George Baldock

Sheffield United
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Ranking every Sheffield United player

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How to grade the players who’ve combined in a rather even manner to produce the (probably) second-best Premier League story of the decade?

You just… do.

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Below we give each Sheffield United player a grade, ranking and grouping them together based on their seasons so far.

If a Blades player is listed in this ranking it is because they’ve played in more than five games in all competitions.


A-GRADE

Chris Basham: An absolute monster, averaging 2.2 tackles, 2.2 interceptions, and 4.5 clearances while playing all but 80 minutes of the league campaign. To do so after waiting nearly nine years between top-flight opportunities is all the more impressive. There are not a lot of center backs with four Man of the Match honors on their resumes.

John Fleck: Five goals, two assists, 80 percent passing with grit to fill a vacuum on the weakest side (let alone one as hearty as the Blades).

Oliver Norwood: Averaging an absurd 6.5 completed long balls per game (1.6 crosses). To have that ambition with the ball while still completing 81.1 percent of all passes is *chef’s kiss.*

Enda Stevens

John Fleck (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

B-GRADE

Dean Henderson: One of the stories of the summer will be how Manchester United views the homegrown loanee, especially considering how David De Gea has slipped a bit. For the most part, he’s been excellent.

George Baldock: One of two every-minute men (Jack O’Connell), Baldock delivers the goods in all thirds of the pitch.

John Lundstram
Jack O’Connell
John Egan


C-GRADE

David McGoldrick: The unluckiest player in the Premier League, he’s produced plenty of chances but hasn’t been able to finish them off. That’s keeping him from a B, or even higher. Problems of being a forward.

Billy Sharp: Getting a boost out of sentimentality, as his three goals and status as a club hero give anyone with a pulse a good feeling. Those goals coming in big spots tease a better grade.

Lys Mousset: The team’s leader in both goals and assists but offers almost zero in any other area of the pitch. Is that harsh? Blades fans might argue with the C.

Luke Freeman
Oliver McBurnie

Lys Mousset (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

D-GRADE

Callum Robinson
Ben Osborn
Muhamed Besic


INCOMPLETE

Leon Clarke, Ravel Morrison, Simon Moore, Phil Jagielka, Sander Berge

Foster, Watford take point off hosts Sheffield United

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Watford is out of the basement following a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Gerard Deulofeu scored for the Hornets, who are six points back of safety but one better than 20th place Norwich City.

Oliver Norwood converted a penalty for the hosts, as Chris Wilder‘s men sit sixth with 29 points.


Three things we learned

1. Blades unrewarded: Sheffield United’s calling card this year has been hard work and defensive organization, but the Blades could not find a winner against Watford despite 57 percent of the ball and a 16-5 edge in shot attempts. Blades even won the tackle battle, snapping off 18 to Watford’s eight, but only a point came to Bramall Lane.

2. Deulofeu will be key to Hornets hopes… The Spaniard wasn’t particularly good, but Deulofeu remains one of the few Watford players capable of making a moment count for something big.

3. As will Ben Foster: American actor Ben Foster has starred in a few superhero movies, so it’s fitting that his Premier League namesake has been unreal in trying to keep the Hornets in the top flight. Speaking of flight, he was airborne for a number of big saves. All three came inside the box, including this phenomenal defiance of Lys Mousset.

Man of the Match: Foster.


Nigel Pearson‘s Hornets are showing fight, but more importantly finding the back of the goal.

Watford scored on one of its first proper chances, a Ben Foster goal kick flicked to Deulofeu by Chalobah. The Spaniard made the most of his opportunity for a 26th minute lead.

The advantage lasted 11 minutes, as George Baldock won a penalty off Will Hughes and VAR said the call was good. Norwood dispatched the penalty for 1-1.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Lys Mousset came off the bench and forced another fine save out of Foster, one which had to have Chris Wilder wondering if his Blades could find a winner.

Scrappy Sheffield United comes back to win again

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George Baldock had a goal and an assist as Sheffield United came back to beat poor Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Enda Stevens also scored for the Blades, who got back in the win column after a loss to Newcastle at midweek. United is eighth, the top of three teams on 22 points.

Alex Tettey scored Norwich’s lone goal, the Canaries locked in 19th and four points back of safety.


Three things we learned

1. Baldock’s banner day: The Blades dangerous right back loves to whip in a cross, and it’s no surprise he got his assist that way. He’s been quite lively around the box this year, and his turn and fire to make it 2-1 was a fitting finish given the 26-year-old’s day.

2. Basham gets VAR reprieve: Sometimes it’s not black and white, and you go to VAR, and VAR decides the shades of gray. Chris Basham was sent off for a vicious tackle on Kenny McLean, but the Sheffield United man saw VAR decide it wasn’t quite so dastardly and Blades continued with 10 men. A tough one if you’re a Norwich supporter.

3. Buendia stays bright: Norwich playmaker Emiliano Buendia is keeping the Canaries in games, the proverbial don’t write it, don’t write it, don’t write it canary in a coal mine. Five more key passes for Buendia to accompany more fine dribbling and a surprisingly good battle for a player as skillful as the 22-year-old Argentine.

Man of the Match: Baldock.


