A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s home Premier League match against Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge.
This weekend’s set of Premier League matches sees The Blues host Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge. The Blades are the second newly promoted team that Chelsea will have encountered in a row, after gaining their first victory of the season away at Norwich City last weekend.
Chelsea’s home record against teams who have just arrived in the top flight is very impressive, with only 1 loss in the last 54 encounters. Add to that they are up against the favourites to be relegated at the end of the season and this should be a clear victory for The Blues.
However, Frank Lampard is still missing quite a few players. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are long term absentees, while Antonio Rudiger is still struggling to regain full match fitness. The German defender played a full 90 for Chelsea’s development squad on Friday night as he tries to be ready to regain his place in the first team.
N’Golo Kante and Reece James are also unavailable, while Pedro is still out with the knock he took in the warm up at Norwich. However, Mason Mount has recovered from the knock which forced him off late on against The Canaries.
So the manager is likely to name virtually the same side who overcame a very adventurous side last Saturday.
Sheffield United lost their first match of the season last weekend, at home to Leicester City. Chris Wilder’s side have started their campaign well, but this is a different situation for them. An away fixture at a top 6 side may be a level beyond their capabilities.
However, Frank was impressed with their form last season in The Championship. His Derby County side beat The Blades at home, but were beaten at Bramall Lane. They play with a blend of ability and grit. They are a physical side who will give no quarter and this may fair well against a not overly physical Chelsea team.
The other trait of note shown by Wilder’s team so far is that they have scored in the second half of all 3 of their matches so far. They were relatively lacklustre in the first half against Leicester last Saturday, but showed a lot more endeavour in the second period.
Tammy Abraham scored for Aston Villa against them last season and will be looking to continue his fine scoring form from last weekend.
With Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen gaining more of a partnership in central defence, and the growing form of the likes of Emerson Palmieri, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic this should be a match dominated throughout by The Blues.
The match is likely to hinge around Chelsea’s ability to cope with the visitor’s robust style. The Blues will need to take advantage when they are in the ascendancy and be wary of a second half backlash, especially when their opponents can introduce strikers Billy Sharp and £20m McBurnie, both of whom nearly won the match last week for them.
Victory for Frank’s team will propel them in to the upper part of the league table and all the negative talk within the media should be dissipated. That would be the icing on the cake for the manager after back to back wins before we head in to this season’s first international break.
Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue