Chelsea welcomes Sheffield United to Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Sunday. Unfortunately for the visitors, these two sides are total polar opposites when form is concerned. The Blues are coming off a massive Champions League Round of 16 tie, where they dismantled Atletico Madrid 3-0 over two legs. Meanwhile, the Blades and manager Chris Wilder agreed to part ways after five years at the club. Sheffield United was subsequently beaten by Leicester City 5-0 to kick off the Paul Heckingbottom era.
Chelsea is unbeaten in its last 14, including 13 under new manager Thomas Tuchel. The Blues are defending better than any other team—aside from maybe Manchester City—in Europe right now. They have conceded just two goals since Tuchel was named manager. Chelsea has 11 clean sheets under the German, all but one coming in its new 3-4-3 formation with a number of combinations in the back line.
On the other side, the Blades have lost five of their last six. Sheffield United’s defense has been leaky all season and drawing the Blues was a bit harsh, especially seeing as Ethan Ampadu cannot play against his parent club. Stopping Chelsea’s attack is going to be a tall order for the Blades.
Where can you view the live stream of Chelsea vs. Sheffield United?
Date: Sunday, March 21
Time: 9:30 a.m. ET (13:30 p.m. GMT)
Location: London, England
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: Andrew Madley
TV Info: ESPN+ (USA), BBC One (UK)
Live Stream: ESPN+ (USA), BBC iPlayer (UK)
Luckily for the visitors, there are a few reasons to be hopeful. Sheffield United is set to become the first English side to play Tuchel’s Chelsea twice. The Blades know what they are up against, whereas the Blues simply have no clue how Heckingbottom will line his side up. Sheffield United is also one of the two sides to score on Tuchel’s team; it was an awful own goal by Antonio Rudiger, but the point still remains.
The Blades have given Chelsea problems in almost every meeting over the last two seasons, this one may not be much different. This remains true if the Blues’ German gaffer decides to heavily rotate the side. Despite Chelsea being largely healthy—only Thiago Silva and Jorginho are in line to miss the match—there are a lot of players leaving in the coming days to break for their international teams. A difficult Champions League semifinal match-up awaits on the other side of the break, so Tuchel will want to rest a majority of his everyday starters. An inexperienced side that lacks cohesion and chemistry could struggle against a well-rested Sheffield United squad.
This FA Cup contest may not be as flashy as others, but it’s undoubtedly going to be a battle from both sides. Tuchel is out of the Premier League title race and the Blues are no longer in the League Cup, so the FA Cup and UCL are Chelsea’s only shot at silverware this season. There is a trip to the semifinal on the line; expect the Blues to leave it all on the pitch.