Chelsea will aim to record back-to-back victories under Frank Lampard for the first time as they welcome Sheffield United to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

This will be the second successive newly-promoted side which The Blues will face in the English Premier League, having picked up three points against Norwich City last time around.

Having narrowly edged out a 3-2 victory there, The Blades will also put up a mean fight; they’re on the same points as the hosts, having drawn with AFC Bournemouth on the opening day which was followed by a determined win over Crystal Palace. 

Chris Wilder’s team have not kept a clean sheet against Chelsea since 1992, whilst The Blues have lost only once at home in the league since January.

Below, we have created a combined Chelsea and Sheffield United starting XI, using statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) 6.31

His clean sheet against Crystal Palace will have come as no surprise to anyone inside Bramall Lane, after United’s number one kept 21 of them in the Sky Bet Championship last season, a league high.

Only Tim Krul (six) of Newcastle United and David De Gea of Manchester United (five) have saved more shots from outside the box than Dean Henderson (four).

Right-back: Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea 6.95

Life under Lampard hasn’t been luxurious so far for the Chelsea skipper as he has struggled with his right-back position, many hailing his return to centre-back instead. 

Nobody at Chelsea has blocked more passes than Azpilicueta (six).

Centre-back: John Egan (Sheffield United) 6.90

John Egan was a trusted member of Wilder’s rear-guard during their promotion, featuring on 44 occasions, vital in keeping the meanest defence in the division.

He and his trusted centre-back partner, Jack O’Connell, share the record for most clearances per game of any United player (five). 

Centre-back: Jack O’Connell (Sheffield United) 7.14

Onto O’Connell who, like Egan, has featured in all three of The Blades’ fixtures thus far and is heavily involved in the revolutionary ‘overlapping centre-backs’ tactic deployed by Wilder.

Only three other centre-halves have won more aerial duels than the Ireland international (16). 

Left-back: Emerson (Chelsea) 7.87

Whilst on the peripheries under Maurizio Sarri, Emerson appears to have locked down the left-back spot over Marcos Alonso and he is relishing his starting role. 

His total tackle rate is only bettered by two in the division (15) and is second for key passes out of his fellow left-backs (six). 

Left-midfield: Enda Stevens (Sheffield United) 7.04

Naturally deployed as a wing-back for Wilder, Enda Stevens is more than capable of filling in as a winger or a full-back.

Nobody has made more successful dribbles for The Blades than Stevens (eight).

Centre-midfield: Oliver Norward (Sheffield United) 7.02

The heartbeat in the middle of United’s frame, Oliver Norward has a knack of aiding sides into the top division, doing so with Brighton & Hove Albion and Fulham before he did so with The Blades.

Norwood already sits top for total attempted passes of any central midfielder in the league (173).  

Centre-midfield: Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) 6.89

He was not alone, however, Mateo Kovacic’s class had been cut off by Sarri, but Chelsea fans are finally seeing the reason they signed him permanently from Real Madrid in the summer.

The Croat has completed all of his 11 attempted dribbles, making his the best ratio in the division. 

Right-midfield: Mason Mount (Chelsea) 7.73

Mason Mount is certainly repaying the faith his manager his shown in him by displaying maturity beyond his young years, netting against Norwich City and Leicester City to sit as Chelsea’s joint top scorer.

A call up to the Gareth Southgate’s latest international squad is proof of his development; the only Englishmen to have more shots than Mount (12) is Burnley’s Ashley Barnes (13). 

Attacking midfield: Ross Barkley (Chelsea) 7.12

This could be an extremely big year for Ross Barkley in terms of finally meeting his potential and proving why Chelsea forked out £15 million for him.

It’s not out of trying that he is attempting to get off the mark; only Mount has had more shots for Chelsea outside the box than Barkley (Mount seven, Barkley five). 

Striker: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) 6.91

Following his 21-goal haul with Aston Villa in the previous campaign, a lot was expected of Tammy Abraham to lead the line for The Blues and his brace against The Canaries will only heighten his confidence.

The 21-year-old now has the joint fourth best goals per game ratio amongst his fellow strikers, with two goals in two matches. 

By Nathaniel Kay

About Author

I am Dan Pentland football writer and reporter at various levels including the English Football League, FA Women's Super League and in UEFA and FIFA affiliated competitions. In May 2015, I completed my childhood dream of visiting all 92 Football League grounds. Follow me on Twitter @DanPentlandpcuk

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