Sheffield United make light work of woeful Chelsea to spice up European hopes

Chris Wilder and Sheffield United

Chris Wilder and Sheffield United will learn on Monday whether a fifth place finish are going to be enough to earn a spot within the Champions League but whatever happens to Manchester City, at Bramall Lane one among the good stories of the Covid era Premier League season continues.

Sheffield United dispatched Chelsea to travel four games unbeaten and add Frank Lampard’s side to an inventory including Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur who have lost within the Steel City this season. Wilder’s players have rotated a dismal starting to Project Restart into what seems like a miraculous ending, and there have been even the primary Premier League goals eventually for David McGoldrick although, unfortunately for him, not a lover within the stadium to witness them.

The City appeal against their two-season Champions League ban reaches its conclusion on Monday with Sheffield United in sixth, four points off fifth place and only another another to Leicester City in fourth. Should City’s ban be upheld, then fifth place are going to be enough to succeed in the Champions League, and therefore the way they're playing it might not be implausible if Wilder’s team were to try to to it.

His players have defied expectations not once but twice. First in their start to the Premier League season then returning into form a second time after taking one point from the primary three games of the restart to beat Spurs, Wolves and now Chelsea. They barely had the ball on this occasion, a mere 24 per cent of possession, but with two smart finishes from McGoldrick, and another from Oli McBurnie, the plan worked perfectly.

It was a dark day for Lampard whose players still surprise him, in both the great and therefore the bad. This was only their second defeat of the newly launched season then 3-2 loss at West Ham and yet there was much to concern their manager. Their 76 per cent possession meant that this was the most important margin of defeat for a Premier League team thereupon much of the ball since 2003-2004.

Defensively they were shambolic within the big moments with Andreas Christensen replaced at half-time. Christian Pulisic and Willian disappeared and therefore the midfield was so ponderous they only created an equivalent number of attempts on track – four - that Sheffield United managed. the house team scored with three of theirs.

Tuesday’s game reception to the relegated Norwich City prefaces a difficult run-in to the season for Chelsea with Liverpool and Wolves following the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. Can Chelsea hang on to 3rd place, or maybe fourth? A win for Manchester United against Southampton on Monday would take them above Chelsea, as would a win for Leicester away to Bournemouth on Sunday. This was a game Chelsea needed to win.

Lampard changed the team that had won four of its five previous league games within the restart, which meant the primary league start for Jorginho since Feb 29, given the long-term injury for Billy Gilmour and therefore the doubts over the fitness of Mateo Kovacic. The Brazilian struggled to form an impression when chased and harried by the Sheffield United pressing machine although he was by no means the sole one. Back within the team in situ of Oliver Giroud this was also a nasty day for Tammy Abraham, closed down by the large back three of the house defence.

At half-time Lampard switched Toni Rudiger for Christensen but the damage was already done. Chelsea had been unlocked for the second time on 33 minutes when United broke down the left. The midfielder Ben Osborn exchanged passes with Enda Stevens and McBurnie guided the latter’s cross inside the near post. it had been past Kepa Arrizabalaga in a moment .

The Spanish goalkeeper had done better within the build-up to the primary goal, managing to prevent an attempt deflected twice before it reached him but unable to push the ball out any longer than to the feet of McGoldrick. it had been his 42nd shot within the Premier League this season and his first goal. Wilder’s plan was to press Chelsea high the pitch, attempt to stop their ambitious plans to pass the ball out from the rear and seek out the mistakes. On the counterattack his players were excellent.

Ross Barkley was the foremost influential midfielder during a blue shirt but the energy of Wilder’s players meant that they were ready to get a handle on any Chelsea attacks. For the foremost part they were happy for the visitors to possess the ball, so little were they ready to do with it. “We made mistakes, and individual errors,” Lampard said, “and against good teams you get punished.”

Later he would add that his side were “nowhere near the finished article” although there have been other concerns also . “If you're getting to play at a slow level and a coffee technical level - if you don’t compete at the extent we should always - it doesn’t matter how you found out tactically.”

He tried to vary the sport to little effect. that they had many the ball but no way of breaking down the house side, even when Giroud was sent on to partner Abraham in attack. Instead they were beaten again on the counterattack for McGoldrick’s second of the evening, a razor-sharp move that he began himself with a ball out right to substitute Lys Mousset, who crossed it.

In the centre this was Kurt Zouma’s moment to clear but his block just delivered the ball to McGoldrick who picked his spot past Arrizabalaga nicely. Mousset may need had one himself, running clear with eight minutes left but his chip over Arrizabalaga just dropped wide of the post. Lampard brought on Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek within the closing stages but neither of them could unlock Wilder’s defence. Chelsea have now lost 11 league games this season, a minimum of two quite the other side within the top eight. once they fell apart in 2015-2016, the campaign during which Jose Mourinho was sacked within the December, they only lost 12.

United finish the season with games against Leicester, Everton and Southampton and an area in Europe is extremely much within their grasp. This was their 13th clean sheet of the season. they're going to hear Monday’s Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict on Monday with interest although the decision on their season is already in. it's been remarkable and therefore the finish could yet be even more impressive.

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Sheffield United make light work of woeful Chelsea to spice up European hopes
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