'Best' performance delights Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch as Chelsea are well beaten

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Jesse Marsch has labelled Leeds United's performance and stunning 3-0 victory over Chelsea as the best since he came in as head coach.

The Whites maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season on a red hot afternoon at Elland Road as they chased, harried and at times outfought their big four opponents.

It was arguably United's best result and performance since they came back into the top flight and was met by raucous approval with the ground really rocking.

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Maybe for the first time home fans got a look at how their head coach wants his team to play and it was a team display that augurs well for the season ahead.

Jesse Marsch salutes the fans after Leeds United's big win against Chelsea.Jesse Marsch salutes the fans after Leeds United's big win against Chelsea.
Jesse Marsch salutes the fans after Leeds United's big win against Chelsea.

"It was obviously a really good performance, the best since I've been here," said Marsch.

"What's really nice to see is not just that we get the result but I felt like we were the better team.

"I think that our way of playing dictated the match, almost entirely limited them, created chances, made them make mistakes.

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"If you saw their first games against Everton and Tottenham, if you give these quality players time, they can pass the ball all day. And we didn't want to do that.

Leeds United's Dan James takes on the Chelsea defence.Leeds United's Dan James takes on the Chelsea defence.
Leeds United's Dan James takes on the Chelsea defence.

"We wanted to make them uncomfortable. We wanted to be aggressive, but intelligent and we wanted to push the game that way. I think we did."Marsch outlined where his team are showing improvement on last season.

He added: "Last year we were committing so many fouls and we were over aggressive and we were getting ourselves in danger with fouls and cards and now even in training, you can see that they're adapting to what the techniques are, to actually when you go in one v one situations to win balls.

"That takes a little bit of time. But in general, I think that we never get outworked or outrun. That's a moniker of what we do here.

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"Now if we can continue to add that we don't want to get out-thought then we can be a good team. So yeah, it's coming together and we've got to keep going."

The celebratory feel to the day could have been so different just 39 seconds into the game with Chelsea creating a big first minute chance. Their big summer signing Raheem Sterling had space to cut in from the left, but to the relief of home supporters he sent his curling shot just wide.

The fast paced start continued with Leeds fashioning their first half-chances, Dan James turning well before shooting over and Jack Harrison - who went on to have a wow of a game - seeing his angled shot saved.

Sterling had the ball in the Leeds net, but was rightly ruled offside while skipper for the day Rodrigo was not far wide with a shot for United.

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The first serious save belonged to Illan Meslier as he got down well to save Mason Mount's smart low shot.

But Chelsea were being forced into more mistakes than they usually make with Leeds' pressing game hurrying them. Diego Llorente headed over from a corner and Rodrigo's shot was straight at keeper Edouard Mendy after he latched on to Brenden Aaronson's pass.

It was not a major surprise that the opening goal would come from the visitors being dispossessed, but it was the goalkeeper who lost the ball trying to dribble near the goal-line with Aaronson picking his pocket and walking the ball into the empty net.

Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly was lucky to stay on the field a minute later after a strong challenge was punished with the player having been earlier booked for a blatant pull back on Aaronson. He was not to be so fortunate later on.

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Leeds were running red hot now and doubled their lead four minutes after the opening goal as Harrison's free-kick was superbly headed in by Rodrigo for his fourth goal of the season already.

Chelsea gave them a reminder they were still in the contest as they created a good chance for their expensive left-back signing Marc Cucurella, but he shot wide when unmarked in the box.

United had the last effort of the half when Aaronson's shot was well held by Mendy.

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An expected onslaught from Chelsea in the second half never really came, but they did have their best spell of the game as Cucurella shot over and Conor Gallagher's effort was deflected just wide.

At the other end, Rodrigo was denied by a good block and Tyler Adams' goalbound strike from a half cleared corner was also blocked.

Meslier made another good save on 65 minutes, tipping Reece James' low shot from outside the box wide. He then saved more comfortably from Koulibaly’s header from the resulting corner.

Having survived the flurry the Whites effectively sealed the points in the 69th minute when James skipped down the left and his cross just evaded Aaronson but found Rodrigo who, intentionally or not, then teed up Harrison to score from close range.

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Leeds were three up and in dreamland and it was almost 4-0 just two minutes later when Harrison's low ball in was sent just wide as Rodrigo stretched to meet the ball.

A flurry of substitutions saw Leeds have the luxury of resting players in the closing stages with Luis Sinisterra among the subs to come on for his home debut.

Another sub Joe Gelhardt proved a real nuisance for the visitors and when he threatened to race clear he was pulled back by Koulibaly who was promptly sent-off for his second yellow card of the match.

Leeds saw out the game comfortably against their 10-man opponents and the celebrations were in full effect after the final whistle with the Kaiser Chiefs blasting out and players and fans joining in.

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Leeds United 3(Aaronson 33, Rodrigo 37, Harrison 69)Chelsea 0Sunday, August 21, 2022Premier LeagueAttendance: 36,372Leeds: Meslier; Kristensen, Koch, Llorente, Struijk; Roca (Forshaw 60), Adams; James (Sinisterra 70), Aaronson (Greenwood 82), Harrison (Klich 82); Rodrigo (Gelhardt 82).Chelsea: Mendy; James, Silva, Koulibaly, Cucurella; Jorginho (Ziyech 64), Gallagher (Pulisic 64); Loftus-Cheek, Mount (Chilwell 77), Sterling (Azpilicueta 87); Havertz.Referee: Stuart Attwell.