Chelsea will look to pick their first home win of the season when they welcome newly-promoted Sheffield United to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday.
Frank Lampard is enduring a tough start to his stint as the Blues manager, having picked up just 4 points from the first 3 games and losing the UEFA Super Cup to Liverpool on penalties.
The London club lost 4-0 to Manchester United in the opening game of the season before throwing away a fantastic start against Leicester at home to share the spoils in the end. However, Lampard got his first win as Chelsea manager last week against Norwich, a 3-2 away win.Embed from Getty Images
Now, the club legend will aim to get his first home win before the international break and end this month on a high.
Coming to their opponents, Sheffield United are in the PL for the first time in 12 years, having clinched automatic promotion behind Norwich. The Blades also have 4 points so far and are doing better than most people expected them to at the start of the season.Embed from Getty Images
Chris Wilder’s men held Bournemouth to a 1-1 draw at the Vitality Stadium before notching up their first win of the season at home against Crystal Palace. While they did lose their next game away to Leicester, the promoted side beat Blackburn midweek in the League Cup to lift spirits in time for the big match.
Although a win might seem unlikely, Sheffield United are a solid defensive unit and will back themselves to get something out of the game.
In terms of team news, Lampard will once again be without Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Reece James while Pedro is ruled out with a hamstring strain. Antonio Rudiger could get his first start of the season while Callum Hudson-Odoi can be expected to make the matchday squad.
Finally, N’Golo Kante’s ankle injury is being managed while Mason Mount is a doubt after getting a kick to his calf in the previous game. If he fails to make it, expect Ross Barkley to take his place in the midfield 3 while Willian comes in for Pedro in attack.
For the Blades, Kean Bryan is ruled out while John Fleck is a doubt as he recovers from a thigh injury. Barring these 2, Wilder has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Head-To-Head and Chelsea vs Sheffield United Prediction
In terms of head-to-head, the sides met just twice this century, way back in the 2006-2007 PL season, with Chelsea winning both the games. However, the loss of key players and lack of signings imply this Chelsea side is not as strong as its predecessors and Sheffield will look to get a draw or even nick a win should the opportunity arise.
The Blues have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their games so far and the visitors will be looking to keep it that way for another way. Neither team has scored loads of goals so far, Chelsea scoring 4 and Sheffield scoring 3, and another low-scoring game can be expected.
However, Chelsea have lost just once in their last 54 PL games against promoted clubs at home and have lost just once in their last 23 league games at Stamford Bridge. Adding this to the fact that their attack is slowly clicking into gear, Lampard should get his first managerial win at home in this game but less than 2.5 goals is to be expected.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Mount; Barkley, Pulisic, Abraham
Sheffield United Predicted XI: Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Freeman, Stevens; McGoldrick, Robinson