Chelsea v Leeds United: Bamford and Phillips blows will lead to more misery for Leeds

Alan Dudman previews Chelsea and Leeds on Saturday and is backing the hosts to cover the handicap to heap more woes on the poor away record of the visitors...

Tuchel seeking a response from West Ham loss

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea are in the hat for Monday's Champions League draw (which takes place at 11am), they could face Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Lille with the next ties starting in February and March, which gives a full two-and-a-half months to focus on pushing towards the title. The Blues are now out to 7.0 in the Premier League Winner market , with Manchester City now odds-on by a mile at 1.41.

Tuchel said his players "changed their behaviours" after taking an early lead in their midweek Champions League group match with Zenit St Petersburg. His high standards and ruthlessness is well-known, and as Scott Minto said on Five Live this week, he needs to nip that in the bud.

Last weekend's 3-2 loss at West Ham was Chelsea's first Premier League defeat after leading at half-time since December 2018 against Wolves under Maurizio Sarri - they had been unbeaten in 48 league games when ahead at the break before that trip to east London.

The German coach hasn't been happy of late, criticising the poor attitude against Watford and then blaming individual errors last weekend. Ben Chilwell, N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic are all out, but they have more than enough depth to deal with injuries.

Injury blows to take their toll

Leeds have won just two of their last 32 away matches in London in all competitions (D7 L23) and have lost two of their last three games when scoring first in the capital: against Chelsea last December and Spurs in November (won 2-1 in the other vs Fulham), which is not a pleasing starting point for Whites' fans ahead of a daunting trip to west London.

With just one victory on the road this campaign and a growing injury list, the Yorkshire club are nowhere near the team that was so successful with their high press and constant attacking (and goals conceded last term).

Patrick Bamford injured his hamstring having come off the bench on the 68th minute in last Sunday's 2-2 with Brentford celebrating and he'd previously been missing nine weeks with an ankle injury. He's been a big miss this term with just six appearances in an injury-hit campaign.

Kalvin Phillips is set to miss two months with a hamstring injury, and Liam Cooper has also suffered a similar problem recently. Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk are both out for now as well as the situation becomes tricky for Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea a very short price to arrest two draw run

Chelsea have won their last four home league games against Leeds - they've never won five in a row against them at Stamford Bridge, although that hasn't deterred the layers who have deemed the hosts as no bigger than a 1.31 chance for Saturday. That contracted from fraction bigger regarding the opening salvo at around 1.34.

Since the impressive 4-0 home victory against Juventus in the Champions League, they have clocked up only one victory from their last four - a 2-1 success at Watford. They succumbed to a late goal in the 2-3 defeat at West Ham and were held 3-3 by Zenit St Petersburg in midweek.

Tuchel made eight changes for the midweek match in Russia, so perhaps we shouldn't take that result at face value. The German desired fresh legs for this, although Romelu Lukaku, returned to the starting line-up for the first time since October after injury, but the performance lacked sharpness and zip.

Leeds are winless in their past six meetings with Chelsea (drawn two, lost four). Their last victory was a 2-0 win at Elland Road in December 2002, but the head-to-head is relatively even with the Blues on nine wins against Leeds' eight. It's even too on goals (29 to 28) and clean sheets (10 to 11).

Chelsea have drawn their last two home Premier League matches, 1-1 draws with Burnley and Manchester United. The Blues haven't drawn three in a row at Stamford Bridge since a run of four between December 2015 and February 2016 under Guus Hiddink, so layers might consider taking them on and using a trade if they concede early with a lay-to-back to ensure a green book, but it's a difficult one to predict, and 1.31 offers little in terms of being quaquaversal with the numbers. The draw is priced at 6.2.

Looks to Blues to cover goal deficit

I've had some short prices to deal with in League One recently, which is quite rare for that division with form side Rotherham now trading for home games at 1.36 and 1.5. I have shunned using the HT/FT markets as it's too easy to think a long-odds on shot will win both halves. It's a bet for me that often comes unstuck. Chelsea aren't a big price anyway at 1.61 to win both halves, so the bigger 1.81 to cover the -1 Handicap on the Leeds +1 market is the way to go.

They have covered that bet on four occasions at Stamford Bridge from six fixtures; winning 3-0 twice against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, with a 3-1 against Southampton. The Norwich 7-0 thrashing was typical Norwich and a complete waste of time for anyone other than backers of Over 6.5, but we can get 1.84 on the bet, which looks a bit bigger than it normally would be as they have drawn their last two with Burnley and Manchester United (both 1-1s).

Leeds with a goal start in the same market are 4.10. But away from Elland Road they have only won once - scoring just six goals and the solitary win was against Norwich (who else?). I would never lay 3/1 chances as it's not in my remit, but you need layers for two sides, and considering that has failed for Leeds on each occasion this term, it's something for the bigger price layers to consider.

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Correct Score under consideration

If Chelsea can recapture their early season form and their brace of scoring three goals (and seven) against lower-half teams, I would look to the Correct Score bets of 3-0 9.10 and 3-1 12.50. The visitors have only scored six on the road this campaign, so they are averaging less than one a match.

When Chelsea hit it right, they are relentless in attack and average 1.96 goals per game and lots of corners. That pressure can hopefully pay dividends for a split stake bet on the two.

Time to take on Romelu?

The ever-popular Lukaku to score bet is usually my go-to for the weekend if the Belgian starts. While it isn't quite Henrik Larsson territory for Celtic, it seemed that way at the start of the season with a run of four in four. He is 4/6 to Score on the Sportsbook, so I'll be looking to take that on with the Exchange, as he only has one goal in his last 11. I thought he would have been around 5/4.

Timo Werner scored Chelsea's fastest ever goal in the Champions after just one minute and 23 seconds against Zenit. Werner in the To Score Anytime market and Chelsea to win pays out 2.37 on the Sportsbook Betbuilder.

Raphinha has scored six of Leeds' 15 Premier League goals this season, with no other player at the club netting more than twice so far this term. His six goals have been worth seven points to the Whites, with only Jamie Vardy's strikes being more valuable to his side this season (8). Raphina for a shock first goal pays 14/1 on the Sportsbook.

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