Chelsea 4-1 Sheffield United Match Report

Starting Line-up: Mendy; Chilwell, (C) Silva, Zouma, James; Mount, Kanté, Kovačić (Out 71’); Werner (Out 87’), Abraham, Ziyech

Subs: Caballero, Rüdiger, Emerson, Azpilicueta, Jorginho (In 71’), Hudson-Odoi, Giroud (In 87’)

First Half

Chelsea came into the game in good form, unbeaten in their last 7 games in all competitions and keeping 6 clean sheets in that time. Lampard has seemed to settle with the 4-3-3 formation, and he continued to play this in the game vs Sheffield United. It was the away side however who started the game off on the front foot with Berge getting in behind the Chelsea defence and cutting the ball back into a dangerous area but it was cleared away.

Sheffield United were narrow in their press, with Brewster and McGoldrick trying to shut out the pass into Kanté. As Sheffield were playing a back 5 system this meant that Chilwell and James were unmarked in the build-up and therefore they were seeing a lot of the ball early on near the half way line. Mason Mount would often try to drop into the left half space to receive the ball off of the defence and try to commit one of the opposition midfielders but the away side stayed disciplined in their 5-3-2 shape off the ball.

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Chelsea came close to opening the scoring after Reece James put a cross into the box which was first missed by Tammy Abraham and ricocheted to the back post for Ben Chilwell to have a shot from a tight angle which was blocked on the line by Ramsdale. Chelsea were using rotations in the wide areas well and it was opening up the Sheffield United team but Chelsea were unable to take advantage of the spaces left.

Sheffield United opened the scoring after a well worked corner got the better of Ziyech and Kanté, the Sheffield United player then cut the ball back for Berge whose shot came to the feet of McGoldrick who reacted well to backheel the ball into the back of the net. This was the first goal Chelsea had conceded in their last 5 games. Chelsea were now pushing very high up, with the 4-3-3 allowing Mount and Kovačić to get into the half spaces to try and link play with Tammy Abraham. In the 12th minute Tammy Abraham had a good opportunity after he created a bit of space for himself, but the shot wasn’t a dangerous one for the Sheffield keeper. Chelsea were moving the ball well and were looking to switch the ball from side to side as quick as possible to try and open up the defence but weren’t getting much luck.

One route which Chelsea were looking to take was to get Ziyech on the ball to play a lofted diagonal pass into the path of Timo Werner to run onto behind the Sheffield defence, something which will improve as the pair create more of a relationship.

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Chelsea were able to equalise after a Kovačić made a run in behind and was well found by Hakim Ziyech, the Croatian then played a ball into the box for Tammy Abraham who shot into the ground and the ball went into the far corner, out of the reach of Ramsdale – again demonstrating the brilliant vision and execution of Hakim Ziyech. At the half hour mark Chelsea then saw another Ziyech pass almost lead to a goal after his cross to the back post came to the feet of Timo Werner but his left footed striker hit the bar.

Chelsea then got a corner a few minutes later which was played short to Hakim Ziyech who played a perfect cross to the back post for Ben Chilwell who was able to score and put Chelsea 2-1 up. Hakim Ziyech was running the game so far, and this only continued as Sheffield United started to open up and leave spaces for the Moroccan to work in.

Second Half

Chelsea had an opportunity for a third early in the second half after Kovačić was through on goal, but he was well tackled by the Sheffield United defender. In the 50th minute Chelsea worked the ball into the box after some good build up play but Tammy wasn’t able to get a shot off, Chelsea were looking the most likely to score next.

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As the pressure was on Sheffield United to score, they were leaving space for the Chelsea attackers to play in and the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount were the most effective players as they were roaming centrally and linking the ball well and Sheffield were struggling to win the ball back. Chelsea were controlling the tempo of the game and weren’t in any rush to get a goal as they worked the ball around the penalty area but wasn’t taking many risks in the final third.

Hakim Ziyech looked to get onto the score sheet rather than create a goal as he received the ball on the edge of the box and aimed to curl it into the far corner but the defender was able to get his head on it and send it off target. Hakim was playing much more centrally in the second half with Reece James given the responsibility of holding the width for Chelsea. Kovačić came off injured in the 70th minute with Jorginho replacing him. The Italian went into the holding midfielder role with Kanté moving up into the ‘8’ position.

In the 75th minute Chelsea got their third goal of the game after Thiago Silva rose to head yet another superb Hakim Ziyech cross and send Chelsea into a very comfortable position in the game. The Moroccan was on fire as he set Timo Werner through on goal 2 minutes later with a lofted pass in behind but the Germans lobbed attempt went just wide.

In the 79th minute, after a wild deflection, the ball was in behind the Sheffield United defence and Timo Werner pounced first onto the ball and went through 1v1 before powering the ball and sending it into the back of the net to make it 4-1 to Chelsea. Chelsea slowed the game down for the last 10 minutes, moving the ball well while Sheffield United seemed to have given up hope on trying to win the ball back.

Next Game

Chelsea go away to Newcastle after the international break and will look to continue the hot form they are in. At the moment Chelsea are 3 points off of 1st place and are starting to look like a team capable of mounting a title challenge.

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