Leeds United suffered a major blow to their hopes of escaping the relegation zone as a 3-0 win for Chelsea kept the Whites in the bottom three.
It was far from an ideal start for Leeds after Chelsea took the lead within four minutes. Reece James chopped in past Pascal Struijk before teeing up Mason Mount, who finished with power and accuracy into the top corner after arriving in the box.
Chelsea could have gone two up before 10 minutes were on the clock. Mount was set up again but his first-time effort was stopped just ahead of the line.
Leeds began getting nearer the territory they would have preferred as a corner eventually led to half a chance for Diego Llorente, but his shot was wide.
However, things got worse for them when the referee brandished a red card to Daniel James for a foul on Mateo Kovacic. He initially played the ball, but followed through off the ground with his studs showing.
Thus, for the second game in a row, Leeds had to navigate more than an hour with 10 men. Kovacic, meanwhile, had to be substituted off, replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Chelsea had the ball in the net again soon after when Romelu Lukaku dinked it over Illan Meslier. However, the flag was up.
Lukaku had another chance moments later, but his header fell wide.
Leeds were also forced into a first-half change of their own, when Junior Firpo had to come on for Jack Harrison.
Next, Meslier made a good save to deny Christian Pulisic from close range, but once again it wouldn’t have counted because of offside anyway.
First scorer Mount sets up second goal
There was nothing Meslier could do to stop Chelsea doubling their lead inside the first 10 minutes of the second half. Mount laid it off for Pulisic, who picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Pulisic then tried to curl a third in for Chelsea after Rodrigo had conceded possession for Leeds. However, the American missed the target.
Lukaku also dragged an effort wide after cutting in from the right onto his left foot.
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0 seconds of 2 minutes, 9 secondsVolume 90%
Chelsea were controlling possession and one move saw every pass cheered before Mount missed the target.
There appeared to be another injury concern for Leeds when Raphinha was replaced by Joe Gelhardt within the final 15 minutes. It is not what they need going into the final couple of games.
Next, there was yet another chance for Lukaku, whose latest effort was deflected behind for a corner. Nothing of note came from it.
Lukaku completes Chelsea win
The Belgian frontman finally got his goal in within the last 10 minutes. Llorente lost the ball for Leeds before Hakim Ziyech took it forward for the Blues. He played it to Lukaku in the middle, who despite a heavy first touch guided the ball to a shooting angle to make it three.
It was a deserved moment for a striker who has not scored as many as expected this season, but was involved plenty on the night.
At the other end, Robin Koch found himself in unfamiliar territory. All he could do was head the ball over the bar after a cross had created a decent chance.
It was the closest Leeds came in all honesty; Chelsea were deserving winners.
Thanks to their three points, Chelsea are close to confirming Champions League qualification. In fact, their place in Europe’s top tournament will be confirmed if Arsenal beat or draw with Tottenham on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Leeds are level on points with 17th-placed Burnley. But the Whites have now played a game more and have a much worse goal difference. They now have just two more attempts to climb out of the relegation zone.