Following on from last weekend’s maiden Premier League victory of the season at Norwich, Chelsea now have the opportunity to build momentum ahead of the international break with a win over another newly-promoted side in Sheffield United.
Victory at Carrow Road, whilst also handing Frank Lampard his first win as Chelsea boss, was a crucial stepping stone in the fledgeling careers of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham who both got themselves on the scoresheet.
Abraham had previously come under scrutiny for failing to impose himself at the forefront of Chelsea’s attack, but with a match-winning brace to now show for his efforts the 21-year-old has all the confidence he needs to kick on and stake his claim for a more regular starting berth.
Mount, on the other hand, continued to repay Lampard’s faith in him by netting his second goal in as many games, a promising run of form that has now seen the midfielder called up to the senior England set-up for friendlies against Bulgaria and Kosovo.
Sheffield United have shown few signs of defensive fragility thus far, but with goals seemingly hard to come by they may well come unstuck against more clinical opposition.
A disheartening late collapse at home to Leicester could well enact a more pragmatic approach from Chris Wilder, who has persisted with his unorthodox ball playing system which encourages United’s centre-halves to make overlapping runs, but with Chelsea themselves unsettled at the back there is no reason for the Blades not to fancy picking up points this weekend.
Here is our predicted XI…
In spite of Chelsea’s erratic defending Kepa has looked capable of producing an array of game saving stops when called upon.
Provided a much more dangerous outlet from the flanks, setting up Abraham’s opener with a wonderful cross in to the area. Will need to produce a similar sort of performance if he is to keep his spot in the team. Reece James’s imminent return looks set to create competition at right-back for the first time in years.
Has begun to grow in confidence as he adapts to Lampard’s style of play, and the Dane certainly possesses the raw ball playing qualities desired.
Zouma’s poor positioning and tendency to get caught ball watching makes him the prime target to be dropped after the international break, and as such a first clean sheet of the season is greatly needed.
Having profiled his impressive start to the season just yesterday, I have almost run out of superlatives to describe the Italian’s transformation. Emerson has clearly worked hard on his defensive discipline over the summer, and his game has become more well rounded as a result.
Another player undergoing somewhat of a renaissance this season, Jorginho has rather fickly been welcomed back with adoring arms by sections of the Chelsea faithful as his importance to the side has become more apparent.
The Croatian has completed all 11 of the dribbles he has attempted this season and having been restored to a deeper role his best qualities are beginning to show through. His defensive cover, however is not enough by itself and Jorginho needs to take on more of the burden or else risk being replaced by N’Golo Kante.
Laid on an assist for Mount’s goal last weekend and will be hoping to provide the same sort of end product on a consistent basis. Pedro’s injury now means even more responsibility has fallen upon the young American and he will be expected to deliver.
Despite such a promising pre-season Barkley has struggled for game time and his cameo appearance against Norwich did little to sway Lampard’s thinking. His goal scoring threat from midfield could well be a timely addition to the squad.
Chelsea’s standout performer already this season Mount has yet another opportunity to cement his place in Lampard’s starting eleven, although he looks set to start out wide and his influence may therefore wain.
Brimming full of confidence after last weekend’s performance, Abraham could take huge strides to displacing veteran forward Olivier Giroud in the pecking order should the Englishman produce another match winning display.