David McGoldrick scored his first ever Premier League goal before a second followed as Sheffield United waltzed past Chelsea three goals to nil.
Roles had been reversed at Bramall Lane. The Blades led by two goals to nil at the halfway mark, much like Chelsea did at Stamford Bridge in August.
McGoldrick put the Blades in front moments after the infamous ‘water break’ with his first Premier League goal after 1615 minutes. Sheffield United soon doubled their lead at Bramall Lane with a thumping header from Oli McBurnie.
Chris Wilder’s side had not beaten the Blues in 27 years. Light was slowly emerging at the end of the tunnel.
After a painful viewing first 45 minutes, Lampard opted to switch to a five at the back which saw the departures of Mason Mount and Andreas Christensen. Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger filled in at left-wing back and centre half, respectively.
Chelsea continued to crumble as McGoldrick netted his second of the afternoon to put the Blades three ahead.
Story of the Match
Manchester City learn their fate on Monday with their CAS appeal. In mind, both sides leapt out of the blocks looking to assert their dominance on what proved to be a major fixture, amidst a mass brawl to play amongst Europe’s elite next season.
Chelsea’s first attempt of the afternoon fell to the merciless man in form, Christian Pulisic who continued to follow in his rich vein of form. The American was unable to adjust his body position which saw his header from close range loop beyond Dean Henderson.
Lampard’s side soon broke into their rhythm, often feeding through Jorginho. The Italian acted as the Blues’ metronome at the heart of midfield on his first start since the return of Premier League football.
However, Chelsea’s dominance in possession failed to pay dividends. McGoldrick put the Blades in front netting his first ever Premier League goal. Kepa Arrizabalaga made an incredible save to deny McBurnie’s initial deflected shot.
The Spaniard, under substantial scrutiny of late, spooned the ball into the vicinity of the lurking McGoldrick before the 32-year-old slotted the ball home into the H.E. Barnes Stand.
Quarter of an hour later, and McBurnie looked for redemption having seen his earlier shot deflected.
Enda Stevens flooded forward down the left flank before his delightfully clipped cross into the box found the head of McBurnie.
The Scotsman found a yard of space in front of Kurt Zouma to then nod the ball past a flailing Kepa.
Lampard’s bubble was well and truly burst. Huffing and puffing on the side-lines: Chelsea’s all-time top goal scorer was in desperate need of a ‘get out of jail card’. Someone to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Someone to assert themselves. Empty and lost.
Ruthless in front of goal. Ruthless on the side lines. Lampard stripped his side down to a back five – almost in disgust as to what he saw. Alonso occupied his familiar left-wing back role, while Antonio Rudiger slotted inbetween Cesar Azpilicueta and Zouma.
The Blues ploughed on in search of some sort of foothold in the game. A tame free kick, struck by Ross Barkley, was blocked by the high-standing Blades wall.
Desperate and half-hearted calls for hand ball echoed around Bramall Lane in favour of a Chelsea penalty. The eerie cries soon dissolved into thin air.
Olivier Giroud replaced Pulisic minutes before the second-half water break. The Frenchman, Lampard’s first choice choice of late, was sent on to fuel any sort of comeback.
Two tall strikers. An aerial presence. Back to basics for Lampard's Chelsea.
The tide was coming in, and just like a sandcastle, Chelsea’s hopes of stamping their dominance on a third-place finish crumbled away.
A second goal for McGoldrick and third for the home side. The Irishman put the Blades three up with quarter of an hour left to play.
Lys Mousset darted down the right flank as the Blues defence helplessly retreated and retreated.
Wilder’s second-half substitute then pulled the ball back finding McGoldrick who thundered the ball past Kepa once again.
VAVEL Man of the Match
VAVEL's Man of the Match is McGoldrick who stole the show with not only two great goals but some lavish touches, great hold-up play producing an all-round fanatstic striker's performance.