During the entire first half of the season, Sheffield United were struggling to amount to anything outside of being a sure relegation candidate. But their fortunes started to change just in time to face the burgeoning Chelsea side under Thomas Tuchel command, with five victories — their first this season — in their last seven matches.
They almost got things going well for them from kick-off, with striker Oli McBurnie feeding striker Oliver Burke for a one-minute goal. 11 minutes later, a penalty foul in favour of Sheffield was called off thanks to centre-back Chris Basham being offside.
Those were Sheffield’s most dangerous moments, provided when they decided to drop “turtle formation” to stop Chelsea attacking moves from evolving within their penalty box. While the Blues were more than comfortable with having the ball to themselves, the hosts were also comfortable with holding onto a goalless draw at home — or so it seemed from their first half display.
They however would not be able to do so thanks to a great play found by Timo Werner nearly at the end of the half. A good run from the German blew open Sheffield’s tight defence, while at the same time creating space for Mason Mount to take a first-time shot at the hosts’ goal. Advantage, Chelsea.
Chelsea’s advantage would be lost and then quickly regained in the second half. An egregious error by Antonio Rüdiger would turn into an own goal against the Blues. Thankfully Werner was quick on the trigger and on a run that lead to a penalty foul and spot kick, rightfully converted by Jorginho.
From our second goal on, Sheffield tried their utmost to get a point back. But Chelsea were again back to their ball retention gameplan, keeping the ball to ourselves and defending with might when needed.
- A few changes taking place in Chelsea’s lineup today. Andreas Christensen takes over from Thiago Silva in the central slot of our three-man defensive line, while Ben Chilwell returns to left wing-back in place of Marcos Alonso. Upfront, Callum Hudson-Odoi makes way to veteran Olivier Giroud.
- Subs are Hudson-Odoi for Giroud, Alonso for Chilwell and N’Golo Kanté for Timo Werner.
- Blades fighting tooth and nail for the title of most annoying Premier League team ever since Stoke City got stuck in the Championship.
- Mason Mount is a revelation.
- Tuchel’s clean sheet streak comes to an end, but not with an opponent goal. Still unbeaten, then?
- Next up: Barnsley in the FA Cup’s fifth round.