Sheffield United – Tottenham Hotspur: Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur bounced back from a midweek draw to remind Sheffield United of its long odds to stay in the Premier League with a 3-1 win at Bramall Lane on Sunday.
Serge Aurier opened the scoring, Harry Kane made it 2-0, and Tanguy Ndombele restored a two-goal cushion with a magnificent goal shortly after United ruined Hugo Lloris’ clean sheet.
Tottenham goes fourth with 33 points and will finish the weekend no more than six points back of the table lead. United remains dead last with five points after failing to build on a win over Newcastle.
Blades worked hard to get back in the game but there was little worry for well-positioned Tottenham as David McGoldrick and John Fleck needed technical perfection to get on the board.
Three things we learned from Sheffield United – Tottenham Hotspur
1. Spurs leave no doubt from Moment No. 1: Sheffield United won its first match of the season at midweek thanks largely to Newcastle inexplicably lining up defensively against a team that has neither scored nor defended well this season. Spurs did not need that lesson, especially given its recent slip-ups against lesser lights of the Premier League, and it could’ve easily been 2-0 inside of eight minutes. Heung-min Son just missed with his chip of Aaron Ramsdale moments after Serge Aurier opened the scoring at Bramall Lane. There were some promising moments without finish that would’ve doubtlessly started to worry some Spurs fans, but Kane’s goal before half was a just tonic.
2. Blades are bad at the back: Chris Wilder has spoken of this season being the exact opposite of last season’s marvelous first PL campaign. Only Leeds and West Brom have conceded more goals than Sheffield United. Here’s another example:
9 – Excluding penalties, only Wolves and Leeds (10 each) have conceded more set-piece goals than Sheffield United this season (9); indeed, the Blades shipped a league-low six such goals through the entirety of last season. Contributing. #SHUTOT
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 17, 2021
3. McGoldrick giving his all: The Republic of Ireland’s fifth goal of the season continues a sorry statistical anomaly for McGoldrick; He has all of Blades’ goals in the four matches he’s scored, and the 33-year-old accounts for half of the team’s Premier League markers. Of his seven PL goals, only two have come in a winning effort (Last season’s 3-0 win over Chelsea).
Man of the Match: Tanguy Ndombele
The French international’s sixth Tottenham goal was a marvel, and came minutes after the midfielder blocked a point-blank Blades bid with his midsection. Ndombele was a part of the goal in several phases, and his genius finish over Ramsdale with defenders around him was acrobatic, sneaky powerful, and aesthetically-pleasing. He passed well, won almost every duel, and racked up three tackles, two interceptions, and a block in the win.
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) January 17, 2021
Sheffield United – Tottenham Hotspur recap
It was an early corner that sent Spurs ahead, Son’s service headed home by Serge Aurier with Joe Rodon also in frame to score given poor marking from the hosts.
Son broke the line and chipped Aaron Ramsdale moments later but his effort dipped into the outside of the goal.
Kane drew a yellow card for Oliver Norwood with a powerful counter dribble in the 23rd minute, taking short-lived pressure off Spurs.
There was an air of “Here we go again” as Spurs couldn’t score a second despite several chances, but Kane made it 2-0 before the break with a splendid finish from outside the 18 after taking an entry pass from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
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Blades pulled a goal back when McGoldrick kept his calm in a sea of bodies to plant a header home off a John Fleck cross before the hour mark.
But Ndombele had an answer — and what a retort it was — working the end of a nice team play with an audacious outside-of-the-boot looping chip from an improbable angle.