John Egan

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Super sub Aguero saves Man City at Sheffield United

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Chris Wilder almost orchestrated another beautiful point Sheffield United, only to see Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero combine to produce a 1-0 win for Manchester City at Bramall Lane on Tuesday.

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City moves 13 points back of Liverpool, who have two matches-in-hand, while the host Blades are seventh with 33 points.

Man City out-attempted the Blades by an 18-4 margin, produced three big chances to United’s one.


Three things we learned

1. Aguero rescues win and improves Golden Boot credentials: The Argentine might turn 32 in June, but is showing no signs of slowing down. Sure his run and back post tap-in weren’t the most scintillating of his goals, but he’s onto 16 league goals. That’s one shy of Jamie Vardy‘s league lead, and right now you’d bet on him to snare a second Premier League Golden Boot.

2. Henderson aided by VAR: Gabriel Jesus‘ penalty was abject, but it certainly helped Dean Henderson that he was off his line early in the run-up to save. Video Assistant Referee somehow missed the offense, or there’s an explanation beyond our understanding. Pep Guardiola sure is livid.

3. De Bruyne continues record pursuit: Man City’s playmaker assisted Aguero’s goal was a terrific cross to give him 15 league assists this season. He needs six in the final 14 league outings of the season to break Thierry Henry’s Premier League record of 20.

Man of the Match: We’ll give it to Aymeric Laporte, whose fifth appearance of the league season was his first since Aug. 31. The long injury absence stung City deeply; With Laporte on the pitch, City improves to 4W-1D with three clean sheets.


Fernandinho cut out an early Blades challenge, and the next notable moment came as Muhamed Besic bladed the newly-returned Aymeric Laporte to only a yellow card.

Raheem Sterling stole a ball off Chris Basham and led a charge that led to a fine Dean Henderson save in the 20th.

Riyad Mahrez won a straight-forward penalty when Basham chopped him down in the 35th minute, Henderson bailing him out with a save on Gabriel Jesus’ tepid attempt.

Henderson was off his line, but VAR did not have a look.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Jesus nodded a shot to Henderson in the 62nd, the Blades’ Lys Mousset then nearly backheeling an opener on the ensuing bit of possession.

Aguero was given a rest to start the game, but Guardiola plugged him into the match and got an equalizer when John Egan couldn’t reach a terrific De Bruyne cross.

Premier League Preview: Sheffield United v. West Ham United

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The Premier League gets back in business on Friday at Bramall Lane when Sheffield United hosts West Ham United (Watch Live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Their table fortunes are indicative of the Premier League’s lack of clear tiers so far this season.

Blades are two points off fifth and seven back of the Top Four, while West Ham is two points off the drop zone and a win off 11th.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

West Ham cruised past Bournemouth in opening David Moyes‘ second tenure with the Irons, while the Blades are coming off back-to-back losses and are winless in three.

The sides met Oct. 26 in London, with Lys Mousset‘s goal leveling the line after Robert Snodgrass put West Ham up at home.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE


Injuries/suspensions

Sheffield United: OUT —  None. QUESTIONABLE — Michael Verrips, Simon Moore.

West Ham United: OUT — Michail Antonio, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, Mark Noble, Jack Wilshere. QUESTIONABLE — Aaron Cresswell, Mark Noble.


Probable lineups

Sheffield United: Henderson; Egan, Basham, O’Connell, Stevens, Norwood, Fleck, Besic, Baldock, Mousset, McGoldrick.

West Ham United: Fabianski, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Fredericks, Rice, Noble, Fornals, Anderson, Snodgrass, Haller.


What they’re saying

Blades defender John Egan on rebounding from tough losses: “They were really tough trips to (Man) City and Liverpool. They’re probably the two best teams in the country, so going away to them was always going to be tough. The Man City game, we were quite unlucky not to get a result. … The Liverpool game was a bit of an eye-opener for us. We weren’t at our best, which we have to be to try and get a result. We came away from those two games, saw where we went wrong and we have to learn from it. All we can do is try and get better so next time we play these teams we have a better chance of getting a result.”

West Ham boss Moyes on transfer links: “I think West Ham have been linked with just about every player in the country and I’m here a week and a half, so it’s interesting, but I think that’s the norm for here. Quite often we are linked with a lot of players. We won’t be bringing in a bundle of players in, but obviously we’d like to add to the squad if we can. Gedson Fernandes is one name we’re talking about. He’s a young player with potential, probably more for the future. From that point of view, I’d like to bring young players in for the future, players we can look to build to get a strong, young team, but I also have to be wary that I need players who are ready for now and can feature in the first team as well.”


Prediction

The Blades are a handful, but West Ham’s new lease on life also feels pretty real. How about another split of the spoils and 1-1 at Bramall Lane?

Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Sheffield United

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Chelsea’s attack will have to beat one of the top young goalkeepers in the game when the Blues visit Dean Henderson and Sheffield United at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Henderson, 21, is on loan from Manchester United and has been a force for the Blades dating back to last season, sealing a second loan stint due to David De Gea‘s star status at Old Trafford.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder thinks Henderson has the goods to be the future No. 1 for England, and says there’s a comparison to be made between Henderson and two fellow stars of last season’s Championship who will be on the field for Chelsea on Saturday. From the Yorkshire Post:

“Two of their outstanding young players had experience of the Championship last year. In that play-off final game, one went up in Tammy Abraham – who was really good for Villa and had a fantastic season – and Mason Mount. From a team point of view the result was disappointing for Frank (Lampard) and Mason, but he had an outstanding season and was definitely the standout player in the Championship for me.”

It’s interesting to note that all three players were loanees from big clubs, the cyclical effect of Premier League power blooding their prospects for promotional hopefuls.

Chelsea will need Christian Pulisic, Willian, and Mount to deliver the goods from the wing position, with Pedro out. They’ll have to be better helpers in defense, too, with N’Golo Kante injured and set to be absent for upcoming French duty as well.

The Blues have yet to really deliver this season. Aside from a decent performance in the UEFA Super Cup, Chelsea lost 4-0 to Manchester United before drawing Leicester and just outlasting newly-promoted Norwich City.

It’s a step up in class for Sheffield United, though, as Wilder’s men have drawn Bournemouth, beaten Crystal Palace, and lost to Leicester City.


Injuries/suspensions

Chelsea — OUT: N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Pedro

Sheffield United — OUT: None.


What they’re saying

Chelsea’s Lampard on England call-ups: “We are delighted for Mason [Mount] and Ross [Barkley], and hopefully it is a matter of time for Tammy [Abraham]. It is only the start for Mason but I’m fully confident that he will keep his feet on the ground and keep working hard.”

Sheffield United defender John Egan on Henderson“If you look at the England goalkeepers, Deano is right up there. It’s not a case of ‘if’, for me it’s a case of ‘when’ for Deano. He’s got a really bright future ahead of him and, so long as he keeps his head down and keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll get there.”


Projected lineups

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Emerson, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Barkley, Kovacic; Mount, Abraham, Pulisic.

Sheffield United: Henderson; Eagen, Basham, O’Connell; Sheffield, Norwood, Freeman, Lundstram, Baldock; McBurnie, McGoldrick.


Prediction: This is a big, big ask for the Blades, who come down to earth a bit when the Blues post a 3-0 behind Christian Pulisic’s first PL goal.