Sheffield United won their first home game in the Premier League for 12 years thanks to a goal from John Lundstram. The Blades held their own against Crystal Palace in the first half and were rewarded for their endeavour just after half-time when Lundstram finished after a poor piece of goalkeeping from Vicente Guaita.
John Lundstram Scores Only Goal for Sheffield United Against Crystal Palace
Much had been made of Sheffield United’s overlapping centre-backs in the weeks building up to last week’s draw at Bournemouth and the game today. Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell were at it again today, getting forward at every opportunity and causing overloads that troubled the Crystal Palace defence though.
As has rightly been pointed out though, this can leave the Blades short at the back. With George Baldock and Enda Stevens committed forward too, the race was often on for Palace to get forward. They did that plenty of times, but their lack of a clinical finisher was the problem once again. Wilfried Zaha was effectively marked out of the game and Christian Benteke‘s terrible record in front of goal was clear to see.
Lundstram Opens the Scoring
After holding their own in the first half, it took just two minutes of the second to break the deadlock. Though it came as a result of their famous centre-back movement, there was still an element of fortune in the final touches. Luke Freeman, making his debut as a substitute for the injured John Fleck, sent a low ball into the box after receiving the ball from O’Connell. His cross, though, was only palmed by Guaita into Lundstram’s path, and he finished first-time to send Bramall Lane into delirium.
It was a well-deserved lead for Chirs Wilder’s side, who had really taken the game to Crystal Palace. On this evidence, and that of last week, they could cause plenty of teams problems in this division, particularly those of a similar ilk to Palace.
Forward Problems Shown Again
The attacking intent from Crystal Palace was there, but the lack of a clinical finisher is still the biggest hindrance to Roy Hodgson’s team. Wilfried Zaha was quiet, and that’s something Sheffield United will have aimed to do. He was constantly frustrated by the excellent George Baldock, while Christian Benteke continued to accelerate his decline as a Premier League-quality striker.
The introduction of Connor Wickham in place of James McArthur aimed to give added impetus to the Palace attack, but he is another of the Palace attackers to be having a tough time in front of goal. He did little to reverse their fortunes today and there’s every worry that the same could be the problem in future games, and until Palace fork out for a proven goalscorer.