Timo Werner speaks: “A good win for us … it was very difficult the whole game, against a high defending Sheffield United … and we are proud that we win and that we continue on from our last wins … again no goal [for me] but it’s good that I can see I can help the team in other ways. I’m happy when we win … if I can make two assists like today it’s also good, but as a striker, you want to score … I never had in my career such a long period [without a goal] … but you can’t do anything against it, you have to keep trying … and the goals will come.”
Asked if his role has changed under Tuchel: “Yeah of course, every manager is different, he gives us a lot of ideas – now I play as a left No 10, not a left winger, so I have more space for my runs in the middle, and I can play behind a striker or with a 10 behind me as a second striker … I think the last wins were a ‘good move’ from the manager. In the future maybe I can take penalty … but maybe I should score some ‘normal’ goals before I take a penalty again.”
Reaction coming up from all concerned at Bramall Lane, as soon as I get it.
Meanwhile, here’s Andy Hunter with reaction from Man City’s win over Liverpool earlier:
Ross McGuinness emails in: “Chelsea took a while to wake up in that first half, but they put this game to bed in the second half. They will be in dreamland, and their new manager will Tuch’em all in. #PyjamasKit.”
Taxi for Ross, please.
Full-time! Sheff Utd 1-2 Chelsea
Three wins in a row for Thomas Tuchel – four matches unbeaten in all, including a draw in his first match in charge. Tuchel is pictured hugging a laughing Hudson-Odoi. He grabs him in an affectionate head-lock (if such a thing is possible) as they celebrate. Sheffield United competed really well, for the most part, and defended excellently, for the most part. But Chelsea were too good.
Chris Wilder’s side stay bottom of the table, on 11 points, one point behind West Brom. Chelsea go fifth, on 39 points and now just a point behind Liverpool.
It seems that Tuchel has his work cut out – he need to keep his squad happy, he needs to keep the owner happy, and he also needs to try and keep the fans happy – but if he keeps winning, that will be more than possible. Impressive stuff from Chelsea and their new-ish manager. Reaction coming up.
at 4.15pm EST
95 min: Chelsea have taken the ball to the corner flag. Sheffield United win it back, and Sharp tries to make inroads on the right again, but Chelsea defend it. Now Mendy saves from Sharp – an overhead kick! It was a decent, but not stunning save that he would have expected to make. And that will be that.
93 min: Billy Sharp runs on to a diagonal pass on the right. The ball is worked back to Lundstram, who puts a hopeful high ball into the box, but it’s overhit, and Mendy claims. Was that the last chance?
at 4.05pm EST
90 min: A chance for Sheffield United! The free-kick is swung in, and drops to Brewster, who has not one but two shots on goal from near the edge of the box. He strikes both shots well, having first brought the ball down with his chest – but he manages to hit them straight at Rudiger, who blocks both times. Danger clear for Chelsea.
88 min: “It’s crystal clear that Pulisic has been given the day off to watch the Super Bowl. What a silly question,” emails Rishi Bryan.
86 min: Time is ticking away, and Sheffield United just can’t get any momentum in attack. At the other end, Hudson-Odoi is nearly in, after a perceptive diagonal pass by Kovacic. But the pass is cut out, and the Blades can try and build something again. Lundstram picks the ball up outside the penalty area, in a bit of space, and fires a powerful shot which is always flying over and wide.
at 3.59pm EST
83 min: Chelsea are giving the Blades the runaround, keeping the ball. And in truth the hosts look like they are starting to tire, which is not surprising, as they came racing out of the blocks in the first half, and have had to do a huge amount of defending, and a huge amount of running, just to try and contain this Chelsea team, which in truth is packed with a lot more quality than they have at their disposal. Now – Rhian Brewster is going to come on to see if he can cause a few problems in the final five minutes or so. Norwood goes off.
at 3.57pm EST
81 min: That excellent block by Rudiger, as Fleck threatened for the hosts, via the medium of Twitter –
78 min: Kovacic goes down under a full-blooded challenge by Bogle in midfield. Kovacic looks in a lot of pain, and then he looks very angry when he gets up. It was a lusty challenge and no mistake, in which Bogle took all of the ball and a bit of the man. Kovacic and Lundstram exchange a few pleasantries. No booking for Bogle. Thankfully, Kovacic looks to be OK and we can crack on with the final 10 minutes or so …
at 3.54pm EST
David Harding emails: “Apart from the fact it looks a toddler’s pyjamas, any idea why Chelsea have swapped their traditional blue kit for a change strip of blue against a team who play in red? Or am I just being naive?”
at 3.50pm EST
73 min: Into the final 17 minutes of the match. Sheffield United have competed well overall – but they needed an own-goal by Rudiger to trouble the scorers. Can they find a goal of their own? It wouldn’t be undeserved, for all Chelsea’s possession.
As I type, Fleck makes a really good break on the right, and tries to cross, but that man Rudiger slides in to make a brilliant block, and wins a goal kick into the bargain.
Timo Werner is off, N’Golo Kante is on for Chelsea. Meanwhile, Kovacic sends a shot high and not very handsome from the edge of the area.
at 3.47pm EST
71 min: Chuck emails: “Any idea why Pulisic is not even in the squad? I get rotating, but interesting. Tuchel seemed to sour on Pulisic when they were together before. Should we expect to not see him much going forward?”
