Thomas Tuchel watched on as Chelsea moved a step closer to securing a top-four finish to qualify for next season’s Champions League with a 3-0 win over Leeds United at Elland Road.
Mason Mount scored the Blues’ first goal after four minutes. After a fluid team move, Daniel James was disqualified for an unsporting challenge on Mateo Kovacic. Christian Pulisic then scored the winning goal in the second half.
Romelu Lukaku sealed the win with a close finish. That put the Blues eight points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham. There are three remaining games. That all but confirms Tuchel’s European champions will be able to launch another bid for the crown in 2022-23, and Daily Star SportThe following are four things the German team did well to win the routine victory over the west London side.
Mount gets a free role
Mason Mount is the man who has shown the way, for all the millions of dollars spent by Chelsea to create a star-studded squad. Handed a free role in Chelsea’s 3-4-1-2 formation, Mount is flourishing in being the man who links the midfield and attack.
He showed his class in four minutes. He began to help his teammates, and nearly won a second. He was constantly pulling the strings. Leeds was left dazed by his runs between lines. A clever flick for Pulisic’s goal showed his confidence.
Mount now has 13 goals for the Blues and 13 assists in all competitions this year, with most of them coming in the Premier League. Tuchel would not be able to predict where Mount’s side will finish in the race to make it into the top four. Tuchel will no doubt give him the special treatment he deserves to keep him safe ahead of the FA Cup final.
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Romelu is returning to his explosive best slowly but surely. His efforts were appreciated by Chelsea fans at the away end. His third goal in two matches will go some way to regaining their support following a rough first 10 months in west London.
The Belgian scored twice in the 2-2 draw against Wolves and looked dangerous once again at Elland Road. He tried to spring the offside trap to latch onto Jorginho’s lofted ball over the top and successfully lobbed Ilan Meslier, but the flag went up correctly. He continued to cause trouble for the Leeds defense by heading wide from a wicked Reece James ball.
Tuchel told Lukaku that he should work harder and he focused all of his energy on finding the back net. Lukaku took his chance at the net in 83 minutes and finished frustrated. Even though he didn’t find the back of it, his efforts were evident and he will be in Tuchel’s thoughts for a spot at Wembley.
Second chance for Pulisic
Christian Pulisic has been urged to be given more opportunities in the first team, as a result of Timo Werner’s death. Tuchel claimed he and American had no problems, despite tweets from Tuchel’s father suggesting otherwise.
The winger had been inconsistent in his form, scoring six goals during the Premier League but never having a run that suggested he was worthy of a starting spot ahead of Werner Ziyech and Hakim Zyech.
However, the 23-year-old has been working hard to get fit and that shows on the pitch. He pushes his opponents into errors and runs unselfishly. He was able to put Leeds to the sword in the second half with a clean left-footed finish. It was no surprise that after torturing them in the first half.
Remember lucky charm Chalobah
Having been so certain he had unearthed another academy gem earlier in the season, Tuchel’s exile of Trevoh Chalobah for the past three months or so was baffling to those outside of the club.
Since his August debut in the UEFA Super Cup win over Villarreal, the 22 year-old has had a fantastic breakthrough season. In fact, Chelsea hadn’t lost a game he had started since then in the Premier League, with 12 wins and three draws.
The Blues’ backline, which had been leaking goals like a broken tap in recent weeks, looked much tighter when the youngster was back. He showed he is capable of being a regular in next season’s Blues backline when Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leave.