Sheffield United ensured their first home match since returning to the top flight went in style with a deserved 1-0 win over a lacklustre Crystal Palace side on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides were struggling to test the opposition goalkeeper for the majority of the opening 45 minutes, but
It took until the 42nd minute for the home side to fashion an effort on target though, as
Key Talking Point
Much has been made of Sheffield's style of play, opting to use their right and left-sided centre backs almost as full-backs, who in turn support the wing-backs. Different? Yes. Effective? Time will tell.
The Blades edged the first half despite failing to carve open the Palace backline, but their unwavering commitment to a style of play paid dividends less than two minutes into the second half as
Starting XI: Henderson (6); Basham (7), Egan (7), O'Connell (7); Baldock (7*), Lundstram (7), Norwood (7), Fleck (5), Stevens (7); McGoldrick (6), Robinson (6)
Substitutes: Freeman (7), McBurnie (6), Jagielka (N/A)
Chris Wilder's 3-5-2 system means his wing-backs are encouraged to almost operate as wingers throughout the course of the 90 minutes. This allows George Baldock and Enda Stevens to constantly overlap and whip in dangerous crosses, although it was the former who caused Palace the most issues on Sunday afternoon.
He looked the most dangerous outlet for the Blades in the match as the home side pressed and probed against their south London opponents.
Brilliant display from George Baldock in the first half — Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) August 18, 2019
Big second half to come pic.twitter.com/2DTwBfC5at
George baldock the boy— liam (@LiamMKD) August 18, 2019
Key Talking Point
With an almost identical squad from last season, barring a couple of additions who have yet to make their mark on the side, it will be case of trying to rejuvenate the same set of players for the 2019/20 campaign.
It hasn't worked thus far, with the Eagles lucky to walk away from Selhurst Park last week with a point and the side looking exceedingly flat for the first half of Sunday's encounter. Wilfried Zaha looked the most lively, but even he struggled to create anything of note in a less than inspired opening 45 minutes.
A rousing half-time dressing down from Hodgson clearly didn't materialise, and their inability to test a newly-promoted Sheffield side will give Eagles fans plenty to worry about ahead of what looks set to be another tough season in the Premier League.
Starting XI: Guaita (6); Ward (5), Kelly (6*), Dann (5), Van Aanholt (5); Townsend (5), McArthur (5), Milivojevic (5), Meyer (4); Zaha (5), Benteke (4)
Substitutes: Schlupp (5), McCarthy (5), Wickham (5)
Nobody shone for Palace on a day where their lack summer activity made for painful viewing. Rarely threatening going forward and being unable to string more than five passes together, it leaves Martin Kelly to get the nod for doing an OK job in central defence, despite naturally being a right-back.
It's back at Bramall Lane next weekend for Sheffield United, who host Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City on Saturday afternoon.
Palace don't have similar pleasantries as they travel to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon for the daunting task of facing Manchester United.
Source : 90min