Blades grab draw at Stamford Bridge with late leveller

Luke Bradshaw
Sports Writer
Sheffield United's Callum Robinson celebrates their first goal (Photo byREUTERS/David Klein)

Chelsea threw away a two-goal lead as Sheffield United grabbed an injury time equaliser away from home.

In a match in which Chelsea played their youngest ever side in the Premier League, Tammy Abraham scored two first-half goals, but Frank Lampard’s side once again suffered a dramatic second-half drop off to leave them still searching for a first home win of the season.

The Blades were well worth their point, with Callum Robinson scoring immediately after the restart and Kurt Zouma scoring an own goal with the clock ticking down.

The big news in the lineups was a first start for Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori at the heart of their defence. The young centre-back replaced Andreas Christensen, who moved to the bench.

Sheffield United handed a first Premier League start to their record signing, Oliver McBurnie – the striker coming in for David McGoldrick was the away side’s only change.

Although dropping points, Cheslea have made a habit of starting games this season at a ferocious pace. Not so this week as Sheffield United kept the ball well and both sides failed to make any decent chances in the opening quarter, Luke Freeman’s long-range effort for the Blades the best either side could muster.

That changed on the 19 minute mark. Ross Barkley began a move in the middle that found César Azpilicueta out wide who crossed to Tammy Abraham. The striker’s tame header was spilled by Dean Hednrson, before he collided with Christian Pulisic, allowing Abraham to swivel and fire home.

As the first half progressed, Lampard’s side upped the tempo, particularly on the break as Barkely and Pulisic, in particular, began to see more of the ball.

With that, however, Sheffield United retreated and crowded out the home side, although Mateo Kovacic’s driving run led ended with the midfielder dragging a shot wide.

Sheffield United’s best chance came from a lovely piece of football on 39 minutes. Intricate build-up play led to a Chris Basham cross that flied across Chelsea’s six-yard box. The ball was ideal for Callum Robinson who arrived diving in, but his header drifted wide.

Tammy Abraham celebrates his second goal (Photo by Reuters/Paul Childs)

Not long after Chelsea doubled their lead as Abraham punished a defensive error. Jack O'Connell and John Egan both went for the same header, collided, and let the young Chelsea striker in on goal. Making no mistake, he finished clinically for his and his side’s second of the day before half-time.

Clearly something was said by Chris Wilder in the dressing room because the Blades came out for the second half fully firing. Enda Stevens turned his man inside out on the left and drilled in a low cross for Callum Robinson to make up for his earlier miss and half the deficit.

And speaking of making up for errors, United stopper Dean Henderson pulled off a wonderful save down to his left to deny Abraham a hat-trick from an instinctive effort six yards out. Both sides make attacking changes as Sheffield United pushed hard for an equaliser.

With Wilder’s side pressing for a goal, and Chelsea trying to hit them in transition, the game became more and more stretched as it entered the last 20 minutes. Just like their previous games this season, the home side’s performance dramatically dipped in the second 45.

Enda Stevens came close to a leveller with a deflected shot which Kepa had to push away.

Abraham was replaced by Michy Batshuayi to a standing ovation, while Kovacic made way for 18-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour to make his Chelsea debut, but it was to be the last thing Chelsea cheered on the day.

Robinson then came close to an equaliser, spinning to hit a shot into the near post, but it was blocked by Tomori for a corner.

Then a minute later Blades fans were in raptures as Robinson’s cross from the left took a deflection off Kurt Zouma to end up in the back of the net, giving the travelling support a well-earned point to take back to Yorkshire.

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