Billy Sharp

Djenepo magic leads Saints past Sheffield United

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Southampton beat Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane on Saturday, as a thrilling end-to-end game was decided by a moment of magic from Moussa Djenepo.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

In his first Premier League start the Mali winger, a summer arrival from Standard Liege, danced past several Blades defenders before slotting home the winner in the second half, as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s Saints completed back-to-back away wins for the first time since March 2017.

Sheffield United had former Saints striker Billy Sharp, who came on as a sub, sent off late on as they huffed and puffed but couldn’t find a way past Angus Gunns and a resolute Saints defense.

With the win Saints now have seven points on the board and they are unbeaten in four games in all competitions, while Sheffield United are without a win since the second week of the season.

3 things we learned

1. Djenepo the difference: It is too early to say that Djenepo is finally Saints’ replacement for Sadio Mane, but it is not too early to say he will be a very important play for Southampton this season. He danced past several tackles after showing his strength to score a brilliant solo goal and that is his second stunning strike in as many games. Djenepo was the difference and for a Saints side looking to shore things up defensively, they have to make the most of their chances at the other end.

2. Saints still haven’t found correct formation: This wasn’t a great display from Southampton though. they looked disjointed as Hasenhuttl tinkered with the formation once again, with Djenepo, Cedric and Hojbjerg all looking like they played at left wing-back at times. Defensively Bednarek and Vestergaard have improved and one goal conceded in the last four games in all competitions points to that. But Saints don’t quite know their best formation yet, even though they are proving tough to beat.

3. Blades not sharp enough: David McGoldrick had some great chances and Ollie McBurnie had a goal disallowed as the Blades were blunted for the first time this season. Chris Wilder‘s side fly forward at every opportunity and gave it their all, but they just looked a little sluggish as Saints snapped into tackles in midfield and cleared crosses into the box. Sheffield United are a dangerous side to play against, but they didn’t have their shooting boots with them on Saturday.

Man of the Match: Moussa Djenepo – The winger has pace, power and trickery and looks like being a bargain buy at $18 million. Djenepo is 21 years old and has the potential to be Saints’ main goalscoring threat this season. Of course, he will be linked with plenty of big clubs if he keeps this form up, but right now it seems like Southampton have unearthed another gem.


Saints started well and Vestergaard got a header on goal which was saved comfortably by Dean Henderson.

A wild few seconds then saw former Sheffield United striker Adams smash a beautiful effort against the post and moments later David McGoldrick was put clean through but Angus Gunn stood his ground to make a superb stop.

The Blades finally got going before half time as John Fleck nodded over and they were causing plenty of problems down their right flank. However, Saints almost caught them on the break as Cedric somehow slotted wide from a great position.

In a lively first half Adams went close again as his header was saved by Henderson, then the Blades caused Saints all kinds of issues with their crosses into the box. Southampton continued to look dangerous on the break as Sofiane Boufal was set up perflectly by Moussa Djenepo but his tame effort was a huge let-off for the home side.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The Blades thought they had taken the lead at the start of the second half but McBurnie was offside as he tapped home Oliver Norwood‘s free kick to the back post.

Saints improved as the second half played out with Boufal and Djenepo getting on the ball in dangerous areas in the final third time and time again.

Djenepo did the business as Boufal once again won the ball back, then Djenepo fought off a defender, dribbled past a couple more and slotted home superbly to make it 1-0.

Late on Sheffield United chucked everything at Saints with plenty of balls into the box, as McGoldrick smashed a great chance over the bar.

Substitute Billy Sharp was then sent off for a lunging tackle on Stuart Armstrong as the Blades finished the game with 10 men and couldn’t find an equalizer.

Watch Live: Sheffield United v. Crystal Palace

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Sheffield United host Crystal Palace at Bramall Lane on Sunrday (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Blades fans will enjoy their first home game back in the Premier League.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Chris Wilder, the lifelong United fan who is now their manager, will be emotional and fans of the Yorkshire club will create a heated atmosphere for opponents to visit this season.

In team news Sheffield United are unchanged from the team which drew at Bournemouth last week, with club captain Billy Sharp on the bench.

Crystal Palace bring in star man Wilfried Zaha who starts up top


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PL Sunday preview: Sheffield United v. Palace; Chelsea host Leicester

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Chelsea will look to earn its first points under Frank Lampard as they host Leicester City, who started their season with a draw against Wolves. Elsewhere, the Premier League returns to Sheffield as Roy Hodgson‘s Crystal Palace visit the Blades.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Sheffield United v. Crystal Palace — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCS and NBCSports.com

88th minute, Billy Sharp, and goal are words that are still fresh in the Blades’ minds.

Why wouldn’t they be? After all, they’re only a game into their dream return to the Premier League, one they hope can only keep projecting upwards. The task won’t be a walk in the park, however, as a visiting Palace will look to rely on their plethora of attacking weapons to open their scoring account, which they failed to do so against Everton.

