Final Score 4-1
After a good start for Sheffield United, where they went at Chelsea and took the lead through David McGoldrick, the home side took almost complete control.
Four goals in response constituted an impressive comeback from Frank Lampard’s side who were in front by half-time, before putting the game away in the second half whilst maintaining nearly three-quarters of the possession throughout.
Edouard Mendy – 6
Conceded his first Premier League goal to break his impressive clean sheet streak but was not really at fault. Not faultless with his handling and missed his punch at a cross late in the first half to bring back memories of Kepa Arrizabalaga, but generally inspired more confidence than the deposed Spaniard. Almost completely untested in the second half.
Reece James – 7
Another decent display from the young right-back who looks to have supplanted Cesar Azpilicueta as first choice. Was involved in much of the play throughout and got forward down the right, although his crosses were not always of a high enough standard. Had one decent attempt from a free-kick late on.
Kurt Zouma – 7
The French defender has developed a long way playing alongside the veteran Thiago Silva in recent weeks. That growth continued today with Zouma largely comfortable on the ball and, as ever, strong in the air. It feels like he is getting back on track after years out on loan. Appears to be comfortably second choice at centre-back.
Thiago Silva – 7
The veteran Brazilian showed he has plenty left to give, although he can expect tougher tests than the one Sheffield United provided. Gave the ball away a couple of times in the second half which would have caused problems against stronger opposition, but also displayed surprising covering speed for a 36-year-old. Scored his first Chelsea goal for the third with a flicked header, timing his run perfectly to meet a Hakim Ziyech free-kick unchallenged.
Ben Chilwell – 8
Admittedly he was not tested defensively to a huge degree, but the England left back’s performance was good enough for the up and down years since Ashley Cole’s departure to start to slip from memory. Chilwell was prominent throughout without getting to the byline as much as James on the other flank, aside from a committed late run at the back post to get the better of Max Lowe and score off his thigh to put Chelsea ahead. Went close to a second a short time after.Embed from Getty Images
Mateo Kovacic – 6
Started in place of Jorginho and probably did enough to justify that decision without being overly involved in the first half. Assisted the first goal with a pull back from the right that found Tammy Abraham. Grew into the game more after half time and should have scored when put clean through early in the second period. Had another shot narrowly wide before going off injured after 71 minutes.
N’Golo Kante – 7
Was able to fit into his natural role as the deepest of the midfield three in the absence of Jorginho and looked more comfortable as a result. The World Cup-winner is an underrated pivot to go with his ability to break up the play, although he was not as sharp on the ball. Was probably at fault for Sheffield United’s opener as both he and Ziyech followed the ball, which left George Baldock free down the right. Shifted forward after the introduction of Jorginho and nicked possession a couple of times to start counter-attacks.
Mason Mount – 6
Eager and tidy if not really the difference-maker at any point. The England man had one good dipping shot repelled by Aaron Ramsdale late on but otherwise did not stand out. The favourite son of manager Lampard, his inclusion will likely cause less controversy as part of the midfield three rather than as a wide attacker. His lack of pace is less of an issue here, while his industry is still an asset. With an abundance of exciting attackers in the squad, a quiet game from Mount will not be such an issue further back.
Hakim Ziyech – 9 – Man of the Match
The ex-Ajax winger continued with his excellent form since belatedly breaking into the team after injury. He was very close to perfect today and, were it not for a few wayward balls and giving away possession on occasion, would probably have warranted a 10 rating. All the best Chelsea moves involved Ziyech in some way, with his wonderful left foot causing Sheffield United endless problems at the back. Good work in the build-up for Tammy Abraham’s opener, along with two beautiful assists for Chilwell and Silva. Two further balls that could (and probably should) have been finished by Timo Werner meant there was no argument about who was the stand-out player in a strong team performance. Looks to have quickly risen to the top of the list of Chelsea’s plentiful attacking wide options.Embed from Getty Images
Timo Werner – 6
Although the German did eventually get on the scoresheet late on for Chelsea’s fourth, reacting sharply to a loose ball to smash a finish past Ramsdale, he struggled to get involved in the game on the left of a front three. The extent of his first-half involvement was a shot hammered against the bar from a Ziyech delivery, and he lifted the ball over the keeper but wide when set through one-on-one by Ziyech again in the second. Dropped deep to get involved and was replaced by Olivier Giroud in the closing minutes.
