After picking up their first win of the season against Norwich City last weekend thanks to the talents of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount, Frank Lampard's Chelsea will be looking to build on their progress as they face another newly promoted side in the shape of Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
A maiden Premier League victory will have pleased Lampard, but the fact it took three games to come will not - especially after he watched his side play well in parts against Manchester United and Leicester City without picking up a win.
Meanwhile, Chris Wilder's Blades have made a near-identical start (albeit with better goal difference) to the new season as their illustrious opponents and they will still go into this game in confident mood, feeling they can grab a draw against a very Chelsea side who have all the frailties of a team in transition.
Here is 90min’s preview of Saturday’s clash.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 31 August|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Stamford Bridge|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BBC Sport Final Score/BT Sport Score|
Where to Buy Tickets
Alongside this, N’Golo Kante may also return after he missed the game against Norwich due to a niggling ankle injury. Both Kante and forward Pedro will face a fitness test in order to make the team on Saturday, according to Lampard.
Abraham repaid Lampard’s faith in him by scoring twice against Norwich and therefore looks set to keep his place this weekend, while fellow youngster Mason Mount is likely to start as well, if he can shake off a knock to his calf that he picked up against the Canaries.
Reuben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi remain long-term absentees and will miss out again.
For Sheffield United, they only have one injury concern ahead of the clash with John Fleck missing last weekend’s defeat against Leicester due to a knock. However, he could return to the squad this weekend if he faces no further setbacks in training.
Up front, Billy Sharp and Oli McBurnie will be desperate to make their first Premier League starts of their careers after both scoring off the bench in United’s opening games.
|Chelsea||Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Pulisic; Abraham|
|Sheffield United||Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Freeman, Stevens; McGoldrick, McBurnie|
Head to Head Record
Saturday’s match will be the 81st meeting between the sides but the first since 17 March 2007, with Chelsea winning 3-0 at Stamford Bridge that day.
Chelsea have recorded 38 victories over the Blades, with Sheffield United winning 27 times. There have therefore been 15 draws. A draw will be a result Sheffield United will be hoping for on Saturday, but there has not been one between the two sides since 1990, with both Chelsea and United winning five times each since then.
As eluded to earlier, Chelsea have played well in parts this season, fielding a more youthful side under new manager Lampard. However, they lost the UEFA Super Cup final to Liverpool earlier in August and their league form has been rather inconsistent, but it is improving. Defeat on the opening weekend was then followed up with a draw before Lampard finally won his first competitive game as Chelsea boss, last time out against Norwich, in a thriller which ended 3-2.
Lampard has incredible trust in youngsters such as Abraham and Mount, who are now repaying this in the shape of goals. Last week’s victory will help grow the sides confidence immensely and they will look to kick on again with victory over Sheffield United.
For Sheffield United, despite defeat at home last time out to a Leicester side who have aspirations to finish in the top six, Wilder and the supporters will have been encouraged.
United have also progressed through into the third round of the Carabao Cup after a much-changed side defeated Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday which will have also pleased Wilder.
Back to the Premier League and Billy Sharp scrambled the ball in to get the Blades a valuable point down on the south coast at Bournemouth before United, who kept the most clean sheets in the Championship last term, grounded out a 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace leaving them with four points so far, level with Chelsea.
Here’s how both sides have performed in their last five games.
|Norwich 2-3 Chelsea (24/08)||Sheffield United 2-1 Blackburn (27/08)|
|Chelsea 1-1 Leicester (18/08)||Sheffield United 1-2 Leicester (24/08)|
|Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool (14/08)||Sheffield United 1-0 Crystal Palace (18/08)|
|Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea (11/08)||Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United (10/08)|
|Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 Chelsea (03/08)||Stade Reims 3-1 Sheffield United (03/08)|
Despite the good start, the trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea is a real tough test for Wilder’s men and is another level up from who they have faced so far in terms of quality.
Whilst United will try to frustrate the Blues by showing discipline and organisation, two attributes that Wilder’s side have become known for, Chelsea have regained confidence in attack.
Alongside this, the return of both Rudiger and Kante will make Chelsea more defensively solid if they both start, meaning it is hard to see where Sheffield United are going to score from. Overall, it is expected the likes of Mount and Pulisic will provide enough class to turn this game in Chelsea’s favour.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Sheffield United