Billy Sharp

Photo by Anthony Devlin/PA Images via Getty Images

Henderson, Sharp help Blades past Norwich City

Leave a comment

Someone old and someone (relatively) new led Sheffield United past Norwich City 1-0 on Saturday at Bramall Lane.

Veteran Billy Sharp scored a first-half goal and young loanee Dean Henderson made key saves as Blades rose sixth with 43 points.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Norwich City couldn’t make it two wins on the bounce, and the Canaries sit six points clear of the drop zone.


Three things we learned

1. Henderson stands tall (even while stooping low): The Manchester United loanee made four saves, all of them inside the box in laying further claim to an England spot. He’s also raising his price tag and perhaps forcing his parent club to consider his future. Look at this late work on Saturday.

2. Canaries a bit better, but missing edge: Norwich came close to a result, even managing five shots on target to the hosts’ four. They took 12 shots to United’s 10 and has 59 percent of the ball, though there will be few moral victories this close to relegation and the end of the season.

3. Sharp edge to the hosts: The Blades’ 34-year-old striker snared another big goal. He only has three this season, but two provided wins after the first was an point-earning marker in United’s first match back in the top flight. He knows his way around the box, with 243 senior goals.

Man of the Match: Henderson


Max Aarons was injured early for the Canaries.

Teemu Pukki smashed a chance off the back post on an early Norwich corner.

Blades had the first two shots on target of the match including Sharp’s goal, the 34-year-old scoring for the third time in four matches across all competitions.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

John Lundstram collected the assist, another strong step in reclaiming his midfield place following the signing of Sander Berge.

Blades defender Chris Basham came closest to making it 2-0 in the second half, and Henderson’s double save was the other flash point of the second frame.

Sheffield United comes back, bounces Bournemouth

Leave a comment

Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Sheffield United got a second-half equalizer from Billy Sharp to sting Bournemouth.

This one came Sunday at Bramall Lane as part of a 2-1 Blades win over the Cherries, some 25 matchdays after his opening day leveller at the Vitality Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

John Lundstram found the winner for the victorious Blades, getting an assist from ex-Cherries outcast Lys Mousset. United climbs into fifth with 39 points, two points behind Chelsea. The Blues have a match-in-hand.

Callum Wilson scored for Bournemouth, who remains two points clear of the drop zone.


Three things we learned

1. Death, taxes, and Billy Sharp equalizing versus Bournemouth: If Blades veteran striker Sharp leaves the side after one year, there’s a distinct possibility he walks away with two Premier League goals. Both would be equalizers against Bournemouth. The two points earned by those may be the difference in Sheffield United’s case for Europe. The four points dropped on their account could send Bournemouth to the Championship.

Sharp has scored two other goals against the Cherries in his career. They came in January and December of 2006 for Scunthorpe United in League One.

2006. Sharp has played against Bournemouth with three separate teams in the Top Three levels of English Football (Leeds United in the Championship, no goals).

2. Lucky charm Lundstram scores in new role: John Lundstram lost his place in the Starting XI when Blades added record signing Sander Berge, but that didn’t stop him from affecting the proceedings. Lundstram came on for Berge in the 61st minute to snap in his fourth league goal, and the Blades are 5-0 when he scores or assists this season.

3. Feisty affair extends off the field: Fourth official Jon Moss had a busy day, first having to okay a pitch soaked by Storm Ciara and then having to break up a clash caused by Storm Wilder. Blades boss Chris was upset by remonstrations after John Egan was whistled for a foul on Dan Gosling, and Cherries veteran Andrew Surman was ready to get in the mix.

[ READ: Wilder reacts to scrum, Top Four effort ]

Man of the Match:  Sharp? United’s four best players on the day were either subs or subbed off: Berge, Lundstram, Sharp, Mousset. Team win.


A scrappy match early, Callum Wilson missed a back-post bid to make it 1-0 in the 11th minute.

Callum Wilson got his goal two minutes later, as Harry Wilson‘s shot was blocked and his surname-sharing striker belted the rebound into the top of the goal.

The Blades’ Billy Sharp couldn’t find an equalizer from a very tight angle in the 15th minute.

One of the most notable moments from the rest of the half was a venomous slide tackle on Harry Wilson by Enda Stevens which earned a yellow card.

Chances were few and far between on a weather-hobbled day, but Blades found their way in stoppage time.

A sequence of control saw Oliver Norwood‘s 45th minute hit turned off Nathan Ake but went wide of the frame and Aaron Ramsdale made a great save on the ensuing corner.

That’s when Sharp did his magic, located at the back post off another corner. He smashed home a pinball in the second minute of stoppage.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

John Egan was whistled for a foul after going boot-to-boot with Dan Gosling, leading to a touchline spat and yellow cards to Andrew Surman and Blades boss Chris Wilder.

Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser earned a 61st-minute corner that Ake snapped just wide of the frame.

Henderson then stopped another Fraser bid, this one a 71st-minute rocket from about 10 yards. That helped set up the moment for Lundstram’s winner off an assist from ex-Bournemouth man Lys Mousset.

Blades hometown hero Sharp: ‘Strikes win you points’

Mark Kerton/PA via AP
Leave a comment

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.

Premier League transfer window grade: Southampton

Leave a comment

Window Shopping: It was a successful transfer window for Saints, because they didn’t lose any of their talented young stars. The likes of Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw were consistently linked with big moves away to the top clubs in England, but Southampton resisted any temptation to cash in on their young English talent as Mauricio Pochettino’s project continues to move forward. There was some unrest during January, as hugely successful Executive Chairman Nicola Cortese abruptly left the club, but not much has changed as owner Katharina Liebherr insisted no players would be sold and that the club would carry as if nothing had happened.

Liebherr has been true to her word, with the only high profile departure being club record signing Dani Osvaldo, who joined Juventus on loon with a view to a permanent deal after allegedly headbutting and punching teammate Jose Fonte in training and being banned by the club. Getting rid of Osvaldo became Saints’ main aim during this window, plus they also held onto talisman Rickie Lambert too.

Players In: None

Players Out: Dani Osvaldo (Juventus, Loan), Lee Barnard (Southend, Loan), Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace, $2.2 million), Billy Sharp (Doncaster, Loan)

RECAP: All the deals on deadline day

Grade: B

As we mentioned, Saints didn’t bring anyone in this January, but why would you need to when you have so many young studs rolling off the production line at their renowned academy? Right now they have academy products Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Callum Chambers, James Ward-Prowse, Harrison Reed and Sam Gallagher regularly involved in the first-team squad and are the envy of clubs across the PL.

Many thought Pochettino would bring in another striker to replace Osvaldo, after his remarkable training ground bust-up which saw him banned, but instead 18-year-old Gallagher was put into the first team and has shown he’s good enough to play in the PL. Keeping onto Lallana, Shaw and Lambert was key for stability at St. Mary’s. Now Saints can kick on in the final few months of the season to try and bag their highest-ever finish in the PL.