Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea: David McGoldrick bags brace to leave their Champions League qualification hopes in question.
Frank Lampard opted to recall Tammy Abraham to the starting XI ahead of Olivier Giroud despite his goal against Crystal Palace, while Jorginho made his first start since the Premier League restart in place of the injured Billy Gilmour.
Sheffield United, in their favoured 3-5-2 setup, made one change with David McGoldrick coming in for Billy Sharp.
Chelsea applied the early pressure and it was the in-form Christian Pulisic who went close, striking over on the half-volley from Reece James’s delivery.
With their first opportunity of the game, the Blades took the lead in fortuitous circumstances – but it was a goal the Blues will have felt was avoidable.
Mason Mount failed to clear on the edge of the box and was dispossessed by Sander Berge. George Baldock floated in a cross to Oli McBurnie, who saw his effort take two deflections to wrong-foot Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Spaniard did well to keep it out, but McGoldrick finished on the rebound to finally score his first goal of the season.
Chelsea’s response was about as bright as the grey clouds hovering above Bramall Lane and after a well-worked move, Chris Wilder’s side was in dreamland with a second goal.
Enda Stevens overlapped and whipped in a fine cross. Andreas Christensen was guilty of ball-watching, Kurt Zouma was too late to react and McBurnie – with a free header – found the bottom corner.
The visitors only tested Dean Henderson once, when James fired a fierce half-volley and the Manchester United loanee pushed it wide.
Lampard reacted at the break, switching to a 3-4-3 system and sending on Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso for Mount and Christensen, perhaps feeling they were at fault for the goals conceded.
But Chelsea lacked urgency and any kind of fluidity when moving the ball forward, with Sheffield United looking wholly comfortable in their deep defensive shape.
Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi came off the bench late as Chelsea tried to find a way back into the game.
However, their defensive troubles came to the surface once again when Lys Mousset’s scuffed cross found its way to Rudiger, who botched the clearance and McGoldrick was in the right place to finish again.
Mousset very nearly rounded off an awful day at the office for Chelsea but somehow chipped wide when one-on-one with Kepa.
The defeat is Chelsea’s worst since the opening day of the season and now Lampard’s men will be looking over their shoulders in the race for Champions League qualification.