After two back-to-back wins to get themselves to the third position, Chelsea produced another horror show and made a mockery of their own defence as Sheffield United battered them 3-0 in Premier League on Saturday at the Bramall Lane.
Even though the Blues still remain at the third spot, they can drop down to fifth if fourth-placed Leicester City beat Bournemouth and fifth-placed Manchester United get the better of Southampton. While Chelsea stand with 60 points from 35 matches, Leicester have 59 from 34 matches and United have 58 form 34.
Sheffield United, meanwhile, extended their unbeaten streak to four matches after beating Tottenham and Wolves. David McGoldrick scored a brace while Oli McBurnie netted one in the first half.
The hosts made their intention clear and pushed hard from the opening whistle. However, after weathering the initial storm Chelsea took control of the possession and tried to steady pace of the game.
Frank Lampard’s men even produced the first genuine chance of the match when Christian Pulisic tested Sheffield keeper Dean Henderson with a header off Reece James’ cross.
But it was the Blades who took the lead in the 18th minute after Mason Mount committed a naive mistake while trying to dribble his way out of his own box. Gorge Baldock got better of the 21-year-old and sent the ball back into the box where McBurnie took it as a volley and smashed towards the Chelsea net.
The delivery deflected off Barkley but Kepa managed an awkward save and pushed the ball away from where McGoldrick slotted it into the back of the net while the Chelsea defenders stood clueless in the 18th minute.
Conceding such a messy goal proved detrimental to Chelsea’s cause as they failed to pose any kind of threat and breach the disciplined Sheffield backline. The home team capitalised further on the visitors’ lackadaisical efforts and extended their lead in the 33rd minute.
Like tonnes of times this season and minutes in the first, Chelsea’s fragile defence was left exposed again when McBurnie fooled centre-back Kurt Zouma to meet Enda Stevens’ cross with a powerful header past Kepa.
A visibly frustrated Lampard replaced Mount and Andreas Christensen with Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger respectively at half-time.
But his decision paid no dividends and instead Sheffield got one more to add to Chelsea’s misery when McGoldrick sored in the 77th minute. The final goal was the result of possibly the most unpardonable effort from Chelsea defenders. Rudiger, despite finding himself in the right position and with space, failed to clear a simple cross and made a complete hash of clearing.
In one of the other matches of the day, Norwich City were humiliated 0-4 by West Ham United after Michail Antonio scored all of the goals. The defeat made Norwich the first team of the season to be relegated from Premier League.