Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said his side are “not day trippers” after they battled back from two goals down to snatch a point at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were 2-0 up by half-time after striker Tammy Abraham struck twice, but Kurt Zouma’s late own goal ensured a draw following Callum Robinson’s strike in the first minute of the second half.
The result puts the visitors, who finished second in the Championship last season, into eighth in the Premier League table, one place above Chelsea.
“Three years ago we were bottom of League One and now we have come away from Chelsea with a result,” said Wilder. “We are not day trippers getting autographs and collecting shirts.”
A spill by United keeper Dean Henderson when under pressure from Christian Pulisic gave Abraham the chance for his first, and a mistake in the United defence allowed the Chelsea striker the opportunity for his second.
But the Blades pulled one back in the first minute of the second half when Robinson, who had missed from close range in the first half, scored his first since joining the club from Preston in the summer.
Chelsea struggled to threaten after Henderson made a brilliant save in the second half to deny Abraham a hat-trick.
And United pulled level after 89 minutes when Robinson’s cross towards substitute Lys Mousset was diverted into his own net by the unlucky Zouma, to leave Frank Lampard still searching for a first home win since he became Chelsea manager.
Young Blues good start undone
After a loss and a draw in their first two league games, Chelsea’s 3-2 win at Norwich last week had finally given Lampard the result that he felt his side had deserved based on their performances from the start of the season.
And Lampard named the youngest Chelsea starting 11 in the Premier League era with an average age of 24 years and 158 days, including Canadian defender Fikayo Tomori, who made his first start for the club, three years after a sole substitute appearance in the Premier League that was followed by loans at Brighton, Hull and Derby.
“The emergence of youth is one thing but winning games is another,” said Lampard. “When you are 2-0 up at half-time you should win the game.”
A flat second-half display undermined the good work of earlier, especially by Abraham.
The 21-year-old was quick to react to Henderson’s mistake, which allowed him a sharp chance from six yards for his first.
And he was equally alert when Jack O’Connell and John Egan conspired to give him the opportunity to fire the ball home from the edge of the box off Henderson’s hand and just inside the post.
The home crowd became increasingly edgy, which seemed to transfer to their team and it came as little surprise when Sheffield United equalised.
“If we can’t go on and get a third goal that’s something we have to work on, this is the Premier League, it’s ruthless,” Lampard added. “At 2-0 up you have to take advantage of it.”
Racist abuse of Zouma criticised by Lampard
Zouma’s own goal led to the 24-year-old becoming the latest Premier League player to be racially abused on social media.
Lampard had said social media companies needed to do more to combat racism following the Abraham incident, and the Chelsea manager reiterated his opinion following the abuse of Zouma.
“Firstly it is a person that does it, wherever they are hiding from, and secondly we have to look at social media and the platforms and give them some accountability to actually have people register who can be chased down for it,” said Lampard.
“Until there is some culpability, anyone can say anything to anyone. It’s not just racism, it could be calling them names, homophobia, sexism, it could be anything.”
Blades ‘need to believe more’ says Wilder
Wilder had not been impressed by his side’s efforts in their 2-1 defeat by Leicester in their previous league outing, saying he “didn’t see why they should get applause” from the Bramall Lane crowd.
Compare and contrast with this week, when the manager and his players celebrated this hard-won point on the pitch in front of their fans after the final whistle.
“I believe in the players more than they do sometimes,” Wilder reflected. “We’ve gone toe-to-toe with a really good side.”
The half-time scoreline was not a fair reflection on United, who had looked threatening in their rare attacks before the break.
Chris Basham miscued a shot a long way wide after a neat United move, and Robinson missed with a low header when free inside the six-yard area.
But the striker’s first goal for the Blades changed the momentum of the game at just the right time, and helped deflate the home side and their supporters.
A lack of Premier League experience compared to Chelsea counted for nothing, and Wilder’s side showed the value of taking chances when they come along by scoring with their only on-target efforts of the match.
Man of the match – Callum Robinson (Sheffield United)
‘We’re not here to collect shirts’ – what they said
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: “It’s a great result for us. We gave away really poor goals. You can’t give teams like Chelsea a two-goal start and think everything is OK. Dean Henderson should have done better for the first goal but he’s made a great save to keep us in it.
“I am biased but I believe we deserve something from today.
“It’s been a great start, we can enjoy a night out tonight. We are here to compete.”
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard: “It was under control, it is our fault for gifting them a goal in the first minute of the second half. It’s a similar story already.
“We had more than enough on the pitch to win that game from 2-0 up. There is no chance that that game should swing like that. We gave them the possibility to hurt us.
“We have to take responsibility, we allowed that to happen. It was on us to take the game away from them and we allowed them to get back into it.”
- The last three occasions that Chelsea have failed to win a Premier League game having led by 2+ goals have come against newly promoted teams (Sheff Utd in Aug 2019, Reading and Southampton in Jan 2013).
- Yorkshire teams have won only one of their last 26 Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge (W1 D9 L16), with Leeds United winning 2-0 in December 1999.
- Sheffield United have won five points from their four Premier League games this season – only in 1993-94 (6) have they had a better start in the competition.
- Kurt Zouma is the first Chelsea player to concede an own goal at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League since John Terry in January 2016 v Everton.
- Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham has scored more goals than any other English player in the top two tiers since the start of last season (including play-offs), netting 30 in the process.
- Abraham is the first Englishman to score at least two goals in consecutive Premier League appearances for Chelsea since Frank Lampard in January 2010.
- Each of Chelsea’s last six Premier League goals have been scored by English players (Abraham 4, Mount 2), the first time this has happened for the Blues (excluding own goals) since October 2011 (seven – Sturridge 3, Lampard 3, Terry).
Chelsea visit Molineux to take on Wolves when the Premier League returns after the international break, kicking off at 15:00 BST on Saturday 14 September. The Blades host Southampton at Bramall Lane on the same date with the same start time.