John Fleck

Fleck artistry gets Sheffield United point at Arsenal

Leave a comment

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.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

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.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

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.

Premier League player Power Rankings

Leave a comment

Your final Premier League player Power Rankings of 2019 are here.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

With games on Boxing Day and Dec. 28/29 since our latest rankings were revealed, there has been plenty of movement as stars from Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City and Everton dominate.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Even
2. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – New entry
3. Danny Ings (Southampton) – Even
4. Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – Even
5. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – New entry
6. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
7.  Harry Kane (Tottenham) – New entry
8. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
9. Troy Deeney (Watford) – New entry
10. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – New entry
11. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Up 4
12. Riyad Mahrez (Man City) – Down 6
13. Adama Traore (Wolves) – New entry
14. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) – Down 3
15. Rui Patricio (Wolves) – Up 2
16. Aaron Mooy (Brighton) – New entry
17. John Fleck (Sheffield United) – New entry
18. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
19. Richarlison (Everton) – Up 1
20. Ben Foster (Watford) – Down 2

Man City battle past Sheffield United

Leave a comment

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

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

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.

Fleck leads Blades to easy victory against Villa

Leave a comment

Sheffield United beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Bramall Lane on Saturday as John Fleck was the hero for the Blades.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The Scotsman struck twice in the second half as Villa struggled throughout.

With the win Sheffield United moved up to fifth and have 25 points, while Villa stay on 16 points.


3 things we learned

1. Blades get the job done: For most of this season Sheffield United have been really good to watch. They were dangerous when they got the ball wide but this wasn’t one of their better displays. Chris Wilder wants to get to 40 points as soon as possible and they are now 15 points away from that target. The Blades are solid defensively and force opponents to play their game with their wide players causing all kinds of problems. George Baldock in particular was brilliant and the Blades have taken the PL by storm.

2. Villa lackluster in attack: Villa have lacked cutting edge all season long and this game summed it up. Wesley was anonymous in this game and Grealish headed wide and hit the crossbar with a penalty kick. Villa have lost six of their last eight with just one win in that run and Dean Smith‘s side are in a relegation scrap. There’s no doubt about that.

3. Sheff United dreaming of Europe: This win moved them up to fifth, momentarily, and the Blades have now given themselves a huge lead over the teams stacked up in the bottom half. Their aim at the start of the season was to stay out of the bottom three but now it should be about pushing on for a seventh-place finish to qualify for Europe.

Man of the Match: John Fleck – Two great finishes and his midfield running caused Villa problems all game long. He keeps popping up in dangerous spots in the box. A real unsung hero.


A slow start in the Steel City saw the home side have plenty of the ball, with John Fleck and Lys Mousset linking up well.

The Blades dominated the ball as Villa struggled to get going in attack in a tight, tense first half at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield United put in plenty of crosses but Villa dealt comfortably with the wide threat as Kortney Hause blocked one effort well.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Oliver Norwood whipped in a lovely cross at the start of the second half but David McGoldrick got his finish all wrong.

The home side then got the goal their dominance deserved as John Lundstram crossed and Fleck flicked home his third goal in his last four home games, as the Blades scored with their first shot on target.

A rare Villa attack saw Wesley go close as the visitors finally got going late in game, with Jack Grealish heading a chance just wide at the back post.

Hause then caught McGoldrick with a high challenge as he was booked, and moments later Sheffield United doubled their lead. Fleck ran into the box and McGoldrick flicked a brilliant ball over his own head to pick out the Scotsman to slot home his and Sheffield United’s second.

Villa were then awarded a penalty kick after a lengthy VAR check for handball, but Grealish smashed it against the bar to sum up a terrible outing for Villa.

McGoldrick could have finished a few chances late on but it was a deserved win for the Blades as they continue their fine return to the top-flight.

Wolves find equalizer versus Sheffield United

Leave a comment

Wolves and Sheffield United will both feel they’ve wasted chances following a 1-1 draw at the Molineux on Sunday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Matt Doherty equalized for Wolves after Lys Mousset gave the Blades a second minute lead.

Doherty celebrated by removing a black arm band and holding it aloft to acknowledge former teammate Benik Afobe, whose young daughter suddenly died Friday.

Wolves stay sixth, level on points with fifth place Spurs, while the Blades are one point back of both.


Three things we learned

1. Nuno gets it… wrong? Wolves’ steady boss has done well since adjusting to the Europa League grind, but his men looked pretty beat on Sunday after a Thursday return from an emotional 3-3 draw at Braga in Portugal. He made one change, Max Kilman for Romain Saiss in the back, and perhaps that’s the reason Wolves aren’t finding themselves in fifth.

Then again, we suppose you could argue that Wolves used nearly their best XI and needed it to get a point against Chris Wilder‘s pesky Blades. With Wolves having another home match on Wednesday against more potent West Ham, we lean toward the former idea, but there’s a case against it.

2. Raul Jimenez keeps coming: The Mexican striker continued his incredible run of form at the Molineux, taking an pass with his back to goal and working his way free to send an inch-perfect cross to the back post for Doherty to head past Henderson for 1-1. It’s Jimenez’s sixth assist to go with 15 goals in 25 appearances this season.

3. Wasted weekend for Wilder’s men: The newly-promoted Blades should be upset to not have all three points and sole possession of fifth place, which really should have us posting the Paul Rudd “Look at us” meme below. At the Molineux against a road-weary Wolves, the Blades lost their mojo in the second half. It wasn’t as dramatic as the drop-off following a 2-0 lead over Manchester United, but it was still disappointing from one of the league’s best stories.

Man of the Match: Jimenez.


The Blades went ahead through Mousset, who was first to a cross that was poorly-judged by multiple leaping Wolves.

He then won a dangerous free kick off Leander Dendoncker, but a training ground play yielded nothing.

Raul Jimenez got on the end of a Matt Doherty cross in the 13th minute, but Dean Henderson pushed the header over the goal.

Mousset slipped John Fleck on goal with a nutmeg of Dendoncker, but Rui Patricio was there for a good left-footed save.

David McGoldrick had a chance to make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute, but Patricio was again there.