Calamitous defending from Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger saw Chelsea slump to a 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United.

Chelsea missed out on the opportunity to gain the upper hand in the race for the top four places following a disastrous 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sheffield United on Saturday.

Despite a promising start to the game, the Blues looked clueless and abject in terms of their creative and attacking output. But, it was the defence that fared badly as several and collective errors allowed the Blades to get a firm grip on the game in the first half, thanks to goals from David McGoldrick and Oliver McBurnie.

Frank Lampard’s side came out all guns blazing in the second half by making some attacking substitutions. But, it did not pay any dividends as Sheffield United added more gloss to their scoreline through a 77th minute goal from McGoldrick, effectively sealing all three points.

Now, we, at The Hard Tackle, will run the rule over the Chelsea players after their disastrous display at Bramall Lane against Sheffield United.

Kepa Arrizabalaga: 4/10

It was another frustrating game for Kepa, whose problems at Chelsea continue. Although he did initially make a good save in the first half to deny Oliver McBurnie, the rebound fell to David McGoldrick, who found the back of the net. He was helpless for the second goal while the Spaniard could not have done much to stop the third goal either.

Reece James: 3/10

Reece James went forward well whenever Chelsea were dominating possession. But aside from one fierce shot on goal, the Englishman was not exactly effective. Not to mention, it was his lack of positioning sense that allowed Enda Stevens to put in an excellent cross from the far side for Sheffield United’s second goal.

Andreas Christensen: 2/10

Staring ahead of Antonio Rudiger, it was a miserable evening for Christensen. The ex-Borussia Monchengladbach defender struggled to impose his presence at the back and found himself largely overwhelmed by the tenacious nature of the Sheffield United attackers. Should have done a lot better when keeping tabs on McBurnie too and he eventually got hooked off at half-time.

Kurt Zouma: 3/10

Zouma had a promising start to the game. The Frenchman particularly impressed with his passes from the back, notably creating an excellent opportunity for Olivier Giroud in the second half. His defensive game, however, was poor – underwhelming would be an overstatement.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 4/10

Azpilicueta tried providing a sense of solidity at the back for Chelsea while his versatility was also useful when Lampard switched the formation in the second half. But, the Spaniard was not helped by the lack of support from his teammates.

Azpilicueta is a major doubt ahead of the visit of Southampton. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Not the best of games for Azpilicueta. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Ross Barkley: 5/10

Barkley was Chelsea’s most inspiring midfielder. His clever movements and quick passing was useful at times against Sheffield United’s systemic pressing. However, his influence eventually faded away as the Blades established further dominance in the second half.

Jorginho: 4/10

Replacing the young Billy Gilmour in the middle of the park, Jorginho was absolutely underwhelming. The Italian international was marked well by the Sheffield United players as he found it difficult to anchor the midfield and establish Chelsea’s dominance in the proceedings.

Mason Mount: 2/10

Mount was one of the worst performers on the pitch for Chelsea. The Englishman lost the ball just outside his side’s own penalty box – a turnover that eventually led to the opener from McGoldrick. While the goal changed the complexion of the tie, Mount was unable to provide any creative inspiration either and was rightly subbed off at half-time.

Willian: 3/10

Willian was barely useful on the right flank as he often got isolated and thereby dispossessed. The Brazilian was not accurate with his crosses either and was perhaps culpable for the second goal as he had lost sight of Stevens, just prior to McBurnie’s header.

Willian scored the match winning penalty. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Found lacking. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Tammy Abraham: 3/10

Surprisingly starting ahead of Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham once again struggled to make an impact. He was devoid of any supply and made only 24 touches throughout the entirety of the game. A damning decision from Lampard to start the Englishman, whose contract situation remains uncertain.

Christian Pulisic: 5/10

Among the Chelsea attackers, Christian Pulisic looked the most lively. The US international was willing to make things happen in the final third and was involved in the game too in the first half. However, he had to be sacrificed just after the hour mark as Lampard opted for another striker.

Substitutes

Marcos Alonso: 5/10

Replaced Mount at the start of the second half and operated as a wing-back as the visitors shifted to a three-man backline. His presence on the left flank offered the Blues additional attacking outlet and more width going forward, but it wasn’t enough to make any difference.

Antonio Rudiger: 2/10

Rudiger replaced Christensen just after the restart and failed to provide the solidity Chelsea fans were hoping for. On the contrary, he was caught completely napping for the third Sheffield United goal as his scuffed clearance allowed McGoldrick to net his second of the evening.

Olivier Giroud: 6/10

Giroud came on for Pulisic in the 66th minute and helped Chelsea look more threatening in front of goal. Attempted two shots on goal, one of which was a header saved by Dean Henderson.

Set for a move to Lazio? (Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Giroud looked threatening after coming on. (Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Callum Hudson-Odoi: N/A

Replaced James during the final phase of the game as Lampard opted for even more firepower. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek: N/A

A late replacement for Barkley. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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