Sheffield United vs Chelsea 7/2/21 – Full Match Report

Chelsea rise to 5th in the Premier League as The Blues grind out a win on a cold night in Yorkshire.


Pre-game:

Chelsea arrived at chilly Bramall Lane as they took on a Sheffield United side who were sat rock bottom of the Premier League. Despite their place in the standings, The Blades were carrying form and momentum into the clash, winning 4 out of their last 6 games in all competitions.


Picking up points in the fixture was crucial for both sides, as United looked to make a bid for survival, whilst the visitors have their sights on a top 4 finish to secure Champions League football for next season.


Chris Wilder made 4 changes to his Sheffield United team, with Kean Bryan, Max Lowe, Oliver Burke and Oliver McBurnie all rotated into the starting 11. The hosts were however left short-handed with a host of players unavailable, which includes Ethan Ampadu who was ineligible to play his parent club.


For Chelsea, 3 changes were made as Ben Chilwell, Andreas Christensen and Olivier Giroud were all named in the starting line-up. Thomas Tuchel had previously earned 7 points out of a potential 9 during his first few games as Chelsea boss – keeping a clean sheet in all 3 of those games.


First half:

Since their promotion to the Premier League at the beginning of last season, Sheffield United have enjoyed a relatively positive record against Chelsea – earning 4 points out of the 3 games played previously. The opening 30 seconds nearly saw an early goal for The Blades, with McBurnie finding Burke who looked set to score as he ran through on goal.


The striker instead fell just short, with his effort just brushing Mendy’s side netting.


Chelsea responded well and came close to the opener themselves, as Mateo Kovačić played a brilliant ball to Timo Werner who had timed his run perfectly. The German beat Ramsdale to the ball, with his effort on goal being denied by a brilliant piece of defending from Chris Basham.


On the 11th minute, Basham was involved once again, but this time being brought down in the penalty area by defender Ben Chilwell. Referee Kevin Friend originally pointed to the penalty spot, but to Chelsea’s relief the decision was overturned by VAR with Basham being accused of being in an offside position.


Despite the early chances, the first half was fairly cagey with The Blues seeing a lot of the ball, yet struggling to break down a rigid Sheffield side who were pressing and defending excellently.


It was a difficult first half for the visitors, who eventually got their opener through Mason Mount just minutes before the break.


It was a simple move from Chelsea which saw Timo Werner brilliantly set up Mount inside the penalty area, who slotted home on his weaker foot. Tuchel and Chelsea had breathing space going into the second half, with Wilder’s side having their work to do.


Second half:

After losing star man Thiago Silva to injury during the week, Chelsea was hoping for no more injuries with a tough schedule approaching. The opening few minutes to the second period saw both Reece James and Olivier Giroud go down with knocks. However, fortunately for The Blues the pair was able to run it off.


On the 54th minute, Tuchel’s strong Chelsea defence crumbled, as Sheffield United equalised through a catastrophic piece of defending from Antonio Rüdiger.


The German looked to play a simple pass back to Mendy, who was already off his line with the next goal gaping. The poor communication resulted in the German passing the ball into his own net, with Chelsea’s 1 goal lead suddenly being erased.


However, the disastrous defending didn’t hurt The Blues for too long, as they were level just 4 minutes later as Jorginho converted a Chelsea penalty to make it 2-1.


Just a minute after the own goal, Timo Werner was through on goal and brought down by Aaron Ramdale inside the penalty area. Despite Kevin Friend originally dismissing the incident, VAR came to Chelsea’s rescue for the second time in the game – leading to Jorginho scoring his second penalty in two games.


It was end-to-end action at Bramall Lane, as on the 59th minute Oliver McBurnie was brought down in the penalty area by Rüdiger. Once again, Kevin Friend thought nothing off the challenge, and this time his decision was supported by VAR.


Despite his mistake, Antonio Rüdiger ensured that he did everything that he could to rectify his error. The German defender came close to scoring on the 66th minute, and also defended excellently later on in the game to keep the match at 2-1.


Although they were trailing, The Blades did everything they could to get back into the game. Both Rhian Brewster and Billy Sharp had opportunities to make an impact from the bench in the dying stages of the game, but Chelsea hung on and clinched all three points in South Yorkshire.


After the whistle:

Despite their best attempts, Sheffield United were defeated to Tuchel’s Chelsea, remaining in bottom place of the Premier League. There were promising signs from Chris Wilder’s side, who are next in action on Wednesday night as they host Bristol City in the FA Cup.


On the other hand, a well fought win for Thomas Tuchel sees his team win their third game in a row, as Chelsea remains undefeated under the German’s reign. On Thursday night, Chelsea returns to South Yorkshire as they face Barnsley at Oakwell in the FA Cup.


Final score:

Sheffield United 1-2 Chelsea

- Mount (43’)

- Rüdiger (OG, 54’)

- Jorgiho (58’)


Man of the match:

Timo Werner (Chelsea)


Line-ups:

Sheffield United: Ramsdale; Basham, Egan, Bryan (68’); Bogle, Lundstram, Norwood (86’), Fleck, Lowe; Burke (62’), McBurnie.

- Subs: McGoldrick (62’), Sharp (68’), Brewster (86’).


Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta ©, Christensen, Rüdiger; James, Jorginho, Kovačić, Chilwell (62’); Mount, Werner (75’), Giroud (62’).

- Subs: Alonso (62’), Hudson-Odoi (62’), Kanté (75’).

Referee:

Kevin Friend


Possession:

Sheffield United (31%) vs Chelsea (69%)


Shots:

Sheffield United (8) vs Chelsea (9)

Shots on target:

Sheffield United (3) vs Chelsea (3)

Corners:

Sheffield United (1) vs Chelsea (8)

Fouls:

Sheffield United (8) vs Chelsea (8)

- (statistics via BBC Sport)


Match highlights:

- (video via Sky Sports Football)

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