Date: Saturday 16th December 2023
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
As if the excitement of dragging ourselves through the last working week before Christmas wasn’t enough, we’ve got yet another Chelsea performance to endure today.
This afternoon’s game sees us back at Stamford Bridge, where we are generally as rubbish as we are away, and this time it will be Sheffield United rubbing their hands together in readiness for their 3-points. They beat Brentford last time out but they’re pretty awful away from home, so they’ll be glad it’s Stamford Bridge they’re coming to.
As for us, we were worse than useless against Everton but that result was as predictable as the performance. Quite what Pochettino is doing now is beyond me but he needs a plan B otherwise even today’s opponents could finish above us this season.
Anyway, let’s just get it over with.
Going into today’s game, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino, says “We have a lot of injury issues and it’s like building a house and some of the stuff are not there but we need to keep believing. The roof? Not there yet. We have good people building the house, good architects. We have the best company, architects, very creative and good – already proven. But when you want to build something you need solid foundations which sometimes are affected because of the nature of the circumstances. You dig the hole and there is water, it is not because of the company. An unexpected situation which delays the possibility to move quicker than you expected. Unfortunately we received too many hits against us. But if you want to build a house you know you need to take some risks. We are going to need more time.
The communication [with the owners] is the same from the beginning of the season, when we were in pre-season to today. But no words in football. The most important thing is being here. If I am here it is because they trust. If not in the moment that they stop to trust, don’t worry you will see not me here.”
Sheffield United manager, Chris Wilder, meanwhile, says “It’s no good if we slip our standards and we’re not aggressive and competitive and we’re all over the place. I’m still learning about the players but I’ve been delighted and we want to fill them with confidence and belief but they’ve got to go again.
All sides that are competitive in the league, even the ones that have been in this division for a number of years, your Brightons and your Palaces and Brentfords, teams that have been up for a number of years and don’t look like coming out, they’re going to Chelsea and they understand the task and what that brings in going to a top side. But they’re believing as well.
Of course it was good and we had a fabulous time in the capital last time out, but this is a new group of players and one that has to earn that right to compete in the division. But we’re in a good place, that’s all I can say and we’ll go there full of confidence, knowing that it’s an incredibly tough task to get a result.”
For Chelsea, we added to the growing injury list last week, so now the head count standas at Wesley Fofana (knee), Ben Chilwell (Hamstring), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Carney Chukwuemeka (knee), Robert Sanchez (knee), Reece James (broken), Cucurella (ankle), Lesley Ugochukwu, Noni Madueke (unspecified) and Romeo Lavia (ankle). Malo Gusto (knee) is back in training, whilst Christopher Nkunku might finally get some minutes.
For Sheffield United, Chris Basham (ankle), John Egan (foot), Tom Davies (thigh), Rhys Norrington-Davies (thigh), Rhian Brewster (thigh) and Daniel Jebbison (illness) are injured. Jack Robinson also sits this one out with a one-match ban, whilst both Oli McBurnie and Oliver Norwood return from suspension.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Petrovic; Disasi, Silva, Badiashile, Colwill; Fernandez, Caicedo; Sterling, Gallagher, Palmer; Jackson
SHEFFIELD UNITED (Possible line-up): Foderingham; Bogle, Ahmedhodzic, Trusty, Lowe; McAtee, Norwood, Souza, Hamer, Archer; McBurnie
CURRENT FORM (PL)
SHEFFIELD UNITED: WDLLLW
- Chelsea have won five of their past seven Premier League games against Sheffield United, drawing one and losing the other.
- Sheffield United’s most recent win over Chelsea was a 3-0 top-flight victory at Bramall Lane in July 2020.
- The Blades haven’t kept a clean sheet in 29 league trips to Stamford Bridge since a goalless draw in October 1922.
- Chelsea are vying to win successive Premier League home fixtures for the first time since August-October last year.
- Chelsea have lost 22 of their 47 matches in all competitions in 2023.
- Chelsea have let in multiple goals in each of their previous five league matches – the last time they conceded twice or more in six successive top-flight games was between December 1977 and February 1978.
- Sheffield United are vying to win back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since July 2020.
- The Blades are the only team in the division without an away league victory this season, taking one point from seven matches.
- Sheffield United have lost 26 of their last 31 Premier League away fixtures, winning two and drawing three.
- Sheffield United have conceded 41 top-flight goals this season.
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-0 Sheffield United