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Chelsea vs. Sheffield United, Premier League: Preview, team news, how to watch

It doesn’t get any easier than this ... on paper

Chelsea Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Having lost back-to-back games for the first time all season, a home match against the team worst in the league by just about any sort of statistical measure, not to mention the actual results and the standings, should be precisely what the doctor ordered for an ailing (literally, and also figuratively) Chelsea bunch, looking for any sign of positivity and coherence.

Should be.

Few things have gone the way they “should” have over the past 18-24 months.

Perhaps step-by-step, we’ll right the ship. Eventually.

Date / Time: Saturday, December 16, 2023, 15.00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Andy Madley (on pitch); Peter Bankes (VAR)
Forecast: cool and breezy

On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); SuperSport Blitz, Canal+ Sport 5 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); SuperSport GOtv (NGA)

Chelsea Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea team news: It’s mostly bad news once again, with one tiny glimmer of positivity in the form of Christopher Nkunku, who’s set to make his debut, probably off the bench at some point in the second half. Hopefully we won’t actually “need” him to be at his best right away.

Beyond Nkunku (and also Malo Gusto, probably), the news is almost comically dreadful. Reece James has picked up another hamstring injury and is currently expected to miss the next three months. Once injury-proof Marc Cucurella has picked up ankle injury, and is currently getting evaluated by a specialist. You don’t go to specialists unless it’s bad. Cucurella went six years without a noteworthy injury, then he joined Chelsea. And the same goes for Robert Sánchez and his knee, which means that Đorđe Petrović will make his first start in less than ideal circumstances (us having bypassed every opportunity to get him in for a Cup match previously).

And of course Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, Carney Chukwuemeka, Lesley Ugochukwu, Trevoh Chalobah, Noni Madueke, and Roméo Lavia remain out. Lavia is back in light training at least.

Sheffield United v Brentford FC - Premier League Photo by SportImage/Sheffield United FC via Getty Images

Sheffield United team news: Paul Heckingbottom became the third manager sacked this season in the Premier League when he was relieved ten days ago. His replacement was the manager he once himself replaced, Chris Wilder, returning for a second spell. Ah, modern football!

Wilder led the Blades to victory last weekend against Brentford, which means they are now level at the very bottom of the league with Burnley on 8 points. United still comfortably lead the league with 41 goals conceded, scoring just 12 (in 16 games), which is the lowest. Their goal difference, at negative-29, is a whopping 11 worse than the next worse team. they have 1 point from their 7 away matches so far.

Like Chelsea, United have had more than their fair share of injuries, including long-term absences for the likes of Chris Basham, Rhian Brewster, and Tom Davies. Minutes-leader Jack Robinson will miss out at center back due to suspension; but key midfielder Oliver Norwood will be back from his own suspension, as will backup striker Oli McBurnie — who has as many goals as red cards (2 each), to lead the team.

Previously: After collecting just one tragic point against Sheffield United in 2019-20, including a most terrible 3-0 defeat at Bramall Lane, we did the double over them in their previous Premier League campaign, in 2020-21, adding a 2-0 win in the FA Cup as well that season. Overall, we haven’t lost to them at the Bridge since 1992 (though that was only eleven match-ups ago).

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