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Chelsea were able to enjoy a more comfortable evening than expected hosting Rennes on Wednesday, with their opponents suffering a first-half red card, leaving the Blues with a trio of consecutive wins over Krasnodar (4-0), Burnley (3-0) and the French side (3-0).
Having played out goalless stalemates with quality outfits Sevilla and Man Utd prior to that, Frank Lampard’s men now have five clean sheets on the trot, seemingly finding that elusive balance between attack and defence.
New signings and players returning from injuries have certainly played their part, especially in attack where Hakim Ziyech has made a positive start, with the Morocco international starting their last three games.
However, Christian Pulisic missed the midweek outing with a hamstring complaint and is unlikely to feature here given he’s still rated as doubtful, while Kai Havertz has tested positive for coronavirus, so the Blues won’t be at full capacity in attack.
-1 Handicap Draw
That shouldn’t hinder them from taking the spoils here though as the Blades simply can’t buy a win at the moment, losing nine of 10 league matches since mid-July. However, the defensive discipline that helped them achieve an improbable top-half finish last term still remains intact.
No one has beaten them by more than two clear goals over this run, while the last six have seen them go down by 1-0 or 2-1 scorelines on five occasions, as they drew the other when facing Fulham.
Even Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City have only managed narrow triumphs in October, so Chelsea should be made to work hard for the points.
Indeed, Chris Wilder’s team took four points off Chelsea last term, but they’re clearly not delivering like they were when these two last met.
They’re still without injured trio Jack O’Connell, John Fleck and Lys Mousset, with the former a major loss as he’s been absent or not fully fit throughout the Blades’ poor run.
Sheffield Utd have also lost seven of their past eight on their travels now, so it’s hard to envisage any outcome other than the home win.
Chelsea To Win To Nil
The Blades have failed to score in 14 of their 18 defeats since being promoted, with over half of these coming by one-goal margins. 1-0 was the most common scoreline, occurring seven times, though six of those did came at Bramall Lane.
Given Chelsea’s last five victories in all competitions have come by 3-0, 4-0 or 6-0 scorelines, even if the latter was registered over Barnsley in the League Cup, they should come up trumps here and the win to nil is a safer option than the winning margin or correct score.