The Canaries went in front through Tettey inside a half-hour of kickoff, a corner dealt with poorly from the Blades that the Norwegian struck well for 1-0.

Norwich was good money for its halftime lead, with an 8-4 edge in shots, 53 percent of the ball, and six corners to the Blades’ zero.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Blades leveled things through Stevens, who headed in a Baldock cross before the assister became the scorer. The goal was no small ask, Baldock navigating the 18 to get off his shot.

Blades earn point at poor Spurs

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Sheffield United overcame one VAR incident to grab a point from Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

George Baldock scored in the second half after snake-bit David McGoldrick had a goal pulled back for a toenail’s worth of offside. Fine margins.

Spurs were again quite poor aside from Heung-Min Son and some moments from Giovani Lo Celso. Son scored the goal.

Sheffield United remains sixth with 16 points, while Spurs also claim a 16th point but sit below their visitors on goal differential.


Three things we learned

1. VAR follows rules to perplex: Lundstram was offside by a toenail in the build-up, pulling back David McGoldrick’s goal that would’ve leveled the score at 1 (which of course it later was). The decision-making process slowed the game for several minutes, those thin lines calling back a goal that no team’s fans would feel was understandable. When is the moment the ball is struck, and how can you be certain enough to call it offside for centimeters.

2. Son continues to shine: Not only are puns really fun, but where would Spurs be this season without their South Korean star? Son scored a deserved goal and took six shots on the day, making three successful dribbles, and completing 21 of 23 passes.

3. Kane invisible: Maybe England’s star striker is still getting over the sickness that cost him a start against Everton, but Harry Kane was quite poor against the Blades’ disciplined back line. Good for just one shot and six of 12 passing. On a day when the two attackers underneath him were quite good, Kane was absent.

Man of the Match: McGoldrick — Should’ve had his first Premier League goal but will settle for the assist, we suppose. His day must be coming.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Giovani Lo Celso and Heung-min Son both came close for Spurs in a lively start, though cagey Sheffield United wasn’t overwhelmed by the venue either.

John Lundstram scuffed a 27th minute chance wide of the frame. Soon after, he smashed a Jack O'Connell cross off the post.

Son curled wide in the 50th minute as both sides started their second frames well, and in-form Lys Mousset turned Davinson Sanchez around before firing wide of the far post.

Dean Henderson made a fine save on Son in the 54th, but was left in a bad situation when abhorrent inactivity from the left side of his line gave the South Korean a clear cut chance. Given the day he was having, a goal felt inevitable.

But Blades had the ball in the net for an equalizer soon after, McGoldrick knifing home. A long VAR review followed for an offside in the build-up, and the slimmest of margins made it “clear and obvious” to… someone… that Lundstram was offside.

Baldock’s goal also had to withstand VAR review — don’t they all — when his shot took a slight turn off Ben Davies‘ rear end to beat Paulo Gazzaniga.

Mousset the super sub as Blades draw West Ham

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A festival of wasted chances mean both West Ham United and Sheffield United will rue their days in a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Irons veteran Robert Snodgrass saw his first half goal canceled out by substitute Lys Mousset.

West Ham moves ninth with 13 points, two places below the Blades on account of goal difference.


Three things we learned

1. Ink healthy Yarmolenko’s name on lineup card: We’ve written before of how good it’s been to see the former Dynamo Kiev and Borussia Dortmund playmaker thrive, but Andriy Yarmolenko looks as good as ever and needs to be an automatic starter for Manuel Pellegrini. His vision and touch to set up Snodgrass and Anderson was immaculate.

2. Mercurial Mousset the hero again: Le Havre Academy product Lys Mousset has had trouble delivering on his bags of talent during stints with both Bournemouth and Sheffield United, but came off the bench to continue a purple patch. Having scored the lone goal in beating Arsenal on Monday, he was back post to bound a shot across Roberto and into the goal for 1-1 with about 20 minutes to play.

It’s his third goal in eight PL matches for the Blades, the same number he scored in 58 PL apps for Bournemouth.

3. Wasteful from both in deserved draw: Between George Baldock‘s pair of miscues in the final third for Blades and Snodgrass’ missed back post finish late, this one could’ve seen either side score three or more goals on the day. The managers will have more shooting drills cued up this week.

Man of the Match: Yarmolenko, with a fair nod to industrious Declan Rice of West Ham and strong Sheffield United center back Chris Basham


 [ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Sheffield United had a few chances and were the better money for a halftime lead, but the Blades were off the mark with finishing and the Irons also clogged shooting lanes fairly well.

The assist on West Ham’s opening marker was a thing of beauty, Yarmolenko well aware of Snodgrass and the space all around.

The Blades should’ve been level when George Baldock found himself in acres of back post space, but he took a touch and then his time before striking a hard shot that Irons keeper Roberto blocked and a teammate kept off the line.

Felipe Anderson came close to making it 2-0 in the 57th, but Dean Henderson did well to stop the Brazilian’s shot which was again set up by Yarmolenko.

Baldock missed another back post effort in the 62nd minute, covering his face with his hands at the bad Fortune.

Fortunately for him, Mousset arrived in the final 20 minutes to bound a back post effort past Roberto for a share of the points.