In this series, I review my in-ground experience throughout the season, this time for Leeds United away. It’s split into two columns, one for home games and the other for away days. I run through various topics from atmosphere to an overall match review and give my thoughts on my match-day experience at the stadium I visit.
Journey to the game: Leeds away at Elland Road
This was just my fourth away day as a Chelsea fan this season – last one being at the start of May when I saw Chelsea’s poor record at Goodison Park contunue as we lost 0-1. The journey today, however, was straightforward – a half hour walk from home to Elland Road.
Having arrived at the ground two hours prior to kick off, the nerves were already to starting to kick in. It certainly had the feel of an atmospheric battle. Two clubs with plenty of history and rivalry between each other.
I really like the ‘traditional’ and ‘older’ type stadiums. I think Elland Road definitely falls into that category, similarly to Old Trafford and Goodison. The concourse was tightly packed and the quality of the design of the stadium wasn’t exactly great. Funnily enough, I prefer stadiums like Elland Road to the likes of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where it’s up-to-date and massive in size but doesn’t really have that history, traditional value or atmosphere.
Moving onto my seat, it was a very nice view. As against Manchester United, Everton and Aston Villa, I had two tickets and was able to sit next to my brother. We were sat quite close to the pitch, although in the upper tier, aligned to the bottom right (TV view). I wasn’t able to fully see what was going on at the other end of the pitch but the view was still more than good enough.
In terms of the atmosphere, it was nothing short of exceptional. By far the best atmosphere I’ve witnessed out of all the matches I’ve been to. Chelsea fans really are spectacular, especially on away days.
Leeds 0-3 Chelsea: Match Review
It was a dominant start from the Blues, not really giving Leeds an opportunity to counter throughout early proceedings. We managed to preserve control of the game and it paid off quite quickly with James finding space to pick out Mount who finished clinically. We managed to sustain pressure very well – maybe as expected against a team like Leeds who don’t really counter press and were having to regroup in frustration. Leeds were sat in what looked like a 4-2-3-1 but struggled to really get going especially once Dan James was sent off for what was a nasty challenge on Mateo Kovacic.
Tuchel will have asked for more of the same in the 2nd half but to instead get another goal and finish the game off early – something we’ve not managed to do often throughout the season. The dominance in midfield from Jorginho, who was pretty much running the game, helped set up Mount who played a flick over to Pulisic who finished cooly on his weaker foot.
Lukaku’s efforts also eventually paid off as he got his goal towards the end after showing a good level of composure and decision making. Lukaku’s overall performance was very good, it must be said. Dropping deep to help in approach play, running in behind despite not being picked out countless times, aerial duels and pinning Leeds’ centre-backs to help play Pulisic and Mount in behind. It seems like he’s becoming more and more familiar with the tactical demands of himself and the team.
We had chances to go on and score more. Mount and Pulisic shooting wide, Ziyech with his traditional left-foot curler which went wide. But the game was pretty much over Pulisic netted to make it 0-2.
Things you don’t see or hear on TV
Something that may not have been evident on TV, but some Leeds fans were seen and heard abusing Kovacic as he walked off the pitch after Dan James damaged his ankle.
There was also homophobic chants from Leeds fans as well as a section of their fans booing a Chelsea fan who required medical attention in the crowd.
I could hear some Chelsea fans booing Antonio Rudiger at full-time as he didn’t clap the away end and walked quickly down the tunnel.
On a positive note, Chelsea fans showed their appreciation for Frank Lampard throughout the game by chanting “Super Frank”. We also showed our appreciation for Trevoh Chalobah who was quite superb, given it was his first start in a long while.
The atmosphere and vibes in the away end, again, were incredible. It’s not necessarily easy to win at Elland Road. Similarly to Goodison Park, their fans generate a good atmosphere but we coped really well with that by playing the game at our rhythm.
3-0 away at Leeds. Not bad is it, for our last away day of the season?