The fact that Crystal Palace – Sheffield United ended 2-0 to the hosts was a minor detail, because the Blades have set an unwanted Premier League record.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Goals from Jeffrey Schlupp and Eberechi Eze meant Sheffield United have now gone 17 Premier League games since the start of the season without a win. That is the longest winless run since the start of a campaign in Premier League history.
It is the longest winless streak since the start of a top-flight season since Bolton Wanderers (22) in 1902-03.
The Blades sit bottom of the table and 11 points from safety. Palace are in 12th on 22 points.
Three things we learned
1. Blades claim unwanted record: This is quite harsh on this Blades team, because they aren’t the worst team in Premier League history. But they are quite bad. Essentially they are playing exactly the same as they did last season, but at this point in the last campaign they were in the top six after several one-goal wins. Now they are certain for relegation, as their already sparse supply of goals have dried up and defensively they just cannot keep a clean sheet as they keep getting edged out. Chris Wilder should stay in the job even if they go down, but this has been a demoralizing decline for the Blades since ‘Project Restart’ in the summer.
2. Eze can replace Zaha: His stunning solo goal was a work of art and a glimpse of Palace’s future. The South London lad can replace another South London lad, Wilfried Zaha, when he eventually leaves Palace. That was probably always the plan, but Eze has adapted well to his first season in the Premier League with some eye-catching goals. This one was the best. Sure, Sheffield United didn’t get close enough to him but the way he floated across the ground and kept his cool to slot home was so effortless. Is Eze the man to take the pressure off, and replace, Zaha? Yep.
3. Blades need to freshen up attack: Even if they are planning for life in the Championship next season, they need to bring in a few new forwards in January. McBurnie, Sharp, Mousset, McGoldrick and Brewster just don’t have the collective quality to score regularly in the Premier League, so Wilder must try and find players who can, even on loan, to try and salvage some pride from the season. If that happens, and even if they go down, then next season will have some positive vibes around it from the start. Jesse Lingard and a few other loan deals have been reported, and getting a clinical edge to the team has to be the priority. In midfield and defense they are okay, but scoring eight goals in 17 games is woeful.
Man of the Match:
Luka Milivojevic – Palace skipper worked so hard in midfield and always seemed to be in the right place to shut down attacks.
The Eagles got off to a flying start as Zaha flew down the left wing after a great ball from Townsend and found Benteke and his lovely flick set up Jeffrey Schlupp to score.
Sheffield United responded well to going behind as they had plenty of the ball, but couldn’t really carve out clear cut opportunities.
Eze replaced Schlupp who went off injured, and he passed on the goalscoring baton to the young winger.
Right on half time, Eze picked up the ball just inside his own half and ran towards goal as he took on multiple Sheffield United players before slotting home a wonderful effort to make it 2-0.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Palace looked dangerous on the break in the second half, but Sheffield United had a lot of the ball.
Once again the Blades struggled to carve the Eagles open, with a few crosses into the box easily cleared.
John Egan blocked Townsend’s goalbound effort late on as Sheffield United worked hard, but lost yet again to set a new Premier League record of most games from the start of the season without a win.