Eberechi Eze had a goal and an assist as Crystal Palace secured safety with a 2-0 win over moribund Sheffield United on Saturday at Bramalla Lane.
Christian Benteke scored Palace’s other goal to put the Eagles on 41 points, closer to seventh than 18th.
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Blades remain on pace to make some PL history, now on 28 losses through 35 matches.
Sheffield United is 19 points off 17th place, but won’t even get to play a Steel City derby in the Championship next season, as Sheffield Wednesday was relegated on Saturday.
Three things we learned Sheffield United – Crystal Palace
1. Benteke burnishes form: The four-time double-digit Premier League goal scorer had become a bit of a punchline after scoring three, one, and two goals across his last three seasons, but he’s on seven through 27 matches for a double-digit pace this season for Palace. Benteke remains a part of the Belgium set-up and what might we see if the big striker joins up with Roberto Martinez’s men to produce a very decent EURO run this summer?
2. Ramsdale remains ready: Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is still putting in the work despite two-straight seasons being relegated from the Premier League. The English backstop made a number of very good saves to keep this match within reach for the Blades. Will there be suitors for the goalkeeper this summer or will he be tasked with driving the Blades promotion push?
3. Canada calling: Canadian-English teenage striker Daniel Jebbison made his Premier League debut in the 65th-minute for Oli Burke, a name to put on the radar for CONCACAF types. Jebbison, 17, only had six touches and saw his only shot attempt off target. The Oakville, Ontario-born forward has been called up for England’s U-18s and has scored freely in the Blades’ U-23 side.
Man of the Match: Eberechi Eze
Eze was buzzing from Moment No. 1, and finally got his goal off a 60-yard dribble through a sea of Blades (sounds dangerous, but it really isn’t this season). The 22-year-old defied a layoff to the lung-busting run of Zaha on his deflected finish, and his Ivorian teammate was either too angry or exhausted to celebrate. Maybe this summer is the one that Palace takes “best offer” for Zaha, who is a gamechanger on his day but perhaps not as valuable as a slightly less talented but plenty more positive replacement. If anything, Eze looks like a man ready to handle the free-range role. He’s a little bit of “Allan Saint-Maximin lite.”
Sheffield United – Crystal Palace recap
Palace scored early, a lively Eberechi Eze driving the pace and Christian Benteke getting the benefit of a wicked deflection off John Egan to make it 1-0.
Ramsdale made an incredible save on Benteke in the 41st minute off a Jeffrey Schlupp cross and Blades handled the corner kick to keep it 1-0.
Sander Berge had been good prior to a giveaway that required Egan’s sliding defiance of an in-tight Wilfried Zaha shot.
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Berge, however, saw his form dip and was among the first subs, perhaps fitness a problem after a long time out of action.
Palace was still the better money for the next goal and Jordan Ayew would’ve had it 2-0 if he didn’t pump his shot off the back of Benteke (who somehow didn’t flinch).
Oliver Norwood provided a hint of an equalizer with a decent free kick off frame in the 83rd, but it was Eze putting the finishing touches on the three points instead with a terrific dribble and deflected finish minutes later.