BBC pundit names one player Chelsea missed most in Leeds defeat
Pat Nevin said Chelsea were outmatched in the midfield area in an overall poor performance which led to their 3-0 defeat to Leeds United on Sunday.
As Thomas Tuchel himself pointed out after the game, “everything that could go wrong, did go wrong” for Chelsea in this game.
Defensively, they struggled to cope with the pace of Leeds players, especially on the counter. While offensively, the fact that Illan Meslier only had to make three relatively easy saves tells the story.
However, according to Nevin, it was in midfield that Chelsea really missed their engine, N’Golo Kante.
“Very few would have predicted that,” the former Scotland international told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Chelsea were very poor, like they were against Everton, but 3-0 is a huge result for Leeds United.
“Tactically they [Newcastle] got it spot on.
“Chelsea without Kante were swamped in the midfield. They will get a lot of stick for this.”
Unfortunately for Chelsea, Tuchel previously confirmed that Kante could be out for several weeks due to a “quite serious” injury.
The France international is not only important defensively, but his ability to drive with the ball in midfield, which is often overlooked, often plays a big part in Chelsea’s attacking plan.
In the first half, Nevin also highlighted how Leeds were putting pressure on Conor Gallagher, who replaced Kante in the starting line-up, and gave him “not time at all” on the ball.
It was his Chelsea debut, and he had to play a rather unfamiliar role in a double pivot, so it was never going to be easy for him.