Thanks for the email – I expected that Tuchel would be asked about Pulisic before the match, but in the interview that was shown on TV, he wasn’t mentioned. If anyone knows what is up with Pulisic … do get in touch.
at 3.44pm EST
67 min: Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso are both on for Chelsea now. Chilwell and Giroud are off. Meanwhile, Billy Sharp is now on for the hosts, and McGoldrick as you know came on for Burke a couple of minutes ago.
A Chelsea corner is flicked on at the near post, into the danger area, by Azpilicueta, but the Blades can breath again as the ball flashes across the goal.
at 3.40pm EST
63 min: It seems that in conceding that penalty, Ramsdale took a knock to the head from the sprinting Werner. This is the first weekend, by the way, that the Premier League has a mechanism in place for concussions substitutions. The ref has words with Ramsdale, who says he is OK to continue, and off we go again. McGoldrick has finally come on, having originally been ready to do so before that comedy own-goal by Rudiger.
at 3.38pm EST
Goal! Sheff Utd 1-2 Chelsea (Jorginho penalty)
Well, it’s all happening. Sheffield United had only just got back on terms. Werner was suddenly released in tonnes of space on the right wing. He touched the ball past Ramsdale, who clipped him. A VAR check later, and it’s a penalty, and Jorginho reinstates his little hop, waiting for the keeper to move, and passes the ball into the right of the goal, as he looks at it.
at 3.51pm EST
57 min: Penalty to Chelsea!
No sooner had the hosts scored, Ramsdale brought down Werner, who was charging through from the right, and Chelsea have a penalty. The ref gave nothing initially but the VAR people told him to have a look, and he gives the spot-kick.
at 3.41pm EST
54 min: Goal! Sheff Utd 1-1 Chelsea (Rudiger OG)
Oh no! Or alternatively … oh yes! An absolute howler from Rudiger, who tucks the ball past his own goalkeeper! McBurnie played a through ball in behind, into the penalty area, and Rudiger was waiting for Édouard Mendy to come and claim it. Everything seemed to be under control, but Rudiger decides to touch the ball, not quite realising where his goalkeeper is, and the ball rolls slowly, dramatically into the net as Sheffield United celebrate. That was a comical piece of ‘defending’. Row Z was surely called for. But Sheffield United are back level.
at 3.39pm EST
48 min: Lundstram fires over a cross from the right for Sheffield United as they spend a little time in Chelsea’s half. Rudiger clears, and again Chelsea are back on the attack and putting Sheffield United under pressure. Giroud nearly gets in, but commits a foul going shoulder to shoulder with John Egan in the penalty area.
at 3.21pm EST
Second half kick-off!
Here we go. Can the Blades cut Chelsea down to size? Or will Chelsea cut the Blades down to size? Either way, it’s going to involve an indifferent pun about blades.
at 3.19pm EST
Mary Waltz emails: “Chelsea’s kit looks like a toddler’s bedtime onesy with a grotesque corporate sponsor in the middle.”
at 3.52pm EST
Half-time! Sheffield United 0-1 Chelsea
There is never a good time to concede, but that was a bad time to concede. Sheffield United’s defence had been stretched this way and that throughout the first half, with Werner in particular proving a nuisance and Chilwell often finding space on the left wing. It seemed as if Sheffield United would get to the break without conceding – but then the aforementioned Werner and Chilwell linked up wonderfully well to create a goal for Mount. Tuchel will be very happy, in particular, with the performance of Werner, who has been looking back to his old self, full of pacy running.
Sheffield United were very unlucky not to go ahead after Chilwell fouled Basham in the penalty area – the ref gave the penalty but VAR ruled it out for Basham being fractionally offside when the cross came over. Chris Wilder’s team also had a great chance to take the lead in the first minute when McBurnie played in Burke, and he hit the side netting. A disappointing end to the half for the hosts, but it’s all to play for. See you in a few minutes for more.
at 3.12pm EST
43 min: Goal! Sheffield United 0-1 Chelsea (Mount)
Beautiful work from Werner, who lays the ball off to Chilwell on the left, then hares into the box, towards the byline. Chilwell’s return pass is excellent, as is Werner’s awareness to pull the ball back for Mount, who is lurking unmarked near the penalty spot. Mount hits a crisp first-time finish, left-footed, into the bottom corner, giving Ramsdale no chance whatsoever. And yes, Blades fans, that is completely my fault for saying Sheffield United were defending so well. Sorry!
Giroud was key to that goal in two ways – he again dropped into midfield to win the ball and start the move, and his subsequent run took a defender to the near post, and opened up the space for Mount to run into and score.
at 3.23pm EST
38 min: Chelsea continue to press in attack. Sheffield United continue to hold firm. Rudiger has another shot, which is blocked on the edge of the box. Then Chilwell, again, finds a touch of space down the left wing, crosses low, and a Sheffield United body is there to repel the danger – as usual. They had a very, very difficult patch before Christmas but Chris Wilder’s team look to have rediscovered that certain something which makes them so hard to beat.
at 2.56pm EST
36 min: More joy for Chilwell and Chelsea down the left. It takes a fine block from Kean Bryan to keep out a Mason Mount shot after a really good Chelsea build-up. As it turned out, the flag went up for offside, but they weren’t to know.
at 2.52pm EST