Dean Henderson

Fleck artistry gets Sheffield United point at Arsenal

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John Fleck‘s perfectly lashed side volley gave Sheffield United a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.

The Emirates Stadium saw a wasteful first hour from the Gunners give way to a resurgent Blades side and a share of the points.

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Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring for the Gunners, who sit 10th with 29 points. The Blades move to 33 points and sit seventh.

The match was Mike Dean’s 500th Premier League match, and not without controversy. Dean neglected to award a penalty when Nicolas Pepe was chopped down in the box, but VAR stayed with him.


Three things we learned

1. Blades are for real: There’s a reason Chris Wilder is getting linked with plenty of jobs and got a new contract: Sheffield United’s men are bought into a system about as well as anyone not named Jurgen Klopp. Granted Arsenal let early United errors slide, but once the Blades took hold of momentum it rarely felt like the Gunners would score the game’s second goal

2. Aubameyang absence glaring: It’s no surprise that missing one of the world’s best scorers is a not good, but you’d peg Arsenal’s talented group of attackers to sort it out. Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette had their moments and Martinelli did get his goal, but there was an Auba-sized hole in both the aura and composure of the Gunners in the final third. That red card is stinging like a fresh cut.

3. Xhaka, Torreira steady: Mikel Arteta has found better play from Swiss hard man Granit Xhaka, while Lucas Torreira is working well with his center midfield mate. Their play allows Mesut Ozil to do whatever he wants, more or less. Throw in a fine day from Shkrodan Mustafi, and the Gunners were a Maitland-Niles 50-50 battle away from a clean sheet

Man of the Match: Give it to Fleck for the goal plus four tackles and another day of committed challenges.


Lacazette sent Nicolas Pepe down the right flank, and the Ivorian sent a terrific cross for Gabriel Martinelli. The youngster volleyed across goal and wide of the far post.

Lucas Torreira popped a dipping shot that Dean Henderson smothered in the 32nd minute.

Martinelli didn’t miss his second, punching home a 45th minute deflected cross from Bukayo Saka. The latter had a terrific first half for the Gunners.

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The Blades didn’t quit, and Arsenal was forced into a goal line clearance in the 56th.

Pepe could’ve won a penalty when he was chopped down on a dribble into the box, but VAR upheld Mike Dean’s initial judgment.

Sheffield United scored an equalizerr in brilliant fashion, Fleck slashing a bounding side volley past Leno in the 83rd minute.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles blocked a shot and Leno made a tremendous save in stoppage time to keep the hosts’ point.

McBurnie sees Sheffield United past West Ham

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At their best, West Ham United have produced quality play this season. At their worst, the Hammers have been punished. It was nearly the former, but the latter prevailed at Bramall Lane on Friday as lynchpin Lukasz Fabianski was lost to injury early in the match and his replacement’s error saw Oli McBurnie lead Sheffield United to a 1-0 victory.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

In off the bench, Robert Snodgrass seemed to have a late equalizer in stoppage time, but it was ruled out by VAR thanks to a handball on Declan Rice, reigniting debate about the new handball rules involving attacking players.

The win for Sheffield United sees the Blades move above Manchester United, Tottenham, and Wolves into fifth, while West Ham still remains in 16th, just two points above the relegation zone.


Three things we learned

1. Sheffield United is back to business

Not that they had anything to prove, but Sheffield United continues to produce scalp after scalp. After a short three-match winless run that began to produce doubt over their ability to maintain the cutting edge they showed throughout the first half of the season, the Blades got back to winning ways. They dominated the midfield for much of the game, and looked dangerous in the final third.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

The Blades nearly came to rue some wastefulness on the near-goal by Snodgrass, but in the end they survived. Chris Wilder has been nothing but a pleasant surprise in the Premier League this season.

2. West Ham is doomed without Fabianski

It only took 38 minutes for West Ham to miss Lukasz Fabianski as David Martin‘s mistake gifted Sheffield United the game’s only goal. Fabianski has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League the last two seasons, but this hip injury has kept him off the field in chunks. The Hammers have 15 points in nine games with Fabianski on the field, and just five points in 12 matches (including today, where he played just 15 minutes) without the Polish international. Sitting just two points above the drop, West Ham must improve between the sticks to survive.

3. David Moyes can’t afford to bench Robert Snodgrass

Robert Snodgrass appears back to his best, and David Moyes can’t afford to keep him on the bench. After a dry spell through November and half of December, the Scottish international appears back to his best, and West Ham will rue not having him on the field the entire match. Snodgrass was electric off the bench, and while Manuel Lanzini was creative at times, Snodgrass was consistently the team’s best attacking option down the stretch as they poured on the pressure.


