Sheffield United hammer sloppy Chelsea

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Sheffield United – Chelsea was a hammering, by the Blades, as they beat the Blues 3-0 and thoroughly deserved all three points at Bramall Lane.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

David McGoldrick scored twice and Olle McBurnie added another as Sheffield United were ruthless and Chelsea hapless defensively as Frank Lampard was left seething following a host of defensive mistakes.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch: How did he perform? ]

With the win Sheffield United move up to sixth place and have 54 points for the season, while Chelsea stay in third on 60 points but have given Leicester and Man United an edge in the Champions League battle.

Three things we learned, Sheffield United – Chelsea

1. Blades sharp: Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United have beaten Spurs, Wolves and Chelsea at home over the last week to reignite their season. What a finish to an incredible first season back in the top-flight for the Blades. Wilder doesn’t want to talk about the Champions League but if they beat Leicester, Everton and Southampton in their final three games, they will be right in the hunt. At the very least it seems like Sheffield United will be in the Europa League next season. What a season they’re having as McBurnie and McGoldrick were a handful and they are so well-drilled in the 3-4-3 system.

2. Defensive issues remain for Chelsea: They couldn’t stop the Blades combining out wide and they allowed crosses to come in, then were caught ball-watching on the opening two goals. Frank Lampard had a face like thunder on the third goal too, as Jorginho didn’t track back and Rudiger shanked a clearance. Chelsea missed N’Golo Kante but the last few weeks is the story of their season. Big wins against Man City and Palace wedged in-between defeats to West Ham and Sheffield United. Sloppy defensive issues is their biggest problem and they have to bring in new defenders to change that, or work a lot harder tactically to stop the same things happening time and time again.

3. Half time subs have no impact: Chelsea tried to switch things up and went to a 3-4-3 for the second half, but it still didn’t work. The Blues looked more solid defensively but lost rhythm in attack and it seems like Lampard still doesn’t know his best lineup as he changes the combinations and partnerships game after game.

Man of the Match

David McGoldrick – Scored twice, his first Premier League goals, as McGoldrick finished off chances, stretched Chelsea and proved why he is so important to Sheffield United’s entire attack. Great center forward display.

Pulisic looked sharp early and George Baldock was booked for clattering the USMNT winger but Sheffield United pinned Chelsea back.

Ben Osborn skied over from a corner after Kepa flapped at the cross, then Pulisic headed just over but it was the Blades who took the lead.

Baldock whipped in a cross for McBurnie and his volleyed deflected twice and was brilliantly saved by Kepa but McGoldrick reacted quickest to tap home and make it 1-0.

The Blades doubled their lead before the break as Enda Stevens whipped in a delicious cross which McBurnie headed home at the near post. 2-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At half time Chelsea made a formation change with Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger coming on as Lampard switched to a 3-4-3 and tried to match the Blades man-for-man.

The second half saw the Blues have more possession but Sheffield United looked dangerous on the break and remained solid.

Moments after replacing Pulisic, Olivier Giroud volleyed just wide as Chelsea went with two central strikers up front for the final 25 minutes.

Jon Egan nearly flicked home at the near post but Kepa saved and at the other end Cesar Azpilicueta had a shot which deflected wide and from the resulting corner Abraham couldn’t finish at the back post.

McGoldrick finished Chelsea off late on as he tapped home from Lys Mousset’s cross to make it 3-0.

Lampard reveals Chelsea lessons; discusses Pulisic

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Frank Lampard will not forget this defeat at Sheffield United in a hurry, and probably not at all, as he revealed the lessons Chelsea learned and discussed the display of Christian Pulisic.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch – Analysis ]

Lampard said repeatedly that he has ‘learned a lot’ about his players and suggested the Blades, who ran out 3-0 winners, were more motivated than his Chelsea side.

ProSoccerTalk spoke with Lampard after the game via Zoom and asked him if this thrashing confirmed the problems he already knew he had in certain areas of the pitch.

“It’s not just one game. I am always analyzing daily and game-by-game about us. I learned a lot today, about the players,” Lampard said. “You tend to learn more in tough moments in tough games. That is for me to work with and deal with going forward. The most important thing is that collectively it’s not one to cry our eyes out for days. We are in a situation where the games are coming very quickly and we know where are are at.

