Chelsea vs Leeds United: Preview and Prediction

Chelsea will look to put the defeat in the EFL Cup final behind them when they host Leeds United in the FA Cup fifth round.

Leeds United will look to make it seven wins in a row when they hit the road to square up against Premier League giants Chelsea. The visitors have been in exceptional form of late and will look to add to the Blues’ misery as they are yet to recover from the EFL Cup final loss.

Despite the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino, nothing much has changed at the club during the course of the 2023/24 season. They are mid-table in the Premier League, and their overall form has been a bit inconsistent. They are 11th in the league, and finishing inside the top six looks like an uphill task.

While they have been struggling in the English top flight, the Blues had the opportunity to win a trophy in their last outing against Liverpool. They were very close to lifting a trophy but in the end, the Merseyside club came out on top.

They are now heading into this FA Cup fixture with hopes of making it to the next round, having made it here by knocking Aston Villa out in the previous round. Meanwhile, Leeds United have been doing a great job in the ongoing season.

They are pushing for a return to the English top flight and are second in the Championship behind Leicester City. The visitors recently defeated the Foxes and have been on a six-match winning streak. While they are in red-hot form, squaring up against a Premier League giant won’t be easy.

Leeds United made it to the fifth round after smashing Plymouth Argyle 4-1 in the fourth round replay. The first outing might have ended 1-1, but they did get the job done when it mattered. The Whites have the opportunity to make it to the next round by scripting an incredible win against one of the giants of English football. Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics


Chelsea have a fresh injury concerns following the match against Liverpool. In addition, the availability of Thiago Silva is still a doubt, with the 39-year-old struggling with his groin. But the latest absentee is Christopher Nkunku, who has suffered a fresh injury.

Marc Cucurella is also a doubt while Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Lesley Ugochukwu, Romeo Lavia, Carney Chukwuemeka, and Benoit Badiashile are all out injured. Meanwhile, Robert Sanchez was back in the squad for the Carabao Cup final in Wembley and could get a start here.

Mauricio Pochettino will go ahead with the 4-2-3-1 formation, where Sanchez should be in goal. Malo Gusto and Levi Colwill will be the full-backs for the Blues, while Alfie Gilchrist could pair up with Trevoh Chalobah in the heart of the defence.

The back four will look for a clean sheet, and they will have the support of Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez, who will form the double pivot in the centre of the park. Noni Madueke and Mykhailo Mudryk will take charge on opposite flanks, and they will look to link up with their attacking midfielder, Conor Gallagher. Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling could be the one leading the line in the FA Cup fixture.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Gusto, Gilchrist, Chalobah, Colwill; Caicedo, Fernandez; Madueke, Gallagher, Mudryk; Sterling

Leeds United

The visitors will be without the services of Karl Darlow, Pascal Struijk, Sam Byram, and Stuart Dallas in this fifth-round fixture. Winter loan signing Connor Roberts did not feature in the replay against Plymouth because he wasn’t registered for the original fixture. But, he is available for this one against Chelsea.

Daniel Farke will go ahead with the 4-2-3-1 formation, where Illan Meslier will be in goal. Connor Roberts and Junior Firpo will be the two full-backs, while former Chelsea defender Ethan Ampadu will feature alongside Liam Cooper in the heart of the defence. The back four will look for a clean sheet with the help of Ilia Gruev and Glen Kamara who will feature as the double pivot in the centre of the park.

Wilfried Gnonto will feature on the right flank, while Jaidon Anthony will take charge on the left. The duo will look to provide width to their attacks and link up with Georginio Rutter, who will feature as the attacking midfielder. Meanwhile, Patrick Bamford will lead the line for Leeds United against Chelsea.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Roberts, Ampadu, Cooper, Firpo; Gruev, Kamara; Gnonto, Rutter, Anthony; Bamford

Chelsea vs Leeds United Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Chelsea and Leeds United have faced each other on 108 occasions across competitions and the Blues have won 40 of those while the visitors have 38 wins to their name.
  • The two teams have met eight times in the FA Cup and the Blues have won five of those meetings.
  • Leeds and Chelsea squared up against each other in the last season of the Premier League where both teams won their home game.
  • Leeds have been unbeaten in 2024 and they have won each of their last six games.
  • The London club has made it to the fifth round on six occasions in the last eight seasons. They have won 13 out of their 15 matches at this stage of the competition.

Player to Watch

Mykhailo Mudryk

It is fair to say that Mudryk has been a disastrous signing for Chelsea since arriving from Shakhtar Donetsk 12 months ago. The Blues beat Arsenal to the signature of the Ukrainian international in January 2023. But he has flattered to deceive for the most part.

The 23-year-old does have four goals and three assists in just over 1,000 minutes of first-team action this season. But the Blues are looking for a lot more from Mudryk, and they will hope he brings his A game to the table against Leeds and helps them end the season on a high from here on.


Chelsea 2-1 Leeds United

When a Premier League outfit squares up against a second-tier team, everyone expects the top-flight team to get the job done. However, it won’t be that easy for Chelsea to take down Leeds United given their recent form.

While the Blues have been struggling in the Premier League, the visitors have been on a dominant run since the turn of the calendar. They have not lost in 2024 and are on a six-match winning streak which suggests they will give the London club a run for their money.

However, there is too much quality in the Chelsea squad and they should still find a way to go past the Yorkshire team. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the home team.

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