Sheffield United was the better side for the first 15 minutes, and worked a great opportunity from a corner that saw John Egan head just over the bar. As the first half went on, West Ham built its counter-attack and worked a chance for Felipe Anderson who got by the Blades defense but scuffed wide left past a charging Dean Henderson.

One of the more influential moments in the match came 15 minutes in as West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski went down with a hip injury occurring on a goal kick, looking to be a recurrence of an injury he sustained earlier in the season. West Ham has been awful this season without Fabianski, and that proved important after the break.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The loss of Fabianski proving tragic for the Hammers after the break. Sheffield United went in front on 53 minutes as Fleck snatched away a bad David Martin goal-kick and fed Oli McBurnie for the opening strike. The goal came on the game’s first shot on target.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Snodgrass was influential off the bench, and Sebastian Haller failed on a pair second-half chances to equalize – putting one of those in the back of the net but the offside flag scuttled the chance. Snodgrass appeared to have the decisive moment in stoppage time, with the ball in the back of the net, but VAR intervened. Declan Rice fed Snodgrass on the break in the 92nd minute, and while his shot was slowed by Henderson, it wasn’t stopped, trickling over the line. On replay, however, a clear handball off the arm of Rice saw the goal ruled out. While the decision was extremely harsh as Rice had no way of avoiding the unintentional touch off the head of a defender, the decision was consistent with the rules that prevent attacking players from handling the ball in the buildup to a goal not matter the circumstances.

Liverpool sweeps aside Blades at Anfield

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The party plan for Liverpool’s arrival as Premier League champions appears to be a waltz.

The Reds danced past Sheffield United 2-0 at Anfield with little worry, getting goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

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Liverpool increases its lead to 13 points and still holds a match-in-hand on the chasing pack. The Reds outshot the Blades 19-3 and had 74 percent of the ball.

The two goals come against the third stingiest defense in the league. Sheffield United now sits eighth with 29 points.


Three things we learned

1. Reds score on Blades two let-downs: It’s nothing new that Liverpool is quality on the break, but the Premier League leaders were merciless given two chances at Anfield. The first was Baldock slipping to the turf to allow Robertson to set up Salah, but the second was like a mouse who spied free cheese.

Alisson claimed a looping cross and saw acres of space on his left. A throw to Robertson was quickly at the feet of Mane, who tore down the left before combing with Salah to make it 2-0.

2. Henderson adds to his highlight reel: Twenty-two year old Dean Henderson continues to make a case to both England and parent club Manchester United. The Blades loanee made an incredible stop on Mohamed Salah early in the contest, and had clear command of his box aside from a freak chipped cross from Salah that tapped the post.

3. Keita injury concern: Naby Keita picked up an injury in warm-ups, plugging James Milner into the Starting XI. Keita had been a revelation in recent weeks, looking exactly like the player he was for RB Leipzig before arriving at Anfield. Liverpool is deep but Keita gives them another level, their best midfield three likely involving him, Fabinho, and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Man of the Match: Salah and Roberto Firmino each had five shot attempts, but the Egyptian’s lightning quick finish to open the scoring was it. Andrew Robertson was also quite good for the presumptive champs.


The festive gifts are carrying over to the New Year for Liverpool, as George Baldock fell down tracking a cross. That allowed Andrew Robertson an unimpeded path to cross for Salah. No problem. 1-0.

It could’ve been two, but Dean Henderson leapt to paw a Salah flick away from frame after Jordan Henderson spotted the Egyptian’s run.

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Mane came down the left and fed Georginio Wijnaldum, who maneuevered in traffic to whip an 18-yard shot wide of the goal.

Henderson saved a Salah shot again in the 30th minute.

The Blades kept the damage at one until the 65th minute, a break fired down the left side. Henderson stopped Mane’s close-range effort, but the Senegalese was first to the rebound.

Man City battle past Sheffield United

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Manchester City rode their luck to beat Sheffield United 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

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Second half goals from Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne led City to victory as the Blades were unlucky throughout with a tight offside VAR call going against them, the referee pretty much grabbed an assist on City’s opener and they hit the woodwork and missed several glorious chances.

With the win Man City move to within one point of second place Leicester City but are 14 points behind leaders Liverpool who also have a game in hand on them. Sheffield United are in eighth place on 29 points, six points off the top four.


3 things we learned

1. Unlucky Blades finally lose away: The almost went halfway through the season unbeaten away from home. What a season the Blades are having and they were so unlucky to lose this. Lys Mousset‘s first half goal was ruled out, just, by VAR for offside and City’s opener arrived in incredibly unlucky fashion as the ball hit referee Chris Kavanagh. City had the extra quality but Sheffield United gave them an almighty scare as Billy Sharp hitting the inside of the post with a header in stoppage time summed up their luck.