“We have the opportunity to fight for the top four, which is not something many expected of us earlier in the season and you will take knocks in the Premier League like this. Particularly with the situation of where we are at. The phase we are in. We are nowhere near the finished article. I know that. I never get over excited. Days like today you have to learn from and improve.”

Asked specifically about what he learned Lampard said “he learned a lot of things but wouldn’t even start on that because it will be a long answer” and he didn’t hear his players communicating on the pitch because “Sheffield United had more voice, more personality, and that reflected in the way they played.”


Lampard added that he “didn’t want to get into the analysis and details of the game today because it is only going to be negative, and we need to be positive.”

ProSoccerTalk asked Lampard about the main positive recently, Christian Pulisic, who was clattered early on, looked a little jaded throughout and was subbed off with 25 minutes to go by the Chelsea boss. Lampard had stated that Chelsea couldn’t get their wingers in the game due to Sheffield United’s 3-4-3 system and didn’t get Pulisic and Willian involved enough.

Was the USMNT winger feeling the impact of his impressive, energetic displays over the last 10-14 days and did that early challenge knock him back?

“I don’t think so. The tackle early in the game, it was a strong tackle but I don’t think that had any effect on it,” Lampard said. “There are games sometimes when they are difficult for you individually and Christian has affected games really well individually recently, so I certainly won’t be looking at him. Everybody who has played in that game should want more, from the Chelsea side.”

For Chelsea, all is not lost. They have three games left and if they win them all, they are guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League. It is as simple as that.

That said, the same defensive issues continue to crop up and there’s no doubt the Blues have to improve their personnel at the back. Lampard has tried everything when it comes to defensive combinations, systems and playing different people across the back four. Nothing has worked.

If Chelsea are still a mess defensively after bringing in new players at the back this summer, it’s safe to say the blame has to lie with Lampard.

Like he told us, if Chelsea finish in the top four, this is still a big step forward this season and not one many expected. However, with Liverpool and Wolves to play in their final two games of the season, Chelsea will have to defend so much better if they’re going to end their largely positive season on a high.

Lampard fumes with Chelsea: ‘All I could hear was Sheffield United’

Frank Lampard reaction
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Frank Lampard is steamed.

The Chelsea boss saw his side out-worked, out-fired, and out-muscled at Bramall Lane on Saturday as the Blues managed just one of six points against the newly-promoted Blades this season following a 3-0 loss.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Lampard didn’t mince words: Sheffield United deserved all three points.

“They were better than us, physically, in the mind and with the ball,” Lampard said on television after the game. “So you lose the game. They were stronger than us. You feel and hear every noise and all I could hear was Sheffield United voices. They are a good team. If you come here and perform below par this is what will happen.”

Chelsea handed control of the top four back to Leicester City and Manchester United, but also wasn’t too bothered by the big picture as much as the performance of his Blues on Saturday.

“I am not concerned about top four today,” he said. “All I do is sit and watch the games you broadcast and consider what we want to do. But today I am concerned with how we performed. We will see where we are when we approach Norwich. But we can’t approach Norwich or Manchester United or Wolves like we did today.”

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch v. Sheffield United ]

Lampard was also asked about a substandard day for Christian Pulisic, who was targeted by the Blades and looked merely average for the first time in weeks.

“There are games which can be difficult,” Lampard said in the post-match press call. “He has affected games really well recently.”

Pulisic Watch: USMNT star subbed off, jaded v. Sheffield United

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Christian Pulisic Watch focuses on his performance each week for Chelsea and the USMNT winger had a rough day at Sheffield United.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

Pulisic, 21, was subbed off with 25 minutes to go as Chelsea lost 3-0 to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Pulisic was clattered early on and looked a little jaded throughout as Chelsea didn’t handle the Blades’ 3-4-3 formation well at all.

Here’s the minute-by-minute analysis of Pulisic’s performance, as he couldn’t replicate his previously sublime form since the restart but he was still one of Chelsea’s brightest players.

2nd minute: Drifts in form the left flank and dribbles centrally at the Blades, then plays in Barkley but his shot at a gal is a tame one.

3rd minute: Clattered by George Baldock as he turns away from him and shows the Sheffield United defenders a clean set of heels. Baldock is given a yellow card. Pulisic is limping.

