A shit show.
Chelsea suffered a blow to our top four hopes as we lost to Sheffield United by 3 goals at Bramall Lane in what was honestly the worst performance this season. The players looked devoid of ideas and Sheffield United deservedly got all 3 points. The starting lineup selected by Frank looked like it would compete in the game with Kepa starting in goal and the defence remaining the same as the last 2 games. Jorginho started his first game post lockdown while Barkley and Mount continued in the midfield. Pulisic and Willian remained on the wings with Tammy replacing Giroud. Two doubts I had with the lineup were Jorginho in the CDM role with the Sheffield midfield’s physicality and Tammy up front considering the strength of the Blades back three. Still I gave the benefit of the doubt to the two players and figured they had a point to prove. They did the opposite.
Chelsea started the game on the back foot as Sheffield United drew a corner within the opening 20 seconds of the game. The shaky start continued for the opening 10 minutes but Chelsea began to gain control of the ball and regain possession. The possession stats continued to climb and the players began to rack up the touches but we were barely able to dent the Sheffield back line. Sheffield United dealt their first blow in the 18th minute as Mount failed to clear a ball that landed in his path and was caught trying to dribble out. A cross was then sent in that found McBurnie’s volley which deflected into Kepa who made a good reflex save but the rebound found McGoldrick and he scored his first Premier League goal of the season. The possession continued but we failed to create anything as Pulisic and Willian were nullified while Tammy was left isolated. Any loose balls in the midfield were caught out by Berge and Norwood. The 2nd Sheffield goal came in the 33rd minute as a quick one two was played down the right hand side as Willian failed to track back. The cross was met by an open McBurnie who easily headed into the net. Chelsea ended the half with no real chance and with Tammy only having had 8 touches of the ball.
The 2nd half started with a formation change as Rudiger and Alonso came on for Mount and Christensen, switching to a back 5. The switch did not make much of a difference other than leaving Jorginho even more isolated and giving Sheffield United a chance to counter at will. Giroud finally came on in the 66th minute but in place of Pulisic which was a bit of a head scratcher. Switching to two up top did bring Giroud more into the game and we managed to take a few shots but Sheffield stayed comfortable. Hudson-Odoi was then brought on for Reece James in the 75th minute as we switched formation yet again to a 4-2-2-2 but Callum had little to no impact. The 77th minute saw McGoldrick score his 2nd goal as another counter led to a shot being taken which was saved but the veteran striker was first to the rebound. Barkley then came off for Loftus-Cheek and the same continued until the final whistle with Mousett missing a big chance towards the end to make it 4. Dismal performance.
Kepa – Kepa was decent and probably in a twist could not be blamed for any of the goals that went in. Just poor defending all around that he got caught in.
James – Reece played well and was one of the better players as he continued to provide dangerous crosses while also improving defensively. Looking better game by game.
Christensen – Not Christensen’s best game and once he rolled his ankle in the 1st half he looked even more off. The Dane was brought off at half time maybe due to the ankle problem but he for sure did not paint himself in good light.
Zouma – The Frenchman continues to be our best centre back as he dealt with they physicality of McBurnie and McGoldrick well while also trying to make last ditch tackles. Still with the team off he also seemed off today.
Azpilicueta – Holistically our best defender as he maintained his defensive solidity at the back although his crosses weren’t the best but thats what you get when you put a right footed full back on the left. Decent performance.
Jorginho – Abysmal. The fact is that Jorginho did make a good cameo agains Palace but he is not suited to the CDM role and it was clear for all to see. The Italian was just caught in the middle of a storm of physicality and the lack of pace meant that he could not escape it. The fact is that his passing was off as well and that he just isn’t suited to what is required in a traditional CDM role. If Kovacic had been fully fit he probably would have started that game.
Mount – An off game for Mount, he was at fault for the first goal for not clearing and choosing to dribble and he just looked like he lacked the alertness for the game. Made some dubious decisions going forward and the fluidity was missing. An off day but just goes to show there is much to learn.
Barkley – Barkley was probably our most positive midfield player yesterday as he always looked for way out but was thwarted by the Sheffield defence. Made some good defensive contributions as well. A decent performance.
Pulisic – Not much Pulisic could do in this game, he tried to break through the lines but was shoved and bumped off by the defenders and there was no space to utilise. A decent performance but there will be better days.
Willian – The same can be said for Willian although him failing to track his runner led to the 2nd goal’s cross and so he was at fault there. Otherwise he tried to do his normal Willian dribbling but again there was no space to create any chance.
Tammy – Tammy has been having an off day since the tail end of 2019. I get that everyone was poor yesterday and there was a lack of service, but he offered nothing going forward. It wasn’t until Giroud came on that Tammy was brought into the game and even then Giroud felt frustrated. The striker needs to improve aerially for someone who has height and he needs to his improve his hold up play as well. Fact is that next season we are going to have Werner, and Giroud possibly even Havertz and the first two are strikers while Havertz can play there. If yesterday’s performance doesn’t improve then Tammy could be starting at 4th choice. Needs to do way better.
Rudiger – Offered nothing when he came on and his shoddy clearance allowed McGoldrick to score the 3rd. It’s clear that the German needs to leave if a centre back does leave and hopefully the club know that.
Alonso – Not much of an impact and another lacklustre performance.
Giroud – Giroud did well when he came on and brought the likes of Tammy into the game. The Frenchman’s stature also allowed us to finally get touches in the Sheffield box.
Hudson-Odoi – No real impact. Better days ahead.
Lofuts-Cheek – Needs to star next week because he didn’t have any time this week.
Lampard – There will be better days for Lamps in the future this was just a day when everything went wrong for him. Like he said though we cannot dwell on this performance and need to push on with 4 games to go. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!