2. City react positively: Following their brave display away at Wolves, which saw them play with 10 men for over 80 minutes but blow a 2-0 lead late on thanks to some terrible defending, it took a lot of guts for City’s players to stand tall and go again less then 48 hours later. Guardiola brought in Garcia and Zinchenko to the lineup, with Bravo also replacing the suspended Ederson, and they didn’t look too comfortable defensively. City should be applauded for picking themselves up and even though they are 14 points behind leaders Liverpool, they have shown they will keep battling away.

3. De Bruyne on a different planet: He set up Aguero for the opener, scored a sublime goal of his own late on, was running around everywhere and even if Man City don’t pull of a miraculous comeback to win the title this season, the main positive will be that KDB is back to his best. De Bruyne has remained fit for most of this season and City are a totally different team when he’s firing on all cylinders.

Man of the Match: Kevin de Bruyne –


The first big chance of the game arrived for Sheffield United as Mousset nodded wide under pressure from Zinchenko, who put his boot up high.

Riyad Mahrez was played in by Rodri but his shot was deflected wide at the near post as Man City clicked through the gears in the first half.

Mousset looked to have given Sheffield United the lead after John Fleck‘s superb through ball but after he smashed home VAR intervened to rule out the goal for a marginal offside on the Blades striker.

John Egan headed over the bar as the Blades continued to look dangerous with Mousset again going close on the break, while at the other end Dean Henderson kept out Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva at the near post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Aguero dinked an effort just over at one end, then Muhamed Besic smashed just wide at the other as the game opened up.

Huge controversy then arrived as Man City took the lead. Sheffield United tried to play the ball into midfield but referee Chris Kavanagh was in the way and although the ball didn’t touch him, he caused a turnover which led to De Bruyne setting up Aguero to slam home. There was nothing the referee could do as the Blades were incredible hard done by.

De Bruyne whipped a free kick over the bar late on and although Sheffield United continued to threaten on the break, City doubled their lead  as KDB combined with Mahrez and whipped home a shot at the near post to grab all three points.

Sheffield United edge Brighton

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Sheffield United beat Brighton 1-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday as Chris Wilder‘s side continue their incredible start to life back in the Premier League.

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Ollie McBurnie scored the only goal of the game in the first half as the Blades had two goals chalked off by VAR but held on for the win despite Brighton improving after the break.

With the victory Sheffield United are in fifth place and have 28 points for the season, while Brighton have 20 points and are five points clear of the relegation zone.


3 things we learned

1. Blades stay sharp: Sheffield United are fifth in the Premier League table as we approach the halfway point. Fifth. The newly-promoted side didn’t have it all their own way at Brighton but they found a way to win, as they looked dangerous from set pieces and McBurnie was bullish on the break as their usual prowess out wide was halted by Brighton and their possession-based style. Chris Wilder is doing a fabulous job and even though he won’t admit it, Sheffield United look set for a season-long battle to qualify for Europe.

2. VAR gets it right: Sheffield United had a goal in each half chalked off by VAR and the technology got it spot on. First John Egan saw the ball hit his hand last and then go in, and in the second half Jack O'Connell had an effort which he bundled home but was clearly offside. A good day for VAR, for once.

3. Half time subs have impact for Brighton: Glenn Murray and Aaron Connolly came on at half time and they made a big difference. Brighton pinned Sheffield United back and were more direct than usual, which shows they do have a Plan B, but Graham Potter will be disappointed with the lack of clear chances his side created. For all of their good play early in the season, the Seagulls are in the relegation scrap. Murray and Connolly should play a more prominent role in the weeks to come as Neal Maupay needs more support in the final third.

Man of the Match: Ollie McBurnie – Took the winning goal really well and gave the Sheffield United attack a vocal point.


The Blades thought they had got off to a perfect start as John Egan bundled the ball home but the goal was ruled out via VAR as the Sheffield United defender saw the ball hit his thigh and then his hand as it went over the line.

John Lundstram then smashed a shot into the side-netting as Sheffield United continued to do all of the early pressing.

At the other end Brighton thought they had gone ahead but Martin Montoya was offside as he played in Neal Maupay to slot home.

Soon after Brighton were behind as one long ball caught out Adam Webster and Lewis Dunk, with McBurnie hunting it down and finishing off the near post to make it 1-0.

Jack O’Connell nodded wide at the back post as Sheffield United continued to do all the pressing.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In the second half David McGoldrick broke free and rounded Mat Ryan but somehow sent his shot against the post with the goal wide open as Sheffield United should have doubled their lead.

Moments later they thought they had but O’Connell was ruled offside after finishing from close range, as for the second time in the game VAR denied the Blades.

Half time sub Aaron Connolly made a difference off the bench as Dean Henderson saved well from his powerful shot, as he and Glenn Murray made a difference in the second half.

Yves Bissouma went down in the box late on and was booked for simulation as he Seagulls lost.