After a disastrous afternoon at Bramall Lane, which arguably resulted in Chelsea’s worst game of the season, we take a look at exactly what went wrong against the Blades – and what this means for our Champions League prospects…
A Bad Day for the Boss
Usually, we applaud Frank Lampard for his tactics. However, on Saturday, the boss got it extremely wrong. The starting XI didn’t appear too unfamiliar, with the main talking points being both Tammy Abraham and Jorginho back in the team. However, the two players had terrible games at the weekend, which we’ll delve into a bit later. After witnessing a disheartening first half from the Blues, Lampard made two substitutions, replacing both Mason Mount and Andreas Christensen for Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger, reverting to a back three, with Alonso and Reece James as the wing-backs. He then took off Chrisitian Pulisic (arguably our best player that game, perhaps after Ross Barkley) for Olivier Giroud, playing with two forwards. However, they failed to make much of an impact. Just moments later, the boss took off James for Callum Hudson-Odoi, changing the formation once again. Minutes later, we conceded, with Rudiger being at fault for the goal. No matter what Lampard did, he couldn’t figure out a way past Chris Wilder’s side.
Tammy Abraham: Another Woeful Performance Since Project Restart
With Abraham finally ending his goal drought by netting in Chelsea’s 3-2 win against Crystal Palace earlier this week, we had reason to believe that the 22-year-old would be back on the score sheet during Saturday’s game. However, like many of the Chelsea players on the pitch, he was unable to make a difference that afternoon. The Englishman appeared sloppy on the ball, constantly falling over and failing to pose a threat against the Blades. When Giroud came on alongside the youngster, the Frenchman was more effective, suggesting that Lampard should have started the in-form striker all along.
Jorginho: A Bad Comeback Game for the Italian
With the likes of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Billy Gilmour all injured for the game, it was Jorginho’s chance to prove himself on Saturday, having only played 10 minutes against Palace. However, the 28-year-old appeared completely lost, with the opposition able to close him down quickly. David McGoldrick was also able to get away for Jorginho for the third goal, putting the Blades up by three goals in the latter stages of the match. All in all, a bad performance for the Italian.
Where Was the Drive?
However, despite the fact that both Abraham and Jorginho had particularly bad games, there was no drive from any of the players on Saturday. With just three matches to go until the end of the season and the Blues still desperately fighting for a Champions League spot, the players should have had the motivation to go out and fight against the Blades. Therefore, the lack of drive that was demonstrated on Saturday, means we must question the mentality of the squad and wonder why they didn’t show any ambition.
Some Home Truths…
Although this is a point that has cropped up in nearly every ‘5 Things’ this season, we need to direct our attention, yet again, to the defence. On Saturday, we made it way too easy for Sheffield United – and thanks to our poor defensive mistakes, they were able to get three past us that game. The first goal, which was stopped by Kepa Arrizabalaga originally, should have been cleared by either Christensen or Kurt Zouma, who instead just stood there and watched as McGolrick got his first Premier League goal. The next goal resulted in Zouma being unable to cover his man – and let’s not even get started on that mistake by Rudiger for the third. Although James had some positive attacking moments, he also looked extremely poor defensively. With rumours still circulating about a certain Kai Havertz coming to Chelsea, we must think about our defensive issues first if we have any chance of competing for the title in the near future.