Chelsea vs Sheffield United: 5 Key Takeaways

Chelsea vs Sheffield United saw an almost complete display from Frank’s troops against a traditionally tricky opponent. Despite going down 1-0 early to a delightful McGoldrick flick, the Blues kept positive and scored 4 unanswered goals to head into the international break on a high. Below outlines the 5 key takeaways from this match.

Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva both were among the goals against Sheffield United. Credit: Pool via Reuters
Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva both were among the goals against Sheffield United. Credit: Pool via Reuters

1. Set pieces prove to be a common theme

Chelsea and set pieces over the past couple of seasons have not been a happy marriage. However, this season the Blues look a lot more comfortable with dealing with set pieces, and actually using them to their advantage.

While Frank would not have been pleased to concede an early opener due to an uncharacteristic switching off from a short corner that led to the classy McGoldrick flick, he was surely pleased with how his troops responded in kind with their own attacking set pieces.

Thanks to the influence of new defensive coach Anthony Barry, new troops at the back in Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy, and the beast Kurt Zouma, the Blues now look formidable in both defending and attacking set pieces. This will need to be a strong point of focus for Chelsea as they look to bridge the gap between themselves and the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Silva rises high and scores his first goal for Chelsea following Ziyech's perfect delivery. Credit:  Mike Hewitt/PA Wire
Silva rises high and scores his first goal for Chelsea following Ziyech’s perfect delivery. Credit:  Mike Hewitt/PA Wire

2. Confidence and Character remains high

After the Blues started off slowly and were punished by the Irish assassin McGoldrick, there were collective heads dropping from the supporter base – ‘oh no, not again’. However, and more importantly, it was the players and Frank who kept their heads up to remain positive and trust in themselves that they would work their way back into the match. And that they did! Emphatically!

Two quick-fire goals shortly after the opener, followed up by two more after half-time really showed two things of Frank’s men: 1) They have strong inner self-belief and confidence and 2) the frailties of old are just that, old.

The Blues will need to keep working and refining their game, particularly as more sterner challenges await, but should they continue to demonstrate the same kind of character that was evident against Sheffield United, they will be on the right side of the ledger more often than not.

Chilwell celebrates his goal after an amazing cross from Ziyech. Credit: Pool via Reuters

3. Ziyech produces magic yet again

Hakim Ziyech, the Moroccan Magician of Stamford Bridge and Chelsea’s most recent saviour. The confident and creative wizard continues to shine for the Blues and he was once again at his brilliant best as his wiazrdry bamboozled and tormented Chris Wilder’s men.

While fans will naturally gravitate to the breath-taking deliveries for Ben Chilwell’s and Thiago Silva’s goals, the truth is his highlights reel extended much further than that and could/should have had another assist and a goal as well.

The swagger and point of difference he is bringing to Chelsea’s attack is very exciting for Blues fans, including the partnership he and rising star Reece James (RJ) are forming. Ziyech’s ability to be able to cut inside and occupy that space allows the overlap for RJ to exploit the width of the pitch and deliver those amazing crosses. Good luck opposition stopping these two, and in particular, the unpredictable Moroccan Magician!

Hakim Ziyech with yet another fantastic performance for Chelsea against Sheffield United. Credit: Getty Images
Hakim Ziyech with yet another fantastic performance for Chelsea against Sheffield United. Credit: Getty Images

4. Kovacic is still a baller

Chelsea’s reigning player of the season and Croatian sensation Mateo Kovacic has not seen much football this season to date. However, during the game against the Blades Kovavic was absolutely outstanding.

Beyond the assist for Abraham following his intelligent run and cut-back, the creative and skilful midfielder seemed to thrive in this more advanced position. A criticism of Kovacic’s game last season was that, despite for all of his amazing dribbling, passing and quick acceleration, he was rarely involved in providing direct goal contributions.

Additionally, he seemed to have a very good understanding and chemistry with Hakim Ziyech who perhaps allowed Mateo to play with less pressure and, Kante’s protection at the base enabled him to go about his game a little more freely.

While Havertz will likely walk right back into the XI, probably alongside Mount and Kante based on recent form, there’s no reason why Kovacic can’t give Frank selection headaches, especially with performances like he gave in the Chelsea vs Sheffield United clash.

Mateo Kovacic had a brilliant game for Chelsea in a more advanced position. Credit: PA
Mateo Kovacic had a brilliant game for Chelsea in a more advanced position. Credit: PA

5. Tammy continues to impress

Despite his impressive 2019/20 campaign, many had doubts as to the future of Tammy Abraham given the influx of attacking talent that the Blues acquired.

To Tammy’s credit, rather than put his head down, he put his head in the right way. He worked hard to show Frank that he is willing to fight for his position (similar to Mason Mount in some respects) and has used his minimised game time very effectively. During this time also, Abraham has shown that he is not a one trick pony and that he has strengthened his hold up play, positional awareness, ability to link-up with his team mates, and of course, his finishing.

A large portion of the Blues faithful have Werner playing central, Pulisic to the left and Ziyech to the right as their best attacking set up. However, Tammy’s performances of late (including during the Chelsea vs Sheffield United match) might just start to sway a few fans and get them (along with Frank) to question whether Tammy should be regarded as a regular starter.

Tammy Abraham continues to deliver despite his limited minutes this season. Credit: Pool via Reuters
Tammy Abraham continues to deliver despite his limited minutes this season. Credit: Pool via Reuters

Written and edited by Ross-John (RJ) Bonaccorsi (@RJ_Goodthings)


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