Chelsea will be looking to get back to winning ways against Sheffield United after a miserable couple of weeks which has seen them lose three out of their last four, leaving them in 12th place. Sheffield United will also be hoping for an upturn in fortunes as Chris Wilder takes charge of his second game since returning to the club to replace former manager Paul Heckingbottom.
The Blues come into this game off the back of two disappointing defeats at Manchester United and Everton, but return home in desperate need of three points. The Blades picked up just their second win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Brentford last weekend, in what was Wilder’s first game back as United boss. Prior to Heckingbottom’s sacking, they had lost three games in a row, conceding 10 goals and scoring one. They have the worst defence in the league, conceding 41 goals so far, which includes the heavy 8-0 defeat at home to Newcastle in September. They remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have endured a dismal campaign so far, earning just 19 points from 16 games, and are already sitting 14 points adrift of the top four, despite spending over £400m in the summer. Whilst it is an inexperienced squad, their current standing is inexcusable for a club of their stature and their form has placed the manager under huge pressure just six months into the job. They have produced impressive displays against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal, but came away with only two points. Their main struggles have come against teams who like to sit back, meaning that this weekend’s opponents could provide another tough test for the West Londoners.
This fixture marks the start of a busy Christmas period for both teams as they hope to turn their seasons around. Chelsea will be hoping that a return to fitness for star summer signing Christopher Nkunku is on the horizon, though in the meantime they have been leaning on the talents of another arrival in Cole Palmer. The youngster has scored five goals in 13 appearances but has also been instrumental in orchestrating the attack. It has been a struggle in front of goal for the most part, but they will also have to rely on the likes of Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson to get past what will be a deep Sheffield United defence.
The visitors have scored only 12 goals in this campaign, so will have to make the most of any rare chances they may get given. Just six different players have found the back of the net, whilst three have done so on more than one occasion. Oli McBurnie, Gustavo Hamer and Cameron Archer have all scored two goals each.
In the last five meetings between the sides, Chelsea have won three and drawn one, whilst Sheffield United beat them 3-0 at Bramall Lane in 2019.