This evening, a rich and historic rivalry between Leeds United and Chelsea will be dusted off and reignited, as the two sides meet in the Premier League for the first time since May 2004.
Viewership on Sky Sports may not eclipse the 28 million who watched the 1970 FA Cup final replay, but the first meeting between Marcelo Bielsa and Frank Lampard since the 2018/19 Championship play-offs will surely intrigue plenty of neutrals.
The Blues may well provide the toughest test yet for Leeds, who have failed to win in their last 12 visits to London clubs and have only beaten Chelsea twice since the turn of the millennium.
Here are how things went in the Whites’ last five encounters with the Stamford Bridge outfit, featuring James Milner’s second professional goal and Leeds’ last top-flight match for 16 years.
28 December 2002: Leeds 2-0 Chelsea (Premier League)
Leeds’ most recent victory over Chelsea was a convincing one, with first half goals from Jonathan Woodgate and 16-year-old James Milner sealing the three points.
It was an exciting time for the teenage prodigy Milner, who had become the youngest goalscorer in Premier League history just two days earlier against Sunderland.
Claudio Ranieri had gambled by making a number of changes to his side’s defence for their visit to Elland Road - a decision which proved to backfire.
The victory was part of a five-match unbeaten run from Leeds, which came after they won just five of their opening 17 matches of the season.
28 January 2003: Chelsea 3-2 Leeds (Premier League)
Exactly one month later and Chelsea had their revenge, with Dominic Matteo’s tragic own goal seven minutes from time proving fatal for the visitors.
Having equalised just three minutes earlier, current Blues manager Frank Lampard rubbed salt into the wound after his shot was deflected into the Leeds net.
Goals from Harry Kewell and Teddy Lucic either side of Eidur Gudjohnsen saw the Whites lead twice.
Despite the efforts of Paul Robinson, Chelsea made their dominance count and added to Leeds’ woes in what was another rotten run of form.
6 December 2003: Leeds 1-1 Chelsea (Premier League)
It was a clash between top and bottom of the Premier League when Chelsea visited Leeds midway through the 2002/03 season, but a battling performance helped the hosts climb off the foot of the table.
Jermaine Pennant scored his first Whites goal since joining on loan from Arsenal in style; the winger dispossessed Claude Makelele, dribbled past William Gallas and Wayne Bridge and calmly beat Carlo Cudicini from close range.
The last #Leeds player to score against #Chelsea was a 20-year-old Jermaine Pennant, on loan from Arsenal. And some goal that was too. #LUFC— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) December 17, 2012
Goalkeeper Robinson again stood strong, making a string of saves to keep Chelsea at bay until the 70th minute.
Unfortunately, the Peacocks could not hold on, and Damien Duff earned his side a point to keep them on top of the division.
15 May 2004: Chelsea 1-0 Leeds (Premier League)
Leeds United’s last Premier League match for over 16 years ended in defeat on an emotional day at Stamford Bridge.
The match also happened to be Ranieri’s last in charge of Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho beginning his first spell the following season.
The last time Chelsea & Leeds met in the PL was May 15, 2004— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 4, 2020
Claudio Ranieri's final game as Chelsea manager - a 1-0 win, finishing 2nd
⚪️ Proved to be Leeds' last PL game for 5,964 days
Live SNF: Chelsea v Leeds
⏲️ Saturday from 7.45pm, @SkySportsPL pic.twitter.com/mwpQqcQqjn
Jesper Gronkjaer scored the only goal of the game, although the hosts’ wastefulness was all that stood between Leeds and a final day drubbing.
The Whites’ last Premier League match for nearly 6,000 days could have ended on a lighter note when Pennant struck the post from a free kick.
19 December 2012: Leeds 1-5 Chelsea (League Cup)
The final scoreline between Leeds and Chelsea in their last meeting to date came as little surprise, considering one was a mid-table Championship outfit and the other was the holder of the Champions League trophy.
But Whites fans revelled in glory when, seven minutes from half time, fan favourite Luciano Becchio scored the opening goal from a deadly counter attack.
Joy quickly turned into despair as Chelsea ran riot in the second half, with Lampard among the scorers.
With Becchio drawing an end to his excellent Leeds spell a month later, this turned out to be one of his last hurrahs in a white shirt, and he certainly provided one of the brightest memories during a dark era.
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