Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is a veteran on the pitch, but not as a coach. He is still learning the ropes in his new occupation, and that always comes with some adaptations.
That is what we might have gotten today against Sheffield United. From kickoff, we did not get to see the usual havoc of the high-pressing Chelsea that was employed in previous matches. The Blues seemed a bit more patient with their build-up, exchanging more passes before launching pinpoint passes forward for striker Tammy Abraham to get his chances.
On his fourth attempt, the 21-year-old got his score. After a fumble from goalkeeper Dean Henderson, Tammy showed his centre-forward spirit by poaching his first goal at Stamford Bridge.
The more patient playing style served also to cool down Sheffield’s spirits just enough for Kepa not to get in trouble as much as he did in other matches. There was in fact a close shave from Callum Robinson, but his header went too wide in what was the clearest chance for the Blades.
But the bulk of good plays came from Chelsea. Mateo Kovacic almost got his first goal ever for the Blues after yet another one of his great runs from midfield. Meanwhile Tammy got his second goal of the match on yet another mistake from Sheffield, this time from a pair of centre-backs who clashed heads over a Jorginho lobbied pass.
The second half would be a bit more nervy. Chelsea had been far from perfect with their passing in the first half, and our defence sans Antonio Rüdiger remains quite shaky. And in what was a repeat of times under Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea got burned by Robinson less than a minute after coming out of the tunnels from half-time.
With Chelsea not doing much to further their slim one-goal advantage, Sheffield were allowed to simply grow into the match by continuing to attack César Azpilicueta’s flank. Their second goal would come from there, with Kurt Zouma deflecting a cross into Kepa’s goal.
Two goal lead, blown. Just like that.
- Centre-back Fikayo Tomori gets his first start with Chelsea, replacing Andreas Christensen who is out due to injury. This is the only change from the lineup that beat Norwich 3-2 last weekend.
- TAMMY ABRAHAM FIRST TWO STAMFORD BRIDGE GOALS KLAXON!
- This is very reminiscent of Sarri. Both in good and bad ways.
- Subs are Willian for Ross Barkley, Michy Batshuayi for Kovacic and Billy Gilmour (in his Chelsea debut!) for Tammy.
- Next up: Wolverhampton at the Molineux for the Premier League, once the upcoming international break is over.
- And as always, remember to be nice to each other.