Chelsea bottled a two-goal lead from the first half as they were held to a 2-2 draw by newly-promoted Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The game was evenly contested in the opening stages, with both the teams looking up for the challenge. However, it was the Blues who broke the deadlock, with striker Tammy Abraham capitalising on a mistake from the Blades’ goalkeeper Dean Henderson to make it 1-0 in the 19th minute.
The England international pounced on another mistake from the visitors as a headed clearance fell kindly to him and he made no mistake to make it 2-0 for Chelsea heading into the half-time. But, Sheffield United struck back immediately after the restart as Callum Robinson made amends for his first half miss, applying the finishing touches on Enda Stevens’s cross.
Ten minutes later, Henderson denied Abraham his hat-trick, keeping Sheffield United in the game as they pressed in search of an equaliser. And it finally came in the 89th minute when Robinson’s cross from the left-side took a deflection off of Kurt Zouma and ended in the back of Chelsea’s net, to complete the visitors’ fightback.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 31, 2019
It was another disappointing defensive display from Frank Lampard’s men as they failed to hold on to a two-goal lead and came away with just a point from a game which they were expected to win easily. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Chelsea superstars on Saturday.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper had nothing to do in the first half as Sheffield United did not get a single shot on target. Not a lot he could have done about either of the Blades’ goals. Had one straightforward stop to make from a long-distance effort, which he did with no fuss.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 4/10
The Chelsea captain started well with his overlapping runs on the right side causing the visitors some problems. Hit in a good cross in the lead-up to his side’s opening goal, but defensively he was once again far from solid. Allowed Robinson to get in front of him to get on the end of a cross, which the forward should have scored from.
Was beaten way too easily by Enda Stevens in the lead-up to Sheffield United’s opening goal, before failing to stop Robinson from firing in a cross, which led to the equaliser. A serious dip in form for the Spaniard, who could find himself out of the side once academy graduate Reece James returns to full fitness.
Fikayo Tomori: 7/10
Replacing Andreas Christensen in the backline, the 21-year-old Tomori had a fairly solid full debut. Looked calm and composed with the ball at his feet and his passing was crisp and accurate as well. Defended well for most of the game as well and looks a much better in the side in comparison to his defensive partner on the day. Confident display.
Kurt Zouma: 5/10
Started the game fairly well making a few strong tackles, but once again caught out in the two big moments of the game that ended up costing Chelsea a win. Lost Robinson in the moment leading to the first goal, while he misjudged the forward’s cross and ended up slashing his clearance into his own net. Still seems to lack confidence when trying to play out from the back.
Emerson Palmieri: 7/10
Another impressive display from the Italian international as he was a constant danger with his forward forays down the left flank in the first period, putting in a couple of dangerous crosses. Held himself back a bit after the break and defended well, with the visitors having very little joy on his side, but failed to help Chelsea protect the lead.
Continuing his impressive start to the season, Jorginho once again displayed his class as he controlled the proceedings from the middle in the first period. Played a key role in the build-up to the second Chelsea goal and almost got an assist soon after when he played Mason Mount in.
Defensively, he was pretty sound as well, dispossessing the opponents on a number of occasions, although his lack of pace and physicality made things a bit easier for Sheffield United to get past him at times.
Mateo Kovacic: 7.5/10
The Croatian international looks much sharper than he did in the last season as he constantly drove forward from the middle of the park, with his dribbling runs causing the opposition problems. Should have found the net after some brilliant interplay in the first half, but fired his effort wide. Worked extremely hard defensively as well before being subbed off.
Christian Pulisic: 6/10
An industrious display from the USMNT superstar, but he failed to make a decisive impact on the game. Worked hard on and off the ball on his flank, however he never quite got into the thick of things. Did pressurise Henderson into spilling the ball leading to the opening goal and drew a few fouls, but needs to do more.
Ross Barkley: 5/10
Apart from a couple of neat touches and some sharp link-up play early on, the England international struggled for most of his time on the field. Conceded possession on way more occasions than he or his manager would have liked, while his passing was off the radar as well and his decision-making questionable. A far cry from his pre-season form.
Mason Mount: 5.5/10
Starting in an unfamiliar role on the left flank, the youngster tried hard to influence the proceedings, but he couldn’t quite manage to get going. There was no lack of effort, but apart from a dangerous shot soon after Abraham’s second, Mount did not do anything else noteworthy.
Tammy Abraham: 9/10
Once again the star of the show for Chelsea. After his match-winning double against Norwich last weekend, Abraham was at it again as he pounced on Henderson’s spill to open the scoring and then punished another defensive error from the visitors to double his side’s advantage. Denied a hat-trick by the goalkeeper in the second half.
Apart from the two goals, the striker also impressed with his sharp movement and his work-rate off the ball. Came off to a rousing ovation. Great signs for Chelsea.
Replaced Barkley at the hour mark and wasn’t much of an improvement on the Englishman. Misplaced a number of his passes, lacked the final ball to hurt the visitors. Not hard to see why he finds himself out of the starting XI.
Michy Batshuayi: N/A
Came on for Abraham in the 84th minute, marking his first appearance of the 2019-20 season. Had little time to make any impact.
Billy Gilmour: N/A
A special moment for the teenager when he replaced the injured Kovacic in the 84th minute to make his Premier League debut. In hindsight, a wrong call from Lampard as he should have thrown on a defender to protect his side’s slender lead in the final few minutes.