Sheffield United have picked up a massive point away from home, coming back from 2-0 down to tie Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
A first-half brace from Tammy Abraham put the Blues up early, but United were able to claw back into the contest. Callum Robinson pulled one back before a late Kurt Zouma own goal tied up the match, and the Blades survived one last attacking surge from Chelsea to secure the surprising result.
Story of the game
It was an admittedly drab start to the contest, as both sides took some time to get going early on.
The opening goal would come in the 18th minute for the Blues through Tammy Abraham. It did come courtesy of an error from Dean Henderson, however, as the goalkeeper spilt the ball after a weak header. It fell right to the Chelsea striker, who just had to tap the ball into the net.
United would carve out their first chance of the contest about 10 minutes later. A cross was cleared out to Chris Basham on the edge of the area, but his volley flew well off target.
The home side came close to doubling their advantage, as Matteo Kovacic drove past the United defense. He made good contact on the shot, but the ball rolled just wide of the far post.
The Blades should’ve equalized near the end of the first half. Basham did brilliant to turn and get a cross off to the back post, and it flew towards Callum Robinson. The striker went for a diving header, but miscalculated the flight of the ball, and failed to get his attempt on target.
They were left to rue that miss in short order, as Abraham grabbed his brace moments later. It was another miscue at the back from United, as Jack O'Connell and John Egan collided when trying to deal with a routine cross into the penalty area. That allowed Abraham to sneak in behind them, and he made no mistake with the finish, volleying home from a few yards out.
United made up for their errors at the start of the second half, halving the deficit only minutes after the halftime break. Enda Stevens got down the wing and played a wonderful low cross towards the near post, which was calmly slotted home by Robinson.
Abraham thought he had completed his hat trick about ten minutes later but was denied by Henderson, who made an incredible save. Abraham drilled a low shot that was heading for the corner, but the Blades goalkeeper got down quickly to get a hand out and slap the ball out of danger.
United pushed on for a late leveler, and eventually got it with minutes to go in the game. Robinson whipped in a low cross into the area, and Kurt Zouma failed to deal with it, accidentally hitting the ball into the back of his own net.
Chelsea pushed on to snatch a winner at the death, but United were able to hold on to take a remarkable road point away from Stamford Bridge.
United shoot themselves in the foot
For the first time this season, the Blades looked like a newly promoted side.
Usually playing with confidence and swagger, things were different at Stamford Bridge. The first two goals United conceded were due to miscues at the back, which is especially disappointing considering how solid the defense usually is.
However, it was the first time they were playing against one of the country’s best sides, which was likely the main source of the nerves on the afternoon. Chelsea might not be title contenders, but they’re in the Champions League for a reason. They simply have so much more experience in these type of games and were more than willing to make United pay for their mistakes early on.
However, the Blades would learn from their dreadful first-half performance, and show some incredible resiliency, clawing back into the contest to earn a huge point.
Scoring at the beginning and end of the second half, United proved why they are worthy of being at this level. The defence was much improved, mostly shutting down the Chelsea forwards. Further up the field, the Blades were more clinical, pouncing on the opportunities afforded to them.
Few teams will be able to get a result at Stamford Bridge this season, but United managed to take a huge point on the road that could prove to be crucial come the end of the campaign.
Robinson gets his goal
There’s nothing more important for a striker than getting their first goal for the season, and Callum Robinson became the third United forward to open his Premier League account this afternoon.
He had looked frustrated to start the contest, usually making the wrong decision in the final third. The Irishman had an excellent chance to score in the first half, going for a diving header in the penalty area, but just couldn’t redirect the ball on target.
Robinson eventually broke his duck about a minute into the second half, getting on the end of a low cross from Stevens and poking home from close range. It was far from the prettiest goal, but it was a tidy finish from the forward to get it past the keeper.
United have a number of attacking options they’ll be able to turn to this season, so there will be plenty of competition for the two starting spots in the team. If Robinson can continue this good form, however, the Irishman will solidify himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet.