Leeds United v Chelsea, Capital One Cup: Where to Watch Live, Preview, Probable Teams
By Chandrashekar Srinivasan | December 19, 2012 9:46 PM EST
Chelsea travel to Elland Road on Wednesday evening, looking for redemption for a lacklustre performance in the FIFA Club World Cup final and a chance to progress to the semi final of the Capital One Cup.
And with Arsenal having been eliminated by League Two side Bradford City, the Blues must know they have an excellent chance of winning their first trophy of the season and third this calendar year.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 7.45 pm GMT and live coverage is on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD. Live radio commentary will be available on BBC Radio 5 live.
Much of the focus ahead of this game has been on potential crowd control problems at Elland Road. Chelsea and Leeds supporters are not the best of friends and a rivalry that has been dormant since 2004 is likely to erupt again on Wednesday evening. And the West Yorkshire police commander, Chief Superintendent Paul Money, has admitted concerns over disorderly conduct... or worse, violence.
"I'll ask the managers of both teams to speak to the players and ask them to avoid doing anything which may antagonise supporters from the opposition team," he stressed, adding, "Experienced football intelligence officers from the Metropolitan police will be working alongside West Yorkshire officers to identify any troublemakers. We will not hesitate to take firm action against any fans who cause disorder or use violence."
Fact: The last meeting between these sides was in 2004 - a Premier League match at Elland Road - which finished 1-1
Also off the pitch, Elland Road officials have been forced to limit crowd size to 35,000 seats (all sold out, according to the Guardian) as a result of an agreement with local police. However, the fact Leeds reduced number of tickets available to Chelsea supporters (to 3,000 from 5,000) is likely to be another sore point with fans.
Meanwhile, on the pitch, Neil Warnock's side have struggled in the Championship this season, with only 32 points from 22 games. The club were relegated from the Premier League after the 2003/04 season and have been unable to climb back into English top flight since; they presently trail Millwall (in the final promotion play-off position) by five points.
Recent results have been quite good for Leeds though, with the exception of a surprising 3-1 defeat to Derby County at Pride Park. That game aside, Leeds have won four of their last five games... and this includes superb home wins over second placed Crystal Palace (2-1) and fifth placed Leicester City (1-0). Confidence, therefore, is likely to be high for the home side, particularly since they come into this game on the back of a 2-0 Championship home win against Ipswich Town.
Fact: Chelsea have never lost to Leeds in a cup competition; their biggest win was in 1952, when the Blues won 5-1 at Villa Park in a second replay
Chelsea, meanwhile, come into this after a poor performance in the final of the Club World Cup. Much was expected of the Champions League winners in Japan, particularly with Spaniard Rafael Benitez at the helm.
Unfortunately, the side could not reproduce the style with which they beat Mexican club CF Monterrey in the semi final. The Blues succumbed to a header from Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero in the final against Corinthians. Brazilian defender David Luiz and his teenaged compatriot Lucas Piazon were both scathing in their assessment of the Premier League club's performance.
In terms of recent results, up until the defeat to Corinthians the west London club seemed to be recovering well from the trauma of losing a second manager in 2012 alone. The sacking of Roberto Di Matteo left Benitez with a mountain to climb, both in terms of improving results and winning the fans over.
A 6-1 win, at the Bridge, over Danish club FC Nordsjaelland, in a Champions League group stage match, was followed by 3-1 wins over Sunderland and Monterrey. And everything seemed rosy. The defeat to Corinthians will come as a litmus test of Benitez's blues.
Fact: Leeds United have conceded only once in the Capital One Cup this season - a late goal from Everton's Sylvain Distin; it didn't affect the outcome of the match though, Leeds won 2-1
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W L W W W
- Last Match: Leeds United 2 - 0 Ipswich Town
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L W W W L
- Last Match: Corinthians 1 - 0 Chelsea
Warnock will hope goal keeper Jamie Ashdown is fit for this game. The 32 year old signing from Portsmouth has started three of four cup games for Leeds this season. However, if he does not recover, then first choice Patrick Kenny will step in. Midfielders Jerome Thomas and Lee Peltier are both facing minor injures but their participation is in doubt. And finally defender Alan Tate is cup-tied for the season, having already represented Swansea City earlier in the competition.
Expect Senegalese forward El-Hadji Diouf to be the focal point of Leeds' attacks. The former Liverpool and Blackburn player will likely have a point to prove to his detractors and despite his questionable temper, he is a definite goal threat.
Probable Line-Up: Kenny; Lees, Pearce, Pugh, Austin; Varney, White, Brown, Tonge, Bryan; Diouf
Chelsea are likely to be without striker Daniel Sturridge, meaning Spaniard Fernando Torres will continue up front. The £50m signing seemed to have burst back to life with five goals in three games going into the game against Corinthians. But a miss from mere yards out was illustration enough the former Liverpool forward still has work to do.
Defender Gary Cahill and midfielders John Obi Mikel and Ramires are all suspended, while captain John Terry is still recovering from a knee injury. Spanish midfielder Oriel Romeu has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
The loss of both Mikel and Ramires from midfield will stretch Benitez's squad very thin. The additional loss of former Barcelona man Romeu means either attacking midfielder Oscar will drop into a deeper central role (which he has played on occasion this season) or central defender Luiz will continue with his midfield appearances. Should the latter be Benitez's choice, then Branislav Ivanovic will need a defensive partner in the absence of Cahill and Terry.
Probable Line-Up: Cech; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Ivanovic, Cole; Lampard, Oscar; Moses, Hazard, Marin; Torres
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