Soccer

Sheffield United shocks Chelsea with unlikely David McGoldrick goals

Soccer

The Premier League hasn't had many surprises since Leicester City lifted the trophy in 2016, let alone compelling ones.

Sheffield United and David McGoldrick are making up for lost time.

They jumped up to sixth place Saturday, thanks to a 3-0 win over third-place Chelsea at Bramall Lane. McGoldrick scored not once, but twice, ending a 27-game league scoring drought.

The Irish striker opened the scoring in the 18th minute, slotting a rebound past Kepa moments after the Chelsea goalkeeper sprawled to save a deflected shot. McGoldrick sealed Sheffield United's victory in the 77th, giving the Blades a 3-0 advantage after pouncing on the Blues' failed clearance.

Should Sheffield United maintain their place after Wolves' match against Everton on Sunday, the Blades will have the inside track to a UEFA Europa League place and an outside shot at one in the Champions League.

Not bad for a club playing in England's third division just over three years ago.

Sheffield United hadn't been in the Premier League since being relegated in 2007, earning promotion to England's top flight after finishing second in the Championship last year. The Blades have been on an upward trajectory since hiring Chris Wilder in 2016, winning a trophy, earning promotion or both in two of the last three seasons.

 

Promoted Premier League sides as recently as least season, when Wolves made it to the Europa League. Sheffield United, however, spent far less than Wolves and the rest of their top-flight counterparts. Only Southampton and recently relegated Norwich City have a lower net-spend than Sheffield United over the last five seasons, according to Transfermarkt.

Wilder's innovative 3-5-2 system has done wonders for Sheffield United, and the Blades have done very well against some of the Premier League's best sides. They've now beaten or drawn with each of the league's "Big Six" sides, aside from the last two champions: Liverpool and Manchester City.

With 54 points, Sheffield United already have ensured their best-ever point total in the Premier League. Adding their first-ever appearance in European competition would be quite a way for the Blades to commemorate their return to the English top flight, and McGoldrick is one of many unlikely heroes who could become club legends.