A penalty from Jorginho in the 58th minute ended up being the winning goal as Sheffield United were defeated at Bramall Lane on Sunday night. Chelsea had taken the lead just before the half-time whistle through Mason Mount's controlled finish. Sheffield United equalised through a comical own goal conceded by Antonio Rudiger. However, they were only on level terms for a 3 minutes before VAR awarded a penalty to Chelsea after Aaron Ramsdale fouled Timo Werner in the box.
It was a similar story for Chris Wilder's side. They stayed in the game and never seemed overwhelmed by an in-from Chelsea side. However, momentary lapses of concentration proved fatal once again as they missed the chance to move off the bottom of the table.
Whilst their form has improved over the last few weeks, picking up 3 wins in their last 6 league games, the tough games continue to come. West Ham, Liverpool and Leicester all to come in their next 5 league games. With Sheffield United still rooted firmly to the bottom of the table, and all the sides directly above the relegation zone picking up points over the Premier League weekend, it is looking increasingly likely that a return to the Championship beckons for The Blades.
Preparing for next season
Many managers in Chris Wilder's position would have been sacked long before now. However, given relegation has seemed the most likely outcome for some time, it makes sense to keep Wilder in his role and prepare for next season. A managerial change at this position would do little to change the outcome of the season, and only likely ruin preparations for next season. The board have acted well to allow Chris Wilder the opportunity to firstly try and keep them up and secondly, give him the chance to manage in the Championship.
A lot of the players who are currently there have been with the club when they were in the Championship, and some of them even when they were in League 1. They know and understand what it would take to get out the league, and Chris Wilder would be the best man to keep that core of players together to ensure a return to the Premier League (should they go down,of course).
Coupled with experience of some the squad, there is also a group of young players who are keen to prove themselves. Players like Rhian Brewster and Kean Bryan have seen their opportunities few and far between. Unlikely that an offer from a Premier League side would come in for either, they should be able to showcase their talents in the Championship should the inevitable happen. All of this is only possible with Wilder at the helm, keeping these group of players together.
Burke and McBurnie
A positive from the game was the performance of the two Oli's. Oliver Burke and Oli McBurnie. The pair worked well in tandem together and caused Chelsea some problems defensively, especially in the first half. Both strikers are physically strong, with McBurnie a force in the air and Burke possessing electric pace.
Sheffield United have struggled for goals all season. Whilst neither got on the scoresheet, their performance would have certainly been encouraging for Chris Wilder. It should be an option he continues to use for the remainder of the season as their physicality and pace will cause all sides in the league some troubles.
Injuries a problem
A lot of talk has been made throughout the season about how injuries have seemingly piled up. A congested fixture list on top of a lack of preseason has resulted in plenty of sides suffering long-term injuries to key players. Sheffield United have been no exception.
The Blades were only able to name 6 players on the bench, and have not been able to name a full matchday squad for some time. Injuries to Jack O'Connell, Sander Berge, Enda Stephens and Lys Mousset, all of whom were key to their success last season, have massively affected the fluency and stability of the side. One can only wonder where they would have been if they were able to name these players in most their match day squads.