Chelsea will bid to maintain their remarkable defensive record when they host Sheff Utd for an FA Cup quarter-final clash on Sunday.
The Blues have conceded just two goals in 13 games since bringing in Thomas Tuchel to replace Frank Lampard as manager in January. They are unbeaten during Tuchel’s tenure, with 11 wins and two draws in all competitions.
The Blues beat Atletico Madrid to nil home and away in the Champions League, so they should be surging with confidence right now. They have kept six clean sheets in a row, despite playing some of the world’s most dangerous teams: Atletico (twice), Man Utd, Liverpool, Everton and Leeds.
The only two teams to score against Chelsea since Tuchel took the reins are Southampton and Sheff Utd. The likes of Joao Felix, Mohamed Salah, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Luis Suarez, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes all failed to score against the Blues, but Sheff Utd did.
However, it was an own-goal from Antonio Rudiger, and Chelsea still went on to win that game 2-1. Can they keep the Blades quiet on Sunday and register another win to nil?
Sheff Utd are enduring a disastrous season. Hopes were high among fans after the Blades finished ninth in the Premier League table last term, but they have been in miserable in 2020-21.
They are rock bottom of the table, with 23 defeats from 29 games, and they have only managed 16 league goals all season. That is by far and away the worst attacking record in the division, so it is surprising that they managed to score against Chelsea’s mean defence.
However, as previously mentioned, that was down to an own-goal resulting from a bizarre individual error from Rudiger, who inexplicably slotted the ball past his goalkeeper.
Chris Wilder has now left the club, with Paul Heckingbottom taking over as interim manager in his stead. Heckingbottom presided over a 5-0 defeat to Leicester at the weekend, and admitted that the players are “emotional” following Wilder’s departure.
Sheff Utd have now gone five games without scoring, which does not augur well for their upcoming clash against this remarkably solid Chelsea team.
Tuchel fielded a pretty strong starting 11 when Chelsea faced in-form Championship side Barnsley in the FA Cup fifth round last month. They kept a clean sheet in that game, and Tammy Abraham handed the Blues a 1-0 victory.
The manager is therefore likely to play several big guns against Sheff Utd at the weekend. Chelsea should dominate possession, and you would expect them to close out a relatively low-scoring victory against this technically limited, slightly shellshocked Sheff Utd side.
As such, they are best priced at just 1/4 (1.25) to win the game. However, you can find odds of 20/21 (1.95) at Betfred and 10/11 (1.91) with various other bookmakers on Chelsea win to nil, which looks like an interesting option.