Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United look to end 27-year-win drought as they welcome Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to Bramall Lane amidst a fierce scramble for Champions League qualification.
52 years ago, Frank Lampard Senior played his first ever game against the Blades, in East London, for West Ham. Just months later, Lampard’s father returned to the midlands before winning 2-1 in front of nearly 20,000 people.
Time has passed and Frank Lampard Senior will now be hoping his son can follow suit by leading their beloved Chelsea to victory…
The Blues will be travelling up the M1 with aplomb having won five out of their last six games upon revival of domestic football.
A stochastic return to football for the Blades has led many to question the excellence Wilder has orchestrated thus far.
However, having won only twice, both of which came against European-place challenging sides in Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur. Underdogs.
The Blades continue to closely monitor David McGoldrick and John Fleck having both been absent from Wilder’s victory over Wolves in the week.
Oli McBurnie played just 49 minutes on Wednesday – an element of doubt is looming in regard to who will lead Wilder’s line.
Fikayo Tomori remains close to full fitness but will not be involved. N’Golo Kante is out with a hamstring strain.
Meanwhile, Lampard has confirmed Billy Gilmour with be out for as long as four months with a knee injury requiring surgery.
One to Watch
Captain America. A man in rich vein of form since the return to top-flight football. Christian Pulisic is the Blues’ ‘one to watch’.
The 21-year-old has been frighteningly ruthless with five goal contributions in his last five Premier League games.
Pulisic has been Chelsea’s ‘key out of jail’ on numerous occasions with comparisons already being drawn to Eden Hazard.
The American began #ProjectRestart in spectacular style with a goal against Aston Villa before embracing his 'inner-Hazard' against Manchester City – an incredible solo run that oozed class, composure and character.
'A silent assassin' as labelled by Liam Twomey; Pulisic's aura of invincibility and ability to deconstruct defences will undoubtably haunt Wilder’s defenders.
Click here to see Chelsea VAVEL’s predicted XI.
Sheffield United – LLWDW
Chelsea – WWLWW
August 2019: CHE 2 – 2 SHU
November 2006: SHU 0 – 2 CHE
Where to Watch?
The clash commences on Saturday 11th July at 17:30 BST, Bramall Lane, and can be watched on either Sky Sports (UK) or FuboTV (US).
Chelsea’s all-time top goal scorer shared a few words ahead of the fixture:
“I have seen his [Wilder’s] story from League One through the Championship, going up against his teams a few times now, and what he has done this year. Whatever happens in the final few games, his story as a manager is incredible and I have huge respect for him.
“We are sort of in charge of our own destiny. I am not reverting back to previous results; we are looking ahead to Sheffield United and beyond.”
The Blades boss spoke ahead of the knockout out meeting:
“They're an outstanding team and it is a huge challenge against a rejuvenated Chelsea under the manager this year.
“Frank has gone into a club as one of the best players in their history and to take on that role as manager takes some bottle and takes some doing, but he has attacked it and grabbed it like in his playing career.
"I know Frank through our tussles in the Championship. Two really tight games at their place at Derby when they were outstanding in the second half and deservedly beat us and then we had to be at our best to turn them over at Bramall Lane.
“The introduction of the young players, the freedom that they play with all comes from the manager. They have also had to dig in at times and see games out and turn games around and they have had to change the way they play sometimes. That all comes from Frank.
"I never thought they would struggle, and I am being totally honest about that. You have a manager who knows his way around a football pitch and players who are highly talented and some of the best players in the Premier League.
"It was always going to be a combination of that that would make Chelsea successful and go well this season and they certainly have done. I am sure their target is Champions League and they are set well to achieve that aim."