Chelsea vs Leeds United Odds, Pick: Make the Clever Bet on Saturday
Jake Kirkman/Getty. Pictured: Georginio Rutter and Tyler Adams.
Chelsea vs Leeds United Odds
Leeds United Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-106 / -125)|
|Odds via bet365. Get the latest soccer odds here.|
Leeds United and Chelsea come into Saturday's match at the respective low points of each of their seasons. Leeds sit in 17th place, clinging above the relegation zone with new manager Javi Garcia, just days after the Peacocks were eliminated from the FA Cup.
Chelsea lost to Southampton at home and then put in a lifeless performance on the road at Spurs in a 2-0 defeat to their bitter London rival on Sunday.
There are calls from within the Chelsea fanbase to sack Graham Potter, who has only been at the club since October but has also failed to meaningfully improve them. Chelsea have scored six goals in 12 matches since returning from the World Cup break. They've been unlucky in the finishing department, but it's not as if the attack has produced at a consistently good rate.
Structural issues exist with the Chelsea attack right now, and a matchup with a porous Leeds defense could be just what the Blues need to show some life. At the other end, Garcia has caused a meaningful shift in Leeds' attacking play that should improve their performances. Despite the poor form of both attacks, this game should feature chances at both ends.
Chelsea Have All Sorts of Issues
Chelsea's attacking problems are multi-faceted. It's a story of bad finishing variance that they've only scored one goal in their last six games despite producing 8.1 xGF in total. You don't expect that to continue going forward as the Blues should finish more consistently from this point ahead. But the attack has only produced about 1.2 xG per 90 league matches during Potter's reign as manager.
Mason Mount, Reece James and even Raheem Sterling have seen considerable declines in attacking production when compared to past seasons. The result is that Chelsea have a very average team attack that has scored just one more goal than Bournemouth this season. Chelsea didn't show it in the match at Spurs, but the attack has slowly but surely trended up under Potter.
The group produced 1.1 xG per 90 pre-World Cup break under him and that has risen to 1.43 xGF since the break. They haven't finished any of those chances and the product can be dull to watch at times, but I think it's a continuous good bet to expect Chelsea to improve their attacking production given their talent.
Chelsea like to use a lot of defensive possession and at times lack the cutting edge to break down an opposition defense. They're still pressing at a high rate and forcing a decent number of high turnovers, but they prefer to recycle that into settled attacking possession. In a matchup against the frenetic and pressing Leeds, they're unlikely to easily maintain settled possession and will see their patterns disrupted and scrambled by Leeds' press.
Leeds United Utilizing Improved Tactics
Tyler Adams made very interesting comments to the media about the differences between outgoing manager Jesse Marsch and new manager Javi Garcia. The principles of pressing intensity and winning the ball high up the pitch remain at Leeds.
While Marsch prioritized playing the forward press and trying to score as quickly as possible, Garcia is trying to teach Leeds to be more patient. The Peacocks will potentially be less vulnerable to counter presses and more apt to break down defenses from periods of settled possession under Garcia.
The talent and underlying process is certainly there for this Leeds side. In the FA Cup this week, Leeds produced 1.6 xG on the road at Fulham. When they've faced big six competition that likes to possess the ball, they've been extremely leaky at the back but also quite effective at creating chances in transition.
This is the same Leeds team that beat Chelsea 3-0, beat Liverpool 2-1 and scored three against Spurs. Leeds produced 1.8 xG at home against Arsenal and the same tally at home against Manchester United.
When the Peacocks went to Old Trafford, they scored twice. The task against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge won't be to break down a settled defense in front of them. That's been a challenge they've struggled with. But Leeds are still an elite disruptor with defensive flaws.
Chelsea vs Leeds United Pick
Chelsea's defensive numbers remain pretty solid overall, especially when they face passive defenses like West Ham and Spurs that aren't going to disrupt their defensive possession. But, this is a matchup that suggests a frenetic pace with a high number of turnover of possessions. That will create a chance for both attacks to get right given their really poor finishing in the last month.
As bad as Chelsea's attack has been at times, they're still producing more than 1 xG per match when facing poor defenses in England.
The recency bias of poor quality of finishing has deflated this total to a flat 2.5, when I project it higher than that. I show value on the over but could see this match ending 1-1 and thus prefer to bet both teams to score yes at -120 or better.