Oliver Norwood

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

Wasteful Sheffield United splits points with Brighton

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Sheffield United failed to find the finishing touch more than once in a 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

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Enda Stevens gave the Blades a lead with a delightful goal, but Neal Maupay quickly answered for the visitors.

Sheffield United improves to 40 points, behind fifth-place Spurs on goal differential.

Brighton’s 10th draw of the season pulls it four points clear of the bottom three.

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Three things we learned

1. Blades fail to take advantage of Spurs stumble: If Chris Wilder‘s men fail to qualify for Europa, let alone the Champions League, they will point to results like this one. The hosts had all of the ball and gave up just one big chance, but switched off on one set piece and only collected a single point.

2. Misfiring forwards don’t help the cause: While Blades did have plenty of possession, they managed a single shot on target between starting forward Oli McBurnie and Billy Sharp, as well as substitute David McGoldrick.

3. Norwood impresses in the center: Well-traveled Oliver Norwood sprayed the ball all over the pitch on Saturday. Norwood had 100 touches for the hosts while completing seven of 14 crosses and 12 of 18 long balls. Despite all the big launches, he passed at 88 percent in the center of the park.


The Blades opened the scoring in the 26th minute as Stevens smashed a clinical shot home after a clever short corner routine.

Brighton answered when Lewis Dunk flicked a free kick onto the path of Maupay for 1-1.

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Stevens would only last to halftime thanks to injury.

Mat Ryan and his defenders needed to come up big several times in the second half, including an 88th-minute scramble in the heart of his box.,

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.

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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.

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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.

Watford, Sheffield United wallow in scoreless draw

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A forgettable draw at Vicarage Road saw Watford and Sheffield United each take a point.

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The visitors move 12th with nine points, while last-place Watford remains winless after eight matches and has three points.


Three things we learned

1. Chances untaken by Hornets…: When your club is playing poorly, even the good things go sour. Roberto Pereyra was a spark plug, and should’ve had Watford up 1-0 inside of 10 minutes when he swept a cross around Tom Heaton and onto the path of Andre Gray. Gray might’ve been proven offside by VAR but it didn’t get that far as the former Burnley man slapped his shot over the bar.

2. …Or anyone for that matter: Between goalkeepers Ben Foster and Dean Henderson, there was a total of five saves. Watford was credited with the only big chances created in the match (three)

3. Norwood the star man: Look to the captain. If anything was going to happen, it seemed like the Blades skipper was going to be the man who got it done. Our Man of the Match, Norwood had 115 touches and completed 88 percent of his passes in the middle of the park. A lackluster Man of the Match? Sure, but it was a lackluster game.


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There were chances for both teams in the early stages — see Point No. 1 above — and Watford was unable to take care of some disorganization from the Blades at the back.

But Sheffield United’s pursuit of a goal seemed more likely to produce something, creative rather than relying on errors from the Hornets.