Chelsea’s attack will have to beat one of the top young goalkeepers in the game when the Blues visit Dean Henderson and Sheffield United at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Henderson, 21, is on loan from Manchester United and has been a force for the Blades dating back to last season, sealing a second loan stint due to David De Gea‘s star status at Old Trafford.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder thinks Henderson has the goods to be the future No. 1 for England, and says there’s a comparison to be made between Henderson and two fellow stars of last season’s Championship who will be on the field for Chelsea on Saturday. From the Yorkshire Post:
“Two of their outstanding young players had experience of the Championship last year. In that play-off final game, one went up in Tammy Abraham – who was really good for Villa and had a fantastic season – and Mason Mount. From a team point of view the result was disappointing for Frank (Lampard) and Mason, but he had an outstanding season and was definitely the standout player in the Championship for me.”
It’s interesting to note that all three players were loanees from big clubs, the cyclical effect of Premier League power blooding their prospects for promotional hopefuls.
Chelsea will need Christian Pulisic, Willian, and Mount to deliver the goods from the wing position, with Pedro out. They’ll have to be better helpers in defense, too, with N’Golo Kante injured and set to be absent for upcoming French duty as well.
The Blues have yet to really deliver this season. Aside from a decent performance in the UEFA Super Cup, Chelsea lost 4-0 to Manchester United before drawing Leicester and just outlasting newly-promoted Norwich City.
It’s a step up in class for Sheffield United, though, as Wilder’s men have drawn Bournemouth, beaten Crystal Palace, and lost to Leicester City.
Chelsea — OUT: N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Pedro
Sheffield United — OUT: None.
What they’re saying
Chelsea’s Lampard on England call-ups: “We are delighted for Mason [Mount] and Ross [Barkley], and hopefully it is a matter of time for Tammy [Abraham]. It is only the start for Mason but I’m fully confident that he will keep his feet on the ground and keep working hard.”
Sheffield United defender John Egan on Henderson: “If you look at the England goalkeepers, Deano is right up there. It’s not a case of ‘if’, for me it’s a case of ‘when’ for Deano. He’s got a really bright future ahead of him and, so long as he keeps his head down and keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll get there.”
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Emerson, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Barkley, Kovacic; Mount, Abraham, Pulisic.
Sheffield United: Henderson; Eagen, Basham, O’Connell; Sheffield, Norwood, Freeman, Lundstram, Baldock; McBurnie, McGoldrick.
Prediction: This is a big, big ask for the Blades, who come down to earth a bit when the Blues post a 3-0 behind Christian Pulisic’s first PL goal.