin Phillips
Has a sensational range of passing from midfield, opening up teams by quickly switching the play.
Chelsea will dominate though Leeds will also be positive
Leeds could make it an entertaining contest if they score
Likely to be three or more goals
Chelsea will see themselves as firm favourites to claim three more points and take themselves to the top of the table, albeit perhaps temporarily.
Leeds will feel that they can cause The Blues problems of their own, of course, and if they choose their moments to attack carefully, could get on the scoresheet.
It should be an entertaining fixture, but one which Chelsea would be disappointed not to win.
Chelsea to win 3-1