Chelsea made it 9 games in all competitions without defeat as they demolished Sheffield United 4-1 at the weekend.
It was a huge win for Frank Lampard’s side who have now moved up to 5th place in the table with 15 points and are only three behind the current league leaders Leicester.
This was always going to be an important season for Chelsea where the pressure would be mounted on Lampard who was given a ‘pass’ in his debut season with the club. That pass was still justified as Lampard steered the club into Champions League qualification, but finishing 4th in the season without any trophies usually doesn’t cut it at the Blues anymore. Given funds to spend this summer, Chelsea will be expecting more and the early signs are looking good, for example with 20 goals scored already Chelsea have netted the most goals for a Premier League club.
As for the game you talk about pressure on Lampard but spare a thought for Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder. His side were a constant thorn in some of the big teams last season and pulled off some magnificent results along the way to finishing 9th with 54 points. But the Blades entered this game in the bottom three and had lost six times already with no wins.
The surprise of the match then was when the away side opened the scoring. David McGoldrick scored his 2nd goal of the campaign and from Chelsea’s perspective it looked incredibly hard to keep out. The ball was crossed in and an initial shot went wayward but fell to McGoldrick like a ball in a pinball machine and he slotted home before anyone could really react.
What happened next was the reaction that Chelsea showed which spoke volumes- they believed the goal was lucky and they played calm and assured football almost as if they knew if they stuck with their game plan they would get themselves back into it. Lampard had opted for an attacking 4-3-3 and that meant Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech were pushed up front. And 14 minutes after United had taken the lead it was 1-1 through Abraham who had connected onto a Mateo Kovacic pass.
Chelsea took the lead 11 minutes later through the impressive Ben Chilwell who has really fit straight into the side after his move from Leicester in the summer. Chilwell was the last man on the post to turn it in after a terrific pass from Ziyech. The half ended with Chelsea in front by 2-1 and the London club had 5 shots on target and almost 70% of possession.
As the 2nd half went on Chelsea dominated and the game never looked like going 2-2, this was confirmed in the 77th minute when another Ziyech assist set up Thiago Silva who glanced in his header to score his first goal for Chelsea, and it was a goal that effectively wrapped up the game at 3-1.
But Chelsea were not finished and just three minutes later they added a fourth through Timo Werner who smashed home an easy chance. The German international has started to show his qualities lately and that was his 4th goal of the league campaign.
The Blues had 11 goal attempts in the second half alone and one of their stand out players at the weekend was Ziyech and Lampard was full of praise for their new Moroccan signing. “He gives us a different style in terms of the left foot off the right side. It’s not something we’ve had much of in recent years. The ability to find the last pass or the last cross, to break teams down with a low block. We saw that today, we clearly saw that today.”
Chelsea’s leading pair of players in the fantasy rankings are Ben Chilwell and Kurt Zouma who have 24 points each.
Sheffield United are having a woeful season and that defeat has left the club at the bottom of the league. As for Chelsea though the sky looks like the limit. After spending big in the summer it seems that the team have really clicked now, and after the international break they will play Newcastle away from home where they will be going for their 10th unbeaten game in all competitions.
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