Chelsea edge closer to Champions League qualification

Chelsea edge closer to Champions League qualification

Chelsea edge closer to Champions League qualification

Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante (L) vies with Leicester City’s Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu (R) during the English FA Cup quarter-final football match between Leicester City and Chelsea at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on June 28, 2020. (Photo by RUI VIEIRA / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /

Chelsea travel to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United knowing that a sixth win in seven Premier League games will edge them a step closer to qualification for the Champions League.

However, the Blades welcome the Blues to Yorkshire having put together a three-match unbeaten streak, leaving the club just one point adrift of sixth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers.

After the resumption of the Premier League, Sheffield United looked like being one of the clubs who were struggling to adapt to the different surroundings, perhaps understandably having lost all momentum due to the enforced break.

However, the Blades have been excellent over the past week, with home victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers coming either side of a draw away at Burnley.

With all three of their last opponents acting as rivals in the race for the Europa League, each result has been recorded at the right time, leaving Chris Wilder’s team on the brink of moving into the top six.

Although squaring off against Champions-League chasing Chelsea represents another tough test, there will be no shortage of confidence after the manner of their last-gasp triumph over Wolves.

United outlasted a team which have made a habit of late flourishes, and it will naturally lead to Blues boss Frank Lampard having concerns about how his players will handle their upcoming contest.

Despite edging out Crystal Palace on Tuesday night, Chelsea struggled to close out the 3-2 win, relying on an outstanding late save from Kepa Arrizabalaga and an even better goal-saving tackle from Kurt Zouma.

While Lampard would have been impressed and relieved in equal measure, he has acknowledged that his team cannot afford to keep putting themselves in such situations, particularly after squandering so many opportunities at the other end of the pitch.

That has been a common theme throughout the season, although Lampard can only be delighted with how Willian and Christian Pulisic have performed since the resumption.

Osho Oluwatosin

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