Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea
Sheffield United dealt a huge blow to Chelsea’s top-four hopes tonight with a thumping 3-0 win, a result which takes the Blades up to sixth in the Premier League table.
Two goals from David McGoldrick, his first of the season, punched a hole in Chelsea’s hopes while Chris Wilder’s side are looking upwards.
Blues boss Frank Lampard knew full well that his team would have to navigate this tough test if they were to stamp their Champions League credentials on the competition. And they failed spectacularly, defending like amateurs, which you can’t do against a side like Sheffield United.
The Blues have been in the top four of the Premier League throughout the season, but things are hotting up in the race for Europe’s top competition and Chelsea now need to win all three remaining games.
Meanwhile, in today’s other Premier League 2020 news, a 4-0 defeat to West Ham has relegated Norwich City back to the Championship.
Highlights of the game
Christian Pulisic has been in sensational form for Chelsea since the restart and he had a chance to open the scoring in the sixth minute. Willian fed Reece James on the right wing, and he sent in a beautiful curling cross which Pulisic met at the far post but headed just wide.
As they have done so often this season, the Blades hurried and harried their opponents and they opened the scoring on 18 minutes in a potent attack. Oli McBurnie met a deep cross and his deflected volley was brilliantly stopped by Kepa, but McGoldrick was on the spot to poke Sheffield into the lead.
It was McGoldrick’s first goal of the season in 26 matches, which sounds like a poor return for a striker, but as an all-around player he impresses his boss week in week out, and today he finally got his reward.
Chelsea score plenty of goals, but defensively they’ve been suspect and the Blades exploited that again on 32 minutes. Left-back Enda Stevens was given time and space to cross and McBurnie was unmarked to head home.
The Scot was an understudy to Tammy Abraham at Swansea two seasons ago and didn’t get a sniff, so this was a sweet moment for McBurnie.
Abraham scored both Chelsea goals in the 2-2 draw against the Blades at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, but he didn’t see much of the ball in the first half. Wing-back James came closest to scoring with a rasping low drive which Dean Henderson did well to keep out.
The Blues struggled to turn possession into chances in the early stages of the second period and they found the Blades defence in stubborn mood. Centre-back John Egan has scored in his two previous games, against Burnley and Wolves, but he was on hand at the back to clear the danger after Marcos Alonso fired a cross into the six-yard box.
And Egan made a brave block to deny Pulisic as Chelsea started to ramp up the pressure. With half an hour remaining, Frank Lampard threw Olivier Giroud on to support Abraham and the French striker was in the action immediately, volleying just wide with his first touch.
Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta came close with a fierce low drive but Jack O’Connell just did enough to deflect the ball inches wide. But just as the Blues looked like they were getting somewhere, the Blades cut them down with a breakaway third.
McGoldrick started the move and when the ball reached Lys Mousset on the right he squared, Anton Rudiger made a mess of his clearance and McGoldrick gratefully fired home his second.
And the striker should have had an assist too when he put Mousset clean through on goal but the French striker dinked his effort wide.
The pre-match Premier League 2020 betting odds for this match had Sheffield United at 5.20 to win and Chelsea at 1.60, but the Blades were emphatic in their victory.
It was their fourth home win in a row, the first time they have achieved that in the Premier League.
McGoldrick’s first-ever Premier League goal came from his 42nd shot of the season, now that is perseverance. And just like buses in Sheffield, you wait ages for one and then two arrive at the same time!
The SBOBET Premier League schedule is as busy as ever over the next week as four of the Europe-chasing sides are in action tomorrow.
Leicester City are away to struggling Bournemouth, while Wolves host mid-table Everton. And there’s the small matter of the North London derby where Spurs and Arsenal are set to renew hostilities.
Tough games keep coming at the Blades and they just keep responding. Next up they are away to fourth-placed Leicester, before hosting Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are at home to Norwich City, and then they have an FA Cup semi-final against a resurgent Manchester United to look forward to.
That’s sure to be a great game and one which Lampard will target in his hunt for silverware, but anything but a win against the relegated Canaries will spell disaster.
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