Chelsea will be looking to pick up their second win of the 2019-20 Premier League season, when they take on Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United on Saturday.
Having picked up their first competitive win under Frank Lampard last weekend, Chelsea will be aiming to build on that when they clash against newly-promoted Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge on matchday four of the 2019-20 Premier League.
After picking up just a solitary point from their first two fixtures against Manchester United and Leicester City, Chelsea registered their first win of the season, beating Norwich City 3-2 in a highly entertaining encounter at Carrow Road.
Chelsea currently occupy the thirteenth place in the Premier League table with four points – same as fifth-placed Manchester United, but boasting a negative goal difference. And manager Lampard will be hoping that his team break into the top half of the standings with a victory before the international break.
Sheffield United have made a promising start to life in the English top-flight. The Blades, also with four points, sit in the ninth place in the league table, having drawn their opening fixture against Bournemouth before beating Crystal Palace in their second outing.
Chris Wilder’s men though, were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City in the league last weekend. However, the Blades did return to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup during the midweek and will be aiming to build on that with another solid performance against their esteemed opponents.
Ahead of what will be the first meeting between Chelsea and Sheffield United in over a decade, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both sets of teams.
Team News & Tactics
Chelsea will not be able to call upon the services of midfield mainstay N’Golo Kante, who is out with an ankle injury, while Pedro will also miss out with a thigh problem. Antonio Rudiger will be involved with the Under-23s as he works towards gaining full fitness. Academy products Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James are all ruled out as well.
There is no looking past Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks for Chelsea. There are unlikely to be any changes in the backline as well, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson Palmieri lining up as the full-backs on either side of the centre-back pairing of Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma, who haven’t yet been quite convincing.
Jorginho is a guaranteed starter at the base of the midfield for Chelsea. And with Kante unavailable for the game, Lampard will stick with the duo of Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley to complete his three-man midfield against the Blades this weekend.
Mason Mount should start on the left side of the attacking trident and look to cause problems cutting in from the wide areas, while new boy Christian Pulisic is a certainty on the opposite flank. Spearheading the attack for the Blues will be academy man Tammy Abraham, who will be high on confidence after his match-winning performance in the previous fixture.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho, Barkley; Pulisic, Abraham, Mount.
Kean Bryan is ruled out for Chris Wilder’s side after picking up an injury in the midweek tie against Blackburn Rovers. Midfielder John Fleck was not risked for the cup clash and will undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability for the Chelsea clash. There are no other injury concerns for Sheffield United.
The Blades will line up in their established 3-5-2 formation with the wing-backs providing the width going forward, while the two outside centre-backs will often try and overlap the wing-backs, creating overloads in the attacking half of the field – something that Chelsea will need to be wary of on Saturday.
On-loan Manchester United stopper Dean Henderson is the obvious choice in goal with the three-man backline of Chris Basham, John Egan and Jack O’Connell returning to shield him against the home team’s attack after being rested for the midweek game. George Baldock and Enda Stevens will be the full-backs on the right and left flanks respectively.
Oliver Norwood is a guaranteed starter in the middle of the park and will be partnered by summer signing John Lundstram. Ravel Morrison impressed in the midweek clash, but is unlikely to start against Chelsea and with Fleck still not 100% fit, Luke Freeman should feature in a slightly advanced position in the middle compared to the other two midfielders.
Oli McBurnie and captain Billy Sharp started the cup tie against Blackburn and are likely to be benched on Saturday, with David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson forming the two-pronged strikeforce for Sheffield United.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Freeman, Stevens; McGoldrick, Robinson.
1. Under 2.5 Match Goals @ 2.10
2. Sheffield United Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 1.700
1. Sheffield United Clean Sheet – YES @ 8.00
- This will be the first meeting between the two teams in twelve years. The last time Chelsea and Sheffield United clashed was in March 2007, in the Premier League, with the Blues winning 3-0 at home.
- Sheffield United have not picked up a win at Stamford Bridge since 1992, when they defeated the home side 2-1 in a Premier League encounter.
- Chelsea have lost only three of their 80 home Premier League games against newly-promoted opposition (W66 D11 L3).
- Sheffield United have only won two of their last 22 top-flight matches in London (W2 D5 L15) – however, both wins were at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, in March and October 1992.
- Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has scored more goals than any other English player in the top two tiers of English football since the start of last season (including play-offs), with his double against Norwich City last weekend taking his tally to 28 strikes.
Player to Watch
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has made a great start to life in the Premier League, establishing himself as a key member of Frank Lampard’s setup. Mount, so far, has found the back of the net on two occasions in three matches, with his goal against Norwich last weekend a thing of beauty.
Apart from his eye for goal, the Chelsea youngster has caught everyone’s eye with his sharp movement and link-up play and has been duly rewarded with a call-up to the England national team for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers. Mount will be hoping to go into the international break with another goal or two in his kitty as he looks to earn his first cap for the Three Lions.
Chelsea 2-1 Sheffield United
Chelsea finally got their first competitive victory under Lampard last time out against Norwich City. And while things are looking bright for them in the final third of the pitch with Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic impressing, the defence has been anything but convincing, with Kurt Zouma especially struggling.
Sheffield United have impressed in each of their three fixtures till date. However, they do seem to lack that bit of quality upfront to hurt the Chelsea defence that has looked shaky so far this season. And that is why, we at The Hard Tackle are backing Lampard’s Blues to pick up three points at home this weekend.