Sheffield United 1-2 Chelsea
- Goals: Antonio Rudiger (£4.6m) own-goal | Mason Mount (£6.8m), Jorginho (£4.7m)
- Assists: Oliver Burke (£4.3m) | Timo Werner (£9.2m) x2
- Bonus: Jorginho x3, Werner x2, Mount x1
Chelsea made it four games unbeaten under their new head coach, grinding out a 2-1 victory over bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United on Sunday.
Midfielders Mason Mount (£6.8m) and Jorginho (£4.7m) were on target for Thomas Tuchel’s troops, with Timo Werner (£9.2m) banking his seventh and eighth assists of the campaign with contributions for both goals.
No opposition player has yet scored against the Blues since the change of manager, although Antonio Rudiger (£4.6m) did ruin a fourth consecutive clean sheet with an own-goal worthy of inclusion on a Danny Baker-fronted gaffe compilation video.
Pinning Thomas Tuchel down to a regular starting XI may prove to be a tricky task, at least in the attacking positions.
The German has favoured a solid spine since his appointment, with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (£5.1m), centre-backs Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.7m) and Rudiger and ‘numbers sixes’ Jorginho (£4.7m) and Mateo Kovacic (£5.3m) all ever-presents.
Had veteran stopper Thiago Silva (£5.6m) not missed out in Gameweek 23 because of injury, he too would probably have joined that elite club.
As for the rest, it’s been something of a crapshoot up to now.
No attacking midfielder, forward or wing-back has started all four games, with Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.7m) losing his own ever-present starter status on Sunday.
Marcos Alonso (£5.7m) also dropped to the bench, with Ben Chilwell (£5.9m) recalled.
Speaking ahead of kick-off, Tuchel explained:
For Marcos, it was no need to take the risk to let him play three in a row in 10 days after a long pause in competition for him. So, there was the choice of Chilly. It was the same reason for Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The Gameweeks return to their weekly frequency now and Tuchel may be gradually working out what his best XI is but with the Blues still involved the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, the rotation may continue to plague Chelsea assets going forward.
PAYING (VERY LITTLE) FOR THE PENALTY
Having been given the nod to step up from the spot against Tottenham Hotspur in Gameweek 22, Jorginho was at it again at Bramall Lane at the weekend.
Having missed two of the five penalties he took under Frank Lampard and relinquishing not only spot-kick duties but a regular starting role, the Italian now seems to be back in favour on both fronts.
Werner certainly doesn’t look to be challenging to take penalties for the time being, saying after the game:
Available for £4.7m, Jorginho is perhaps now once again the pick of the sub-£5.0m budget midfield options in FPL.
The goals continue to elude Werner and Fantasy managers will likely still give him a wide berth for the time being.
But there is a sign that Tuchel’s system will be a better fit for him than the one he operated in under Frank Lampard, with his role as a ‘left-sided number 10’ suiting his skillset better than centre-forward or out-and-out winger.
The average position map below shows Werner (11) and Mount (19) pushing on well beyond Giroud (18) and it was from two of the German’s runs that both Chelsea goals came about.
Werner said of his new role:
He gives us a lot of ideas. Now I play as a left number 10, not a left winger, so I have more space for my runs in the middle and can play behind a striker, or with a number 10 behind me as a second striker. So it’s very good for me and I think there were also good moves from the manager in the last two wins.
While it remains to be seen how much of a permanent fixture Werner will become in his new manager’s side, Tuchel’s comments last week did seem to suggest that Chelsea would be playing to his strengths:
I would say he prefers to have space, because he’s super-fast and he likes to play in the last line, very, very high up – but a little more to the left, half-open to the goal and to receive balls into open space.
Can we develop movements, patterns, behaviour to use his quality in narrow spaces? That’s my job and I’m absolutely convinced we can – because the guy is open, the guy is friendly and the guy is eager to learn.
WERNER HERZ LEG
Chelsea were without injury victim Thiago and Christian Pulisic (£8.2m) at the weekend, with Tuchel providing an update after full-time:
Christian [Pulisic] has some family issues to solve, and family is always first, so we decided to give him a rest for this game.
[Thiago] will be for sure out for the FA Cup. It will take several days but we set the goal, Southampton is maybe realistic but very ambitious. With a muscle injury you cannot take any risks, so when it’s healed it’s healed.
Werner meanwhile was substituted with a knock to his leg, with Tuchel explaining:
It’s just a dead leg. It’s not serious, it’s very painful in the moment but right now I don’t have any worries.
As for Sheffield United, Chris Wilder offered the following update:
I think Enda [Stevens] will be back for Wednesday, I believe he will be. George [Baldock] will be touch and go for the weekend, I’m not too confident for Wednesday. The [long-term absentees] are nowhere near.
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Ramsdale; Basham, Egan, Bryan (Sharp 68′); Bogle, Lundstram, Norwood (Brewster 87), Fleck, Lowe; Burke (McGoldrick 62), McBurnie.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell (Alonso 62); Giroud (Hudson-Odoi 62), Mount Werner (Kante 75)
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