Monday 16 September 2019

Fans lower the tone on social media in aftermath of Blades leveller

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire Sportsdesk

The reactions among their fans to Chelsea letting a 2-0 half-time lead slip to draw with Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge were predictable, and in one aspect grimly so: when Kurt Zouma was debited with the OG that levelled the scores, racist abuse followed on social media.

The civilised majority of critics among the fanbase pointed at the youth of the central defenders - Zouma, 24, and Fikayo Tomori, 21.

Tomori dropped the average age of the starting XI to 24 years and 158 days.

At the other end of the age spectrum is club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, a veteran of 342 appearances for Chelsea. True, 30 is no age these days, even for a full-back, but the Spain defender is suddenly looking vulnerable.

Reece James, only 19, is waiting in the wings, which would drop the average age of the team still further.

Frank Lampard does not regard age as a barrier. "I couldn't care less that we've got our youngest team in Premier League history," he said after Saturday's draw. "It was a plus last week [at Norwich, when he fielded the club's youngest team since 1994] and I don't think it relates at all."

Sheffield United's issues in the top flight, according to Chris Wilder, their manager, were initially about nervousness. Not so any longer.

"I get that bit of apprehension because of where they've been," he said of his players. "But hopefully we'll grow out of that and this will be a day we can look back on and say, 'We're here and we deserve to be'." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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