Timo Werner was impressive, but Ben Chilwell disappointed as Chelsea eked out a narrow 2-1 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday.
Chelsea were a little slow off the blocks as Oliver Burke saw a fine opening coming his way inside the opening minute, only to miss the target from close range. The visitors slowly found their feet and as half-time approached, it was clear that the deadlock would soon be broken, having seen Sheffield United avoid conceding by the merest of margins on a few occasions.
The Blues finally grabbed a well-deserved lead just two minutes ahead of half-time, as Mason Mount produced a composed finish after some fine work by Timo Werner. Early into the second half, though, Sheffield United found a way back into the game, thanks to a mix-up between Antonio Rudiger and Edouard Mendy, with the former scoring an own goal.
Shortly after, however, Chelsea grabbed the lead again, as Werner earned a penalty after being brought down by Aaron Ramsdale. Jorginho stepped up to take the spot-kick and made no error in converting it. That goal was enough to earn a narrow win over Sheffield United, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Edouard Mendy: 6/10
Antonio Rudiger’s decision making for the own goal did leave a lot to be desired, but Mendy had no reason to charge forward and he should have done better to communicate with his teammate. Not tested a great deal otherwise, but his passing heaped some pressure on Chelsea.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
Azpilicueta made a nervy start to the game when his error saw Sheffield United nearly capitalise, only for Oliver Burke to shoot wide. The Chelsea captain, though, found stable footing thereafter and did not really put a foot wrong for the most part, although there were one or two more hairy moments.
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
With Thiago Silva out injured, Christensen was handed a rare start, and the Dane impressed quite a bit. Superbly kept a check on Oliver McBurnie all throughout while winning 8 duels. Made 3 critical clearances as well while boasting an impressive passing rate of 92 percent.
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Rudiger, who scored that inexplicable own goal, but defended smartly for the most part otherwise, notably making two massive tackles in the second half. Having said that, he should have conceded a corner instead of attempting that baffling back-pass for the own goal.
Reece James: 6/10
Saw a lot of the ball, but did not utilise it as well as he potentially can. Despite spending a great deal of time in the Sheffield United half, James’s dangerous deliveries were missing, with the English defender a bit reluctant to send in the crosses. Not too troubled defensively, though.
82% – Nine of Jorginho's 11 Premier League goals have come from the penalty spot (82%) – this is the highest ratio of any player with 10+ goals in the competition's history. Specialist. pic.twitter.com/3fijuMtR6P
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 7, 2021
Along with Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho worked well to ensure that Chelsea dictated the flow of the game, although there were a few sloppy moments on the ball as well in the moments when Sheffield United were on top. Calm as you like from the spot.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
Coming on the back of a fine display against Tottenham Hotspur, Kovacic did well to control the proceedings from the middle of the park. Had the most touches on the ball (121) and ensured that he recycled the ball smartly while also creating a fine opening in the first half. Worked hard off the ball, as is usually the case with him.
Ben Chilwell: 5/10
Reinstated in the starting lineup, Chilwell had a chance to impress Tuchel, but the Englishman squandered his opportunity. Conceded a penalty in the first half before being bailed out by VAR. Carried little threat going forward and rightly made way for Marcos Alonso.
Mason Mount: 7/10
Having earned Tuchel’s trust, Mount earned another start against Sheffield United. Not as creative as he usually is and he did have some wasteful moments on the ball as well. However, the English midfielder made no error in finding the back of the net after being found by Werner.
Timo Werner: 8/10
Played off of the central striker instead of leading the line, and Werner looked much more at ease in such a role. Nearly ended his Premier League goal drought with a deft effort, only to be denied by Chris Basham. However, Werner made sure he made the difference in the game, first setting up Mount for the opener before winning the match-winning penalty. Confidence boosting display.
🍾Man of the Match🍾 – @ChelseaFC's Timo Werner
𝗠𝗼𝘀𝘁 touches in box
Assisted opening goal
Won penalty for winning goal
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 7, 2021
Olivier Giroud: 5/10
Preferred over Tammy Abraham for the central striker’s berth, Giroud endured a frustrating night, as he was left isolated for large parts of his stay on the pitch. Also disappointed with his output on the ball, completing just 62 percent of his passes. A game to forget.
Marcos Alonso: 6/10
Sent on in place of Chilwell, Alonso was an upgrade over the Englishman, but did not make too much of an impact going forward this time around.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 5/10
On for Giroud, Hudson-Odoi roamed all across the park, albeit without making much of an impact.
N’Golo Kante: N/A
On for Werner for the final 15 minutes, Kane helped see the game out without much of a fuss.