Sheffield United and Chelsea are two clubs in very different league fights. Sheffield United are looking to avoid relegation to the Championship and Chelsea are in the hunt for a Champions League spot under new manager Thomas Tuchel.
After an incredible season last year, The Blades have been the Premier League’s basement boys for the majority of this season, but have been reborn in recent weeks with league wins against Newcastle, Manchester United and West Brom. However, they are currently 11 points from Burnley and safety.
The Blues are also looking for a rebirth after the sacking of club legend Frank Lampard and the appointment of former PSG and Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel. Tuchel has picked up seven points from a possible nine after wins against Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur. Those wins have brought Chelsea back into top four contention and they currently sit 6th, two points behind 4th placed Liverpool.
Two clubs that need points for very different reasons, and a game that promises to be a test of whether Chelsea can find a way past a Sheffield United back five that has only conceded one goal in each of its last three games.
Team News – Sheffield United
Ben Osborn is back in contention after missing out the last few weeks with a calf strain. Fellow LWB Enda Stevens will face a late fitness test to see if he can be considered for involvement.
On loan Ethan Ampadu will not be able to feature against Chelsea as they are his parent club.
George Baldock will also face a late fitness test after he was subbed off against West Brom with a thigh injury.
Sander Berge, Jack O’Connell, and Jack Robinson continued to be side-lined.
Team News – Chelsea
Thiago Silva is expected to miss out after he was subbed off in the first half of Chelsea’s last game against Spurs.
Kai Havertz and Kurt Zouma are also expected not to feature as they recover from injury.
When the teams met back in November, Chelsea compounded United to their biggest defeat of the season when they ran out 4-1 victors.
The Blades took a surprise early lead when David McGoldrick flicked the ball in from close range after a well-worked corner.
However, Chelsea equalised 15 minutes later when Mateo Kovacic’s cut back was met by Tammy Abraham who scuffed an effort goal-bound past Aaron Ramsdale.
Chelsea were in control and soon doubled their lead when Max Lowe and Aaron Ramsdale left a cross for each other to deal with, and Ben Chilwell took advantage by stabbing in at the back post.
The Blues made it three when Thiago Silva slipped away from Enda Stevens and flicked a header past Ramsdale after a wicked ball in from Hakim Ziyech.
Minutes later, Timo Werner made it four after he latched onto a loose ball and smashed past Ramsdale.
Ones to watch
Sheffield United: Chris Basham and Jayden Bogle
For the most part this season, Sheffield United haven’t been particular affluent when it comes to scoring goals or even creating chances. However, two players that have stood out in recent weeks are Chris Basham and Jayden Bogle.
32-year-old stalwart Basham has been at the club since 2014 and has travelled the full journey with the Blades from League One to the Premier League, and yet continues to put performances in that suggest he’s been a top-flight centre half for years. His nickname of 'Bashambauer' sums up his playing style.
Time after time, season after season, Basham has made opposition players look like statues by dancing round them and leaving them no chance of winning the ball from him, and he reaps the rewards for it too. He was involved in both Blades goals against West Brom midweek, laying the ball off for Bogle for the first, and crossing to John Egan who knocked down for Billy Sharp for the winner.
In contrast, Jayden Bogle is a 20-year-old who joined the Blades in the summer from Derby County, but he’s already made a big impact. In direct competition for a place with George Baldock, Bogle has snatched any chance he’s had with both hands – scoring a vital goal against Brighton and netting the equaliser against West Brom in the week. Bogle is fast becoming a fan favourite and has shown he came play as effectively on both sides after playing LWB against West Brom and Manchester City.
Chelsea: Timo Werner
Despite firing blanks for a number of weeks, big-money signing Timo Werner is still a danger to any team, and Spurs found that out midweek. Less than 30 seconds in, he came close to opening the scoring after getting between the two centre halves and looping a header which dropped just over Huge Lloris’ goal.
In truth, Werner’s movement off the ball won Chelsea the game. Again, he got between the two centre halves in a bid to get on the end of a Cesar Azpilicueta through-ball and in his efforts to win the ball, Eric Dier swiped at him and brought him down for a penalty.
There has been a lot of talk about where his favourite position is. Primarily, he has played as a left-winger for Chelsea, but in his last season with RB Leipzig, he spent the majority of his time playing as a centre forward and scored 30 goals from 38 game in that role. In the two games under Tuchel so far, he has played in two different positions, but he will hope it’s only a matter of time before he starts to find his finish again.
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Ramsdale, Bogle, Basham, Egan, Bryan, Osborn, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Burke, Brewster
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy, James, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorghino, Kovacic, Mount, Werner, Abraham