Aaron Ramsdale probably had his toughest day in a Sheffield United shirt during the 4-1 defeat to Chelsea.
The Blades are now rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after picking up just one point from their opening eight games.
The impressive defensive record that served them so well last season has disappeared. Only the three promoted teams and Liverpool have conceded more than their 14 goals this term.
United took the lead at Stamford Bridge through David McGoldrick, but the Blues equalised via a scuffed Tammy Abraham shot that was just out of reach for Ramsdale.
Not much the goalkeeper could do about that. But the second was a shambles. Max Lowe allowed Ben Chilwell goal-side as a Hakim Ziyech cross went to the far post. Ramsdale dithered and Chilwell managed to bundle the ball in despite clearly pulling out of the attempt himself.
“It’s a mistake, which in an individual mistake,” manager Chris Wilder told Sky Sports.
“If Aaron doesn’t deal with it then Max should deal with it, whatever you have to do to keep the ball out of the net and we didn’t.
“It’s a scruffy goal from our point of view and one that should have been dealt with quite easily.”
Chelsea display raises issues for Ramsdale
United have only scored four league goals in 2020/21. Only 19th-placed Burnley have netted fewer. Although last season only three other teams scored fewer than their 39 strikes and they finished ninth.
That was because the Blades had the fourth best defensive record in the division, conceding 39 times. Dean Henderson kept 13 clean sheets during that time.
Only Burnley’s Nick Pope (15) and Manchester City number one Ederson (16) had more. The form of Henderson makes Ramsdale’s current problems all the more stark.
“He is a young goalkeeper and it is certainly not easy to come in after Henderson did so well last season,” Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports.
“It cannot have been easy for him last season at Bournemouth also. But it is high stakes, particularly in the situation that Sheffield United find themselves in.”
Carragher was critical of Ramsdale for his role in Chelsea’s second goal and even felt the 22-year-old should have done better with the first.
In truth, he hasn’t been a disaster this term. Ramsdale arguably should have done better with headed goals from Romain Saiss and Ezri Konsa during defeats to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa.
Yet the England Under-21 international has also made some impressive stops. For Bournemouth in 2019/20, he conceded 62 times – but the expected goals model said he should have let in 61.
In general, Ramsdale makes the saves he’s expected to.
However, Henderson exceeded that and gained points for United effectively single-handedly in the process. The Manchester United stopper was expected to conceded 41 last term. He actually let in 33.
The stats suggest Henderson saved the South Yorkshire side 15 points.
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