Scout Notes

Blades back to their best in defence as Pulisic and Willian are finally blunted

Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea

  • Goals: David McGoldrick (£5.4m) x2, Ollie McBurnie (£5.5m)
  • Assists: McBurnie, Enda Stevens (£5.1m)
  • Bonus: McGoldrick x3, McBurnie x2, Dean Henderson (£5.2m) x1

Sheffield United kept all manner of European permutations open, for themselves and others, with a resounding win over Chelsea.

Champions League football remains within the grasp of the visitors, and still not impossible for the hosts, after a 3-0 victory that showcased the best of the Blades and the worst of their opponents.

There was a time, in a galaxy far, far away, when Chris Wilder’s team emerged from lockdown as if already on the beach.

Since then, an unbeaten run of four matches involving wins over Spurs, Wolves and now the Blues, has been a stirring declaration of their intent to finish the season as well as they started it.

Two goals from David McGoldrick (£5.4m) – his first in the Premier League for the Blades – and one for fellow striker Ollie McBurnie (£5.5m) saw off a Chelsea side heavy on possession but light on pretty much everything else.

Frank Lampard’s men had 74% of the ball, and 64% of possession in the final third, and yet United matched them for penalty area touches (19) and shots on target (four) – a classic example of it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

The way the Blades do it involves a concerted team-wide effort to press the ball, from back to front, and that hustle was in evidence when they took the lead in the first half.

Jorginho (£4.9m), making a rare start, was immediately put under pressure as he attempted to bring the ball out of his own penalty area, a cross was swung in and McGoldrick scored on the rebound after Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.4m) made a fine save from McBurnie’s deflected shot.

That combination benefited just 0.5% of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers because, let’s face it, hoping for major returns from Sheffield United strikers is the stuff of Fantasy.

Instead, the out-of-position delights of John Lundstram (£4.6m), who made a welcome return from injury with a 27-minute cameo yesterday, and regular points from his fellow defenders have been the way forward this season.

A second straight clean sheet meant solid returns for the likes of George Baldock (£5.0m and 11.5%-owned) and goalkeeper Dean Henderson (£5.2m and 15.9%), with the latter bringing in extra points from four saves and a bonus.

Of those four stops, all were of the regulation variety as Chelsea’s well-owned forward line of Christian Pulisic (£7.3m and 11.7%) and Tammy Abraham (£7.4m and 14.7%) never got into the groove, managing just the one shot on target between them.

The Blades were considerably more ruthless, and their second goal was as simple as it was effective.

The 213,000+ managers who had bought into the free-scoring Willian (£7.3m) for the Gamweek did so not for his defensive prowess, which was just as well when he was left baffled by a one-two that released Enda Stevens (£5.1m) on the left.

The wing-back put over a cross straight onto the head of McBurnie, who buried the chance in the bottom corner.

That was a second assist in four Gameweeks for Stevens, bringing in a nine-point haul on the day. He’s had a remarkably consistent campaign – his 139 points have him fifth in FPL’s defenders standings, but he’s not had a double-digit return all season.

That level of understatement might explain why he’s owned by just 3.6% of Fantasy managers.

Lampard had seen enough by half-time, swapping from four at the back to a formation, involving three centre-halves and wing-backs, that matched up with United’s.

It stirred a revival, of sorts, after the break, but as they pushed for a way back into the match, so they left themselves more vulnerable to a counter-attack; a situation the hosts were happy to exploit all night long.

McGoldrick was on hand to take advantage of one such break when he steered home a cross from substitute Lys Mousset (£4.4m) that Antonio Rudiger (£5.9m) made a horrible mess of clearing.

The pair then combined to expose Chelsea again, only for Mousset to dink the ball over Kepa but wide of the post after being sent through by his partner’s pass.

Conceding four goals would have been harsh on Chelsea, but they’ve been defensively poor all season, with seven clean sheets overall – only three teams have a worse tally – and just the one shut-out in 18 away games.

Lampard, post-match, acknowledged his side’s shortcomings.

They’re disappointing goals, mistakes that led to goals, individual errors, and if you do that you will lose football matches against good teams. They were better than us physically, in the mind and with the ball, so you lose the game. They were stronger than us. We don’t have crowds at the minute so you hear every voice and all I could hear was Sheffield United voices, so they were stronger in that sense.

He then attempted to shift focus onto a future which will involve a mighty fight to secure a Champions League spot.

I’m concerned about how we performed and I learned a lot about that. We cannot approach Norwich or Man United or Liverpool or Wolves in the same way we did today.

The home match-up with now-relegated Norwich on Tuesday will surely persuade most Fantasy managers to hold onto their Chelsea assets for one Gameweek more.

The Liverpool and Wolves fixtures that follow could be an entirely different matter, with the misfiring Abraham a particular concern for his owners.

The striker has just a goal and an assist to his name in the six matches since football returned, and he’s blanked in both of the games he’s started.

Only an emphatic display against the Canaries is likely to halt the five-Gameweek run of net sales he’s endured.

The opposite is true of Sheffield United’s key players.

Excitable press conference questions talked of the team’s Champions League prospects, but Wilder was never going to be so emotional.

It’s dangerous to get carried away – the game finds you out if you take your foot off the gas, but the players are enjoying the challenge and Leicester we will have to roll out another big result.

Instead, he reiterated his faith in keeping things tight at the back.

I am not embarrassed to talk about our defensive record. You have to get it right defensively to stand a chance of getting it right at the other end. We have to have a structure and an identity – players have to have a desire to put their bodies on the line and defend properly and we did that.

Three wins and a heap of other results going their way will be required for United to secure a Champions League spot, but the key point is that the side is clearly in form and up for the fight.

That should make their defensive assets particularly attractive, with trips to Leicester and Southampton and a home match against Everton perfectly reasonable shouts for more clean sheets.

And could even Lundstram bring in some more points for his 29.3% ownership? Sweet dreams are made of these…


Sheffield United XI (5-3-2): Henderson; Basham (Jagielka 68), O’Connell. Egan, Stevens, Norwood; Baldock, Berge (Lundstram 63), Osborn; McGoldrick, McBurnie (Mousset 63).

Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; James (Hudson-Odoi 75), Christensen (Rudiger 45), Zouma, Azpilicueta; Barkley (Loftus-Cheek 78), Jorginho, Mount (Alonso 45);  Willian, Abraham, Pulisic (Giroud 66).

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2,707 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Gudjohnsen
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Need Bruno to go crazy tomorrow since rival captained Mo?

    Points prediction?

    I say 6

    1. Better luck next year
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      I have a feeling he will deliver a goal or an assist tomorrow.

    2. Karan14
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      5

    3. Wild Card this...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Casual 3

  2. balint84
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Azpi or Tammy for a hit?

    1. Big_Andy_GAWA
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Not think Giroud will start?!

      1. Pep Roulette
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        This

    2. Og
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      giroud looked sharper than tammy

    3. Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 2 days ago

      I actually did tammy to giroud

  3. Big_Andy_GAWA
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Anyone benching Evan's or Justin (or K.S.) vs. SHEFF?

  4. Henning
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    About 75 p ahead in ml, Time to block him by getting in some players he have right?

    1. BremerHB
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Tried this and it’s currently going really badly. Someone overtook him very unexpectedly and now if I want to block them both I’m going to have to take hits.

      Play and buy the players you think will score the most points.

      1. JonSnow
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        What is more important to you your ML or OR?
        I missed top 10k twice by covering my nearest rivals and regret it.

    2. PastaConcerto
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      That is the usual strategy...but depends on which chips you and your rival have left.

  5. lilmessipran
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Did anyone find the leicester bou game really weird? In the first half it looked like Bou players had been bribed, in the second it looked that way for leicester...some of the players were just confusing to say the least

    1. JJeyy
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Schmiecal just bottled it

    2. Big_Andy_GAWA
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Johnny Evans went to pieces after Soy went off!!!

    3. fcsaltyballs
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      they had been bribed, but LEI still found a way to lose

    4. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Ask the GK

    5. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Leicester looked ridiculously comfortable all of the first half. Bournemouth weren't getting a sniff.

      Tone of the game completely changed at half time.

      Bournemouth were knocking before their goal, but Leicester's heads totally went after that 2 minute madness.

    6. diesel001
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Match fixing by South East Asian betting syndicates?

    7. Sun Jihai
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      FM style half-time team talk:
      "Where is your passion lads? Do you not even want to win this match?"

  6. Obi Wan Elokobi
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Would you prefer A or B?

    A) Vardy to Jesus

    Or

    B) Salah and DCL to Sterling and Ings. (-4)

    Need to do tonight before price rises.

    1. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      i m not keen on either to be honest. leicester will have to win v sheffield and salah unlikely to have 2 blanks in a row with sterling not certain to start. imo 🙂

  7. Nomar
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    On a FH.

    You know what?, screw this season! I'm going to gamble on some relegation fodder.

    Digne will become Mings. Deeney up front, maybe even get Antonio in. Can't be any worse than putting in expensive teasers like Willian and Pulisic then watching them fail when you're relying on them for a big score.

    Got naff all to lose now anyway.

    1. Jon Walter's Hatty
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Sheff U away was always gonna be tough could run riot next up

    2. GanonTEK
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      I hope this pays off you you!

      1. GanonTEK
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        *for you

    3. beric
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Go for sarr!

      1. beric
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        And grealish!

  8. Eastman
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Mahrez / Jimmy >
    Antonio / Jesus (-4) ?

  9. Trophé Mourinho
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 2 days ago

    now Norwich are oficially relegated, they will actually tighten up a bit without the pressure

    1. Tempestic
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      or before they were acc trying to win games and they still were always battered. Now they got nothing

    2. tucaoneo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Things like that did happen before.

    3. Trophé Mourinho
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      I dont have any Chelsea, but wont surprise me to see a low scoreline or some shock result lol

    4. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      I agree, no pressure and will play better

  10. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Man City Bournemouth is going to be a 7-4 or an 8-5 isn’t it?

    1. HurriKane
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Which 3 city attackers are likely to start though ?

      With league gone Pep will surely rest his big guns for fa cup semi vs Arsenal

      1. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        Foden, DSilva and Jesus

      2. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        this is why i m playing fh 38. d silva foden and jesus possibly the best picks for this game v bournemouth and they re not that exciting. i am condifent salah and antonio can match the city mids.

    2. Gudjohnsen
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      8-1

    3. Isco Disco
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Nah with that City B team and the way last few weeks have been going.
      Could easily be City 1-1 BOU

  11. fcsaltyballs
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Pope
    TAA AWB Saiss
    Salah KDB Fernandes(c) Mahrez Foden
    Greenwood Vardy

    Henderson Lascelles Connolly Lundstram

    1FT, 3.2 itb

    1. Connolly >> Ings (bench one of Mahrez or Foden?)
    2. Mahrez >> Willian
    3. Other

    Thanks

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      1 and bench Mahrez or 2 Pulisic

  12. Manani
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    vardy>Jesus a no brainer I guess?

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      do it

    2. pablo discobar
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Arsenal at Wembley in the Cup semi a few days later is a big issue

    3. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      a no brainer not to do it imo

  13. BobbyDoesNotLook
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Salah Kdb Bruno Foden Mahrez*
    Ings Greenwood Vardy*

    I could transfer both Vardy and Mahrez out with 2ft but otherwise I probably would not touch the team. Even on FH I probably would not change more.

    1) Puli and Jesus
    2) Dilva and Giroud/fodder
    3) other

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      1

  14. Sid07
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    1) TC kdb gw 36 And Fh 38
    2) FH 36 and TC 38

    1. beric
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      1 but tc someone else

  15. Jon Walter's Hatty
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Im going to say my Jimmy to Vardy was the FT and my Salah to Sterling was the hit

  16. Firminoooo
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Anyone with Schmeichel, Soy and Evans?

    1. el polako
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Wont be here, on a way to Booze Bargains right now...

      1. Big_Andy_GAWA
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        Guy in 2nd in my money league has Soy. Has opened things up for sure...!

  17. Hulk Smash
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Vardy to Ings?

    1. The Littlest Robbo
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Yes

  18. Pep Roulette
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Hey everyone! Which is the best combination? Have only Sterling & no Chelsea!

    Choose a midfielder

    A. DSilva
    B. KDB +4 pts
    C. Foden
    D. Pulisic
    E. Willian

    Choose a striker

    A. Jesus
    B. Giroud/Tammy (whoever starts)
    C. Ings

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      1A or D, 2C

    2. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 2 days ago

      D A

    3. Pep Roulette
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Cheers both

  19. InvertedWinger
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    FH: Ederson
    Azpi TAA Doherty
    Bruno Martial Antonio Dilva Pulisic
    Jesus Ings
    Good?

  20. JBG
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    That was one of the worst 4-1 victories I've ever seen.. Sent a clip of every goal to my mates group chat, so we could laugh together.

    1. beric
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Thats adorable

  21. Tempestic
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    If only I had fernandes captain this gw might not be a complete disaster. Cant get anything right with the armband...

  22. Lucky Z
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Willian => Antonio FT too kneejerky and sideways?

    1. Big_Andy_GAWA
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Ahead of NOR??!! Are you mad...??!!!

      1. Andy Ftw
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        This.

        Remember which team Antonio scored 4 against

  23. S.Kuqi
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Anyone here captaining Salah or Fernandes next gw?

    1. beric
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Pulisic i reckon

    2. Giggs Boson
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Probably Pulisic.

      Chelsea HAVE to win. And Norwich are dead.

      1. Big_Andy_GAWA
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        Probs KDB. Pulisic VC.

  24. Sol
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Who’s likely to start against Norwich
    Giroud
    Abraham

    Cheers

    1. beric
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Yeah definitely one of them teo man

  25. Fishy
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Erm...left the watching the game at half time
    What happened there???

    1. Traction Engine Foot
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Wondering the same!

  26. Lucky Z
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    D.Silva should certainly start last GW vs NOR as it is his last game in EPL, true?

  27. Giggs Boson
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Anyone want a dose of nostalgia?

    Man City in 2008:

    Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Ben Haim, Garrido, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Kompany (Hamann 66), Elano, Robinho, (Petrov 70), Jo (Evans 67).
    Subs not used: Schmeichel, Ball, Fernandes, Sturridge.

    Kompany in midfield. Daniel Sturridge 😯

    1. beric
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Didnt know bruno crossed the city

      1. Giggs Boson
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        Gelson is still playing in the Bundesliga 😯

    2. J ⚒ Gimme your Mané…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 2 days ago

      Bloody hell I forgot zabs went back that far.

      Hated Fabinho, awful attitude, proper chip on his shoulder.

      Got to love wright-Phillips though!

      1. Giggs Boson
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 2 days ago

        Agreed on Robinho.

        Yeah WP was a solid winger! Lovely guy too. Spoke to his brother Bradley when he played for Plymouth.

  28. Lindelol
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    This game is so much about luck and 50-50 decisions. For the whole time I was on Jimi to Vardy(C). But I was equally on KDB to Sterling(C). Went for KDB to Sterling(C) in the last minute literally. I feel i am lucky to be honest.

  29. dshv
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Patricio
    Doherty aurier awb
    Sterling kdb pulisic willian bruno
    Rashford ings

    This team with -4 ??

  30. Tmel
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 2 days ago

    Worth a FT?

    a) Jimenez > Giroud (NOR)
    b) Jimenez > Ings (BRI)
    c) No