One of the weapons Palace could lean on is Wilfried Zaha, who may depart the club in January according to Hodgson. Last week, the Ivorian international came off the bench and only played 25 minutes, but a start for the winger at Bramall Lane may certainly improve Palace’s chances.

If so, Chris Wilder and the Blades will need more than a late Sharp goal to secure points in the Premier League’s return to Sheffield.

Chelsea v. Leicester City  — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCS and NBCSports.com

It’s only Frank Lampard’s second league game at the helm but the pressure is certainly on.

With Arsenal and Liverpool already at six points a piece, the Blues will need three points against Leicester City. Having lost to Manchester United (4-0) and Liverpool (5-4 via penalties) in a four-day span doesn’t help the cause either. Luckily, Chelsea has the quality to give the team a completely different look with the snap of a finger – whether Lampard believes that Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud or N’Golo Kante can give him that is yet to be seen.

The Foxes, on the other hand, also have their work cut out in front of them. Against Wolves, Brendan Rodgers‘ side recorded a lone shot on target. Certainly, Chelsea is not the ideal opponent to try to correct that, but if they can get it done what an injection of confidence that’d be for Leicester City. All in all, three points will not come easy for Jamie Vardy and Co.

Blades hometown hero Sharp: ‘Strikes win you points’

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We have an alarming amount of puns and plays on words regarding Billy Sharp scoring an equalizer for the Blades of Sheffield United on Opening Day, but we’ll let you choose your own adventure.

The point is this: Sheffield United’s return to the Premier League was on point with a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United ]

“We should have gone 1-0 up in the first moment and we had a few chances in the second half, so did they,” said United manager Chris Wilder. “We handled it well. There were a lot of ricochets and bobbles around the goal and up steps Mr. Sheffield United.”

The 33-year-old Sharp is in his third stint with the Blades, and came out of the club’s academy in 2004.

He came into the season with 102 goals for the club in 242 appearances, but Saturday’s match was just Sharp’s third in the Premier League (He helped Saints to Premier League promotion in 2011-12 and made two appearances the following season.

His finish of a bobbling ball in the second half proved to be his first PL goal, and came after four seasons of helping the Blades from League One to the top flight. From the BBC:

“I’m still a little bit speechless to be honest,” Sharp said. “We have paid a lot of money for a lot of good strikers to keep me on my toes. We had chances today.

“We are playing in the Premier League now so strikes win you points. We have to keep each other sharp. I was itching to get on to freshen it up a little bit. The boys were magnificent. They have done themselves proud.”

Sharp had only entered the match in the 82nd minute, and needed a half-dozen minutes to get on the board. Whether he finds another moment or not, his equalizer is one of the stories of Premier League Opening Weekend.

Sheffield United snatch late draw at Bournemouth

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Sheffield United struck in the 88th minute to secure a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday.

The newly-promoted side snatched a point thanks to local lad and club captain Billy Sharp, as he jumped off the bench and scrambled home an equalizer.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chris Mepham‘s clinical finish had given the Cherries the lead, but Sharp did what he does best as he pounce in the box to send the travelling Blades fans wild.


Three things we learned

1. Fraser, Wilson carrying the Cherries without Brooks. And Bournemouth just looked a little lackluster in attack without their Welsh wizard who is out injured.

2. Blades unfazed by the big time. Very impressive on the ball and deserved their equalizer which was a lovely moment for local lad and captain Sharp.

[ MORE: Sharp, Wilder react to draw ]

3. Bournemouth’s defensive unit looked stronger, then let in another late goal as it was the same old story for Eddie Howe. They looked less dangerous in attack and still conceded, which will be a worry.

Man of the Match: Dean Henderson – Made one stunning save in the second half from Billing and held United’s defense together as Bournemouth piled on the pressure.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Sheffield United started well as goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale denied David McGoldrick who broke free. Ryan Fraser was causing problems out wide for Bournemouth as the Cherries settled into the game.

The Blades looked comfortable enough and were rattling into challenges as Wilder’s side held their own. Adam Smith was booked in the first half but VAR was used to rule out a red card as the game turned into a scrappy affair.

David McGoldrick was played in over the top but arrowed his effort just wide of the far post as the Blades grew in stature.

At the other end Bournemouth’s Phillip Billing forced Dean Henderson into a wonderful save as the Man United loanee denied the Danish midfielder at full stretch.

Moments later Bournemouth took the lead as Ryan Fraser whipped in a free kick to the back post and several players tried to hook the ball goalwards with Henderson denying Callum Wilson, then Mepham arrived to smash home.

Just as it looked like Bournemouth were going to win, Sharp pounced and celebrated wildly with the away fans on the South Coast.

Sheffield United celebrated being back in the big-time in dramatic fashion.