Tammy Abraham – 6
As is often the case with Abraham, he played well while suggesting he could have brought more. Was in position to score a scuffed finish to bring Chelsea level in the first half, with the type of goal that would likely be attributed to skill and precision with a bigger name but is often put down to luck with Abraham. Otherwise, his hold up play was reasonable, although his shooting was not particularly dangerous. Probably did just about enough to justify his place in the centre ahead of Werner or Giroud.
Jorginho – (on for Kovacic ’71) – 5
Did not get involved much and looked a bit slack when on the ball. Continues to look like the odd man out in the Chelsea midfield.
Olivier Giroud – (on for Werner ’87) – N/A
One good combo with Ziyech in injury time suggested he may have enjoyed today’s game but no time to influence.
SHEFFIELD UNITED RATINGS
Aaron Ramsdale – 6
Unsurprisingly the busiest of the United players considering their lack of possession, Ramsdale had an uneven game. Conceded four goals, although three he could do little about. Really should not have allowed Chilwell to sneak around the back and score from close range, but otherwise made some decent saves including from Chilwell again soon after the goal, the Reece James free-kick, and Mount late on.Embed from Getty Images
Chris Basham – 5
Unable to stop Chelsea turning the game completely in their favour as part of a five-man defence, but produced a great recovery tackle soon after half time to prevent what looked like a certain goal for Kovacic. Gaps between him and his fellow central defenders were far too large on a number of occasions.
John Egan – 6
Again, part of a back-line that was played through too easily, especially by Ziyech, but got a crucial head to a curling shot from the Moroccan to send the ball over the bar shortly before denying Abraham with a great last-ditch block in the second half. Booked for a cynical foul on Werner in the first period.
Enda Stevens – 3
Poor performance from the full-back playing in a central three. Only standout moment was a negative one as his poor header let in Kovacic for what should have been a goal were it not for Basham’s intervention.
George Baldock – 5
Played his part in the opening goal, finding himself free in behind on the right after a corner before cutting the ball back for Sander Berge to assist McGoldrick. Aside from this, he did attempt to get forward down the right on the rare occasion United had some possession, but these were few and far between.
Sander Berge – 4
Assisted the opening goal with a pass into the six-yard box but largely bypassed otherwise. Gave away possession before committing a clumsy foul midway through the second half and was booked later on for the most obvious cynical pull-back on Kante you are ever likely to see.
Oliver Norwood – 5
Anonymous aside from an excellent reverse pass to Baldock in the build-up to McGoldrick’s goal. Replaced by Ben Osborn after an hour.
John Lundstram – 3
Contributed next to nothing to Sheffield United’s cause in midfield. Even referee Jon Moss forgot he was there when Lundstram escaped a certain booking after the advantage went on for a long time after the foul.
Max Lowe – 6
Was poor in letting Chilwell drift in behind him to score Chelsea’s second at the back post, but at least he was noticeable in his attempts to get forward and get on the ball. Tested Mendy with a decent first-half strike from outside the box and was one of Sheffield United’s more prominent players.
Rhian Brewster – 3
A very poor game for the youngster. Had no service from a United side that sat back after their opener, but even compared to his attacking partner McGoldrick he was extremely quiet. A sloppy failed clearance almost let Abraham in during the second half, before he was replaced after an hour.
David McGoldrick – 7
Produced a lovely flicked finish with his back to goal to open the scoring, with three of his four Premier League goals now coming against Chelsea. Scoring in this Sheffield United side is currently some achievement, so he probably merits a team-high rating. Similar to Brewster, he lacked service but was more willing to chase down Chelsea defenders and make runs in the channels even when the cause was lost.Embed from Getty Images
Ben Osborn – (on for Norwood ’62) – N/A
It should speak volumes that a player that came on with half an hour left did not do enough to generate a rating.
Oliver McBurnie – (on for Brewster ’62) – 3
Was more involved than the man he replaced. Unfortunately, the majority of that involvement consisted of giving away fouls.