Leeds’ season took yet another bleak turn as they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at home to Chelsea.
Goals from Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku sealed the result and left the Whites in the relegation zone on goal difference. However, Leeds have played a match less than 17th-placed Burnley.
They’ll be without Dan James for their final two matches of the season with the Wales international being given a straight red card for a terrible challenge on Mateo Kovacic, who later hobbled off the pitch.
Jesse Marsch recently revealed he and his Leeds players were looking to the likes of Mahatma Gandhi for inspiration in their survival bid.
And speaking about James’ red card, talkSPORT’s Sam Matterface quipped: “I wonder what Gandhi would’ve made of that.”
But Leeds’ situation is no laughing matter as their hopes of staying up look increasingly faint.
The only consolation for Marsch’s men was that relegation rivals Everton could only manage a goalless draw at Watford.
Mount followed up his pass out to the right flank in the fourth minute and when Reece James played the ball back inside, the England midfielder slammed home the opening goal.
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Leeds, who handed teenage midfielder Lewis Bate his first league start and kicked off with Raphinha at right wing-back, appeared at odds with another new formation as Chelsea moved the ball around comfortably.
Chelsea were a whisker away from adding a second when Mount’s cross eluded Lukaku, but Leeds lifted their fans with several forays forward before Diego Llorente fired wide.
Any optimism was short-lived however, as they were reduced to 10 men in the 24th minute when James was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Kovacic.
Leeds fans were furious, but referee Anthony Taylor had no option. James’ tackle was high and reckless and just as they had done at Arsenal, Marsch’s relegation battlers had shot themselves in the foot.
Lukaku thought he had lobbed Chelsea 2-0 up but his effort was ruled out for offside and the Belgium striker then headed James’ cross inches wide.
Such was Chelsea’s dominance, a second goal for the visitors appeared inevitable, while Leeds’ season-long injury woes continued when Jack Harrison limped off and was replaced by Junior Firpo.
Play was briefly halted in the 37th minute after touchline stewards waved for medical assistance for somebody in the away end before Leeds set an unwanted Premier League record before the interval.
Kalvin Phillips hauled down Pulisic and became the 100th Leeds player to be shown a yellow card this season – a new season high for the division.
Lukaku headed another chance over before Chelsea added their second in the 55th minute.
Pulisic fired a low finish inside Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier’s right-hand post following Mount’s deft flick to all but end the contest.
Lukaku was agonisingly close to making it 3-0 in the 66th minute, but the third goal duly came when Leeds were punished after giving away possession again in their own half.
The Chelsea striker pounced on substitute Hakim Ziyech’s pass into the area and after evading several challenges, slammed home his eighth league goal of the season.
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