Football: Heat may have gone out of rivalry.
CHELSEA and Leeds have gained a reputation for producing ill-tempered and highly-charged clashes in recent seasons, but it is just possible that things have cooled between the two sides of late, writes Graham Woods.
Back in October 1998 a goalless draw between the two sides at Elland Road saw no fewer than 12 yellow cards, with Frank Leboeuf given his marchign orders by arbiter Mike Reed. The previous season it was also goalless between the teams at Stamford Bridge, but eight players were booked and Leeds' Gary Kelly and Alfe Inge Haaland were both sent off.
The table alongside shows how volatile some of the encounters have been. However, what is also evident is that the last three matches have seen just two bookings each - three players from each team.
Tonight's referee Jeff Winter took charge of last season's Worthington Cup tie , in which Chelsea's Sam Dalla Bonna and Graeme Le Saux were the only names he took. Winter also refereed the two clashes in 1999, booking five players in one and six in the other.
Blues defender John Terry revealed yesterday that he and his teammates are out to avenge last month's defeat at Elland Road, although his choice of words suggested a favourable result would be the limit of their revenge.
He said: "The manager has said it is a chance for `sporting revenge' and it is. We owe them big time.
"We were on a good run when we went to Leeds and it set us back a few weeks. There's always a little bit of spice between both sides so it would be good to beat them."
There is certainly no love lost between Leeds and their former striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, now at Stamford Bridge, but the Dutchman's ankle injury means he will play no part tonight.
For Chelsea, who reached the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to a 4-0 victory at Shrewsbury on Sunday, tonight's game is their second in three days, but manager Claudio Ranieri, although unhappy with the fixture pile-up, says his players will have to deal with it.
He said: "Everyone's unhappy about playing after just one day off and it won't be easy but we will be ready. We don't have much time to recover but they are the rules and we respect them.
"We are all professionals, all athletes and we will be fit enough to go into the game."
Match specials - Bet 365: Evs Chelsea to keep a clean sheet, 6-4 Chelsea to win to nil, 13-8 Leeds to win either half, 5-2 Chelsea to score three or more, 10-3 Chelsea to win both halves, 7-2 Leeds to keep a clean sheet, 9-2 Chelsea to miss a penalty, 13-2 Chelsea to win from behind, Leeds to win to nil.
John Terry `We owe them'
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Jan 28, 2003|
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