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Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea, Premier League: Statistical review and analysis

The numbers behind the game

Sheffield United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images



Chelsea got off to a slow start, with Sheffield almost creating a shot off after just 20 seconds. Despite plenty of Chelsea possession, there was not much to show for it, and Sheffield instead grabbed the opener through David McGoldrick, who scored his first ever Premier League goal at the age of 32.

Sheffield defended resolutely and then hit Chelsea on the counter again as Oli McBurnie took advantage of some lax marking to score his team’s second.

Chelsea huffed and puffed in search of a goal to no avail, before McGoldrick scored his team’s third to put Chelsea out of our misery. Things could have been worse too, with Mousset missing an one-on-one chance to make it four.

There will be no stats of note for individual players since there is as nothing good to report. An all-round pitiful display.


Stats courtesy of fbref and understat.

Individual ratings

Frank Lampard

Continued with the same tactical set-up that has served the team well in the recent past. However, his lack of rotation in earlier games meant the likes of Mount and Pulisic were running on fumes and without those two, Chelsea looked a shell of our usual selves going forward.

Perhaps using the likes of Pedro, Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek more often could have prevented this scenario. This doesn’t mean they should have necessarily started, but they could have certainly played a larger role coming off the bench.

Lampard’s hands were tied regarding the defensive midfield position.


Sheffield United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Pulled off a reasonably good (by his standards) save before the first goal before parrying it straight into danger. His lack of movement for the second goal, despite the shot falling relatively close to him, was totally bizarre. Misjudged an one-on-one scenario with Mousset but wasn’t made to pay for it thanks to poor finishing.

It’s all good talking about how the team’s defence is not good but when can fans and the club start expecting Kepa to bail the team out? If the team needed a goalkeeper who was only going to keep the easiest shots out, what is the need for a one who cost a world-record fee and obscenely high wages?


Reece James

Put in a nice cross to Pulisic in the early stages but that was his best moment of the game. His poor judgement led to him being caught out for the first two goals. Chelsea’s strategy in the last 30 minutes revolved around James putting in as many crosses as he could and it was not exactly successful.


Andreas Christensen

His form has dipped considerably ever since the Manchester City game. His ball-progression, concentration and reading of the game were all below-par. Continues to pick up knocks seemingly every game.


Kurt Zouma

The best of a bad bunch in defence. Did nothing calamitous but was not his usual self either. Did his best to cope with Sheffield’s two strikers aerially and play out as much as he could but had virtually no support.


César Azpilicueta

His limitations as a left-footed right back were laid bare against Sheffield, who were happy to left him have the ball in the confidence that he would not cause major damage. He was helpless to prevent Chelsea’s defensive rot.


Sheffield United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus


So this is why he’s been the absolute last option in midfield for Lampard. Clogged up passing options for the centre backs by taking the wrong positions, failed to move the ball quick enough when he did receive it, and was a total passenger defensively.

Pointing and shouting is a good “leadership” attribute to have, but what is the use if every pass is going to be underhit and only made after taking 3 touches? His movement off the ball to make himself available for passes was very poor too. He was hilariously brushed aside every time he tried to compete physically.

Jorginho’s last three starts — Sheffield, Bayern and Bournemouth — rank among the worst individual displays by a Chelsea player this season and are a big sign of why his time at the club is running out.

While it is not fair to blame Jorginho for everything, the difference in Chelsea’s speed on and off the ball with Kante/Gilmour and with Jorginho is stark.


Ross Barkley

Barkley’s performance levels are typically tied to those of the midfielders around him. Mount was too fatigued to make an impact and Jorginho had a nightmare, meaning there was nothing Barkley could do to change the game. The intention to make a difference can’t be questioned, the quality was just not there.


Sheffield United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus

Mason Mount

Mount has played a big role in every game since the restart (including the appearance off the bench against West Ham) and the effects of non-stop football showed against Sheffield. His usual speed of thought and intensity were not present and without them, Mount is not Mount.


Christian Pulisic

Like Mount, fatigue likely affected the way Pulisic played. These two are both 21-year-olds in their debut Premier League seasons. It is unfair to expect them to carry the team every three days.

Pulisic struggled to execute any of his ambitious moves and his mental sharpness was at its usual levels either. While he has never been the best final third passer, his unwillingness to pass the ball cost Chelsea a couple promising positions — though there is no guarantee that the team would have made anything of them.


Tammy Abraham

Tammy is unlikely to look back at this game with many fond memories. His poor runs off the ball, poor strength and lack of aerial ability were a big reason why he struggled as much as he did. However, playing as a lone centre forward against a back three is never easy and he was feeding off scraps.

His display in the second half improved and he got off some good shots but his finishing boots were missing. There were two reasonably good chances — one from a corner and another a free header from a cross — at least one of which should have been converted into a goal. Improvements are needed sooner rather than later.



Did not continue his recent good form either. He tried making things happen but his efforts did not pay off. Like the rest of the team, he had an off-night as well.



Sheffield United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus

Antonio Rüdiger
Brought on to replace Christensen and did not have the desired impact. It was his poor clearance that led to the third goal, although he did not have much to do otherwise in the game.

Marcos Alonso
His introduction facilitated Chelsea’s move to a back-three and while he made a reasonable impact, it did not manifest into anything productive.

Olivier Giroud
Improved Chelsea’s attacking dynamic when he came on to play alongside Tammy Abraham. His presence made it a tad trickier for Sheffield’s back three but ultimately he could not produce a goal or an assist.

Callum Hudson-Odoi
Was given just 15 minutes and created a good chance for Tammy, which was missed. Did not do much of note otherwise.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Did not do much of note.

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