7th minute: A lovely cross from Reece James which finds Pulisic at the back post and he heads just over the bar. Good late run.

8th minute: Links up with Mason Mount down the left, then wins the ball back and tries to get Chelsea going in attack on the edge of the box.

13th minute: Runs in from the left flank but loses possession. Sheffield United tripling up on him.

14th minute: Spins away beautifully and plays in Azpilicueta, but his cross goes out for a goal kick.

28th minute: The American winger has been quiet but pops up centrally and flicks the ball into Abraham who controls. Does the same with Mount soon after as Sheffield United are sitting deep on a solid block.

36th minute: Tries to wriggle free in the box with good footwork but Sheffield United clear. Moments later he curls a cross past Abraham.

40th minute: Goes down but doesn’t win a free kick. Pulisic is frustrated and is being closely marked. Mason Mount keeps running into his space and they are getting in the way of each other.

43rd minute: Floats a ball into the box which is nowhere near a Chelsea player. Frustrating as he’s dropping deeper and deeper to get on the ball.

47th minute: Deep in his own half, trying to flick the ball upfield as Chelsea are under pressure. Half time switch to a 3-4-3 system sees him playing on the left but drifting inside a lot more and then moving to the right flank. Lots of hefty challenges on Pulisic.

54th minute: Wins the ball on the edge of his own box, then starts a counter attack.

56th minute: Dropping deeper and deeper to get on the ball. Cross is deflected out for a corner.

65th minute: Played in by Barkley and his left-footed shot is blocked with three defenders around him.

66th minute: Pulisic subbed off for Olivier Giroud. Chelsea go with two up front. The American winger was shackled well by Sheffield United.

Sheffield United – Chelsea stream: How to watch, start time, prediction

Sheffield United - Chelsea preview
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Sheffield United – Chelsea stream: Frank Lampard’s Chelsea begins life defending third place on the Premier League table when it visits Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday (Watch Live at 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via

The Blues’ 60 points are one more than Leicester City and two clear of old rivals Manchester United.

Also of interest to Chelsea and USMNT fans: The Blues have posted a 20-minute video of every Christian Pulisic touch since Project Restart began earlier this Summer.

Sheffield United beat Wolves at midweek to pull within a point of sixth-place. If Blades stumble, there are three teams within a win of pushing them back beneath the Europa League places.


Team news

John Fleck and Luke Freeman are out, while John Lundstram is on the bench for Sheffield United as David McGoldrick comes into the starting lineup.

Billy Gilmour is out for the season with Jorginho coming in to replace him, while Mateo Kovacic is back fit and named on the bench by Frank Lampard. N’Golo Kante remains out and Tammy Abraham replaces Olivier Giroud in the starting lineup.


What they’re saying

Blades boss Wilder to our own JPW after a 1-0 win over Wolves: “We like to think we’ve brought something in terms of our attitude and our performances to get the results that we’ve got. We had a stretched squad and really had to dig in to get a result. I don’t think you get the result and the performance tonight if you haven’t got something with the ball and I think we did have something with the ball and out of it everybody did a job and tried to stop a very, very talented side from gaining momentum and dominating us. Second half, especially, we looked and it felt like we were really desperate to go and get a winner. Regardless of how late its come, we’ve been rewarded for that attitude.”

Chelsea’s Frank Lampard on Christian Pulisic earning Eden Hazard comparisons: “Having played with Eden, he had special talent straight away and draws players towards him to open up space to others. Christian is more direct. He has the ability to break a line and run forward which is a great trait in the modern game. Why I shy away from it the other night is because Eden has been here and done it over a period of time to an incredible level. Christian has it in his hands to make a real impact over time. It’s great to see him [doing well] but there’s a lot of development to come. Christian is taking responsibility to change games.”

Odds and ends (Full matchweek odds here)

The Blades are +425 underdogs according to DraftKings, with Chelsea -148.

A two-goal game for Tammy Abraham was only enough for a Chelsea point at Stamford Bridge when the sides met in a 2-2 draw earlier this season.


Chelsea’s had one more days’ rest than the Blades and that seems plenty given the congestion this time of year. Give the Blues a 2-1 win.

How to watch Sheffield United – Chelsea

Kickoff: 12:30 pm ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream via