Chelsea’s cadre of top-class younger gamers — together with rising American superstar Christian Pulisic — could possibly be pressured to observe the UEFA Champions League from their dwelling rooms subsequent season after the Blues dropped a 3-Zero determination Saturday at stingy Sheffield United.
Frank Lampard’s aspect had been one of many hottest in England because the Premier League resumed its coronavirus-cursed season final month, successful 4 of 5 video games since Venture Restart started and rising to 3rd place behind Manchester Metropolis and champions Liverpool. However at Bramall Lane, Chelsea picked precisely the mistaken time to stumble.
The defensive points which have plagued Lampard’s again line for a lot of the season returned as Sheffield’s Oli McBurnie adopted David McGoldrick’s opener with a purpose of his personal within the first half:
After that, Blades have been more than pleased to slip into defensive shell and frustrate the extra proficient Londoners — together with Pulisic, who had established himself as one of many Prem’s finest gamers since play resumed, scoring three targets and organising three others in Chelsea’s earlier 5 video games.
McGoldrick would add the backbreaking third purpose for the hosts with 13 minutes left to play:
Chelsea had nearly 80 p.c of the ball however managed simply three photographs on the right track all sport. Pulisic, who was the recipient of a number of laborious fouls, fired off two makes an attempt earlier than being changed by Olivier Giroud halfway via the second half.
The dropped three factors might have main implications for the Blues, which now have simply three matches remaining. Fourth-place Leicester Metropolis trails Chelsea by a single level however has performed one fewer match. Manchester United is simply two factors behind the Blues, additionally with a sport in hand. Leicester travels to Bournemouth on Sunday. Man United will host Southampton the next day.
Solely the highest 4 finishers qualify for the Champions League. Nevertheless, there stays an opportunity that the Prem’s fifth-place crew this season will declare a berth on the expense of Manchester Metropolis, which in February was banned from the world’s top club competition for 2 years by European soccer governing physique UEFA for violating so-called “Monetary Truthful Play” guidelines.
The Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport will announce on Monday whether or not or not Man Metropolis’s attraction of the suspension was profitable. The choice could possibly be upheld, lowered or overturned solely. Metropolis supervisor Pep Guardiola believes it will be the latter.
If that occurs, Chelsea, which can welcome blue-chip transfers Timo Werner (from RB Leipzig) and Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) subsequent season, might discover themselves on the skin trying in by Monday evening. Even when Pulisic and Co. have been to win their ultimate three video games — towards relegated Norwich, Wolverhampton, and Premier League champions Liverpool — it wouldn’t be sufficient to make sure Champions League play in 2020-21. Due to Saturday’s slip-up, Chelsea’s destiny is not in its personal arms.
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