Chelsea vs Sheffield United: 3 things to look out for

Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea FC: Premier League Summer Series
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea FC: Premier League Summer Series / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

Chelsea returns home after enduring two disappointing defeats on the road in the Premier League. The Blues will host Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon, and the Blades should carry high confidence following their win over Brentford last week.

Here are three things to look forward to.

1. Christopher Nkunku's debut.

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has affirmed that Nkunku will be part of the team this weekend. If he is involved with the squad, it will be his first experience in an official matchday capacity. A starting debut appears improbable, with a higher likelihood of making an entrance as a substitute.

The French player distinguishes himself as the most experienced among the arrivals within the past year. The pressure on him is bound to be intense. Pochettino has addressed him in a way that implies his non-participation is a significant factor in Chelsea's challenges. With players like Nicolas Jackson and Armando Broja struggling to find the net, there will be considerable expectation for the former RB Leipzig man to contribute significantly to the scoring efforts.

The team's current form and Nkunku's absence from action for almost five months do not favor him. However, the fans inside the stadium will feel buoyant with his presence if he is part of the squad.

2. Injuries.

The repercussions of last week's defeat to Everton extend beyond the league standings, affecting the squad's availability. Injuries forced three players to exit the field. Chelsea confirmed that Reece James will face an extended period on the sidelines. Robert Sanchez is in the process of specialist assessment. Marc Cucurella is undergoing evaluation and will consult with foot and ankle specialists to determine the next steps.

Dorde Petrovic should make his debut in a full match against Sheffield United. Malo Gusto, back in full-team training, might start at right back. However, Pochettino's inclination to deploy centrebacks as fullbacks might result in Axel Disasi starting as a right-back and Levi Colwill as a left-back once again. It could mean that Ian Maatsen, once again, will be overlooked by the Argentine.

3. Team Morale.

The past two matches were disheartening for everyone associated with Chelsea's men's team. They faced a comprehensive defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford before delivering a subpar performance in their loss to Everton at Goodison Park. However, they are now back in front of their home fans. In their last game at Stamford Bridge, they secured a victory despite playing with a numerical disadvantage for more than half the match. That win over Brighton should inject some faith and hope into the squad.

Amid injuries, Nkunku's return holds the potential to uplift the enthusiasm among the fans. The team's performance could experience a positive impact if the fans actively support and rally behind them. The support will be crucial in determining how the Blues will fare.