The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW32): Sheffield United 3-1 Spurs
The race for Champions League football is the main theme of this match. To both teams this is a must-win match to catch up with the European pack. Spurs keep a relatively unchanged line-up, whereas injuries have taken away a host of the Blades team.
The match opened with a scrappy affair with no real chances on goal, there was a corner that saw Dier head to the back post but Sissoko was unable to connect properly to the relief of the home team. The first real breakthrough was in the 31st minute when a quick foray of passes on the Blades right-hand channel saw Basham cross in the ball for Berg who peeled off from the defenders. A hard, low shot to the keepers far corner gave the Blades the opener, and their first goal since the restart.
The score was levelled momentarily when Harry Kane found space in the box, courtesy of the ball deflecting off a sliding Lucas Moura who had plummeted to the ground after being fouled. Dean Henderson made a poor attempt at the save, and his blushes were spared when VAR intervened to rule out the goal. The ball was kicked into his arm as Moura went down, and despite it being an incredibly harsh call as Moura couldn’t helped being fouled to the floor, it was adjudged to have broken the handball rule.
Ben Osborn found space, who found Enda Stevens, who plays a simple cut-back pass to Lys Mousset was hanging in between the defenders. This was an identical goal from the first half, just from the other channel. Spurs were ball watching, with their full-backs unable to make a challenge. The defending was poor as Mousset had an open goal, and nobody got close to the Frenchman.
Lightning struck twice already in this game, and it just struck for the third time this game. The exact same goal scored three times. Berge brought the goal to edge of the box, and cut-back to McBurnie who tapped it in. Spurs defenders once again sitting and watching the ball passed into their net. Jose Mourinho watched as his team didn’t learn their lesson. Sheffield United had deserved the three-goal lead as they struggled to force the issue in the game. Mourinho will be reviewing the tape and sighing over the naivety of Spurs’ performance.
Spurs did have a measure of redemption in the game when Son connected with a diagonal ball, flashing it across the goal for Harry Kane who tapped in past a helpless Dean Henderson. This was the first time that Spurs had hastened their play to catch out the Blades defence.
This was a game that pitted two teams that wanted European football next season. The team who got to the Champions League final last season were the ones who looked un-equipped to rise to the challenge, whereas the team that was promoted this season were outstanding to keep Spurs quiet for most of the game.
Man of the Match: Sander Berge (SHU)
There were so many players you could have picked to be man of the match in this this fixture as it was a team performance from the Blades. Chris Wilder will only bemoan the defences inability to wake up to Son’s cross for Kane’s goal. Because everyone was top quality for Sheffield United, the player that made the real difference was Sander Berge who they recruited last summer.
The Norwegian midfielder provided the opening goal, and the assist for McBurnie’s goal. He was also fantastic in retaining the midfield shape and outfought the Spurs midfield with Norwood and Osborn. He was brought in to provide a driving force in midfield, and it was Berge’s best performance in a Blades shirt this season as he showed why there was such a hype around his arrival.
SHU 3-1 TOT - Insight and Analysis:
Spurs have really struggled with the restart, as did Sheffield United before the fixture. The defensive pair of Dier and Sanchez is to be questioned after this game, especially when you have Alderwiereld and Vertonghen bench warming. Mourinho was desperate in his tenure at Manchester United to get Alderwiereld for his team, and now he has him, he seems to not rate him.
The three goals scored by the Blades were identical, and extremely worrying for Spurs because other teams will look at that horrid defending with a smile on their faces. I can’t believe Spurs were in a Champions League final last season, and the loss has really knocked the wind out of their sails.
Mourinho’s arrival hasn’t exactly rejuvenated an extremely talented group of players. Son has been wasted on the left; he is much better playing off Kane in a central role. Kane is suffering because of it too as he finds more space when Son is running at defenders. Spurs need to reinstate Vertonghen to their defence, and Mourinho needs to bury the hatchet with Ndombele as the midfield was lacklustre, and I like the look of Lo Celso, but the three midfielders of Sheffield United made him and Sissoko redundant as the point of two DM’s is to provide a shield. Mourinho needs to reassess before their next game or it may be a drab end of the season for Spurs who could miss out on Europe altogether.
Venue: Bramall Lane
Manager: Chris Wilder
GK: Dean Henderson
LWB: Enda Stevens
CB: Callum Robinson
CB: John Egan
CB: Chris Basham
RWB: George Baldock
CDM: Oliver Norwood
CM: Sander Berge
CM: Ben Osborn
ST: Oliver McBurnie (Freeman 90+1')
ST: David McGoldrick (Mousset 63')
Jagielka, Zivkovic, Mousset, Moore, Freeman, Jack Rodwell, Billy Sharp
Manager: Jose Mourinho
GK: Hugo Lloris
LB: Ben Davies (Vertonghen 81’)
CB: Eric Dier
CB: Davinson Sanchez
RB: Serge Aurier (Ndombele 71')
CDM: Moussa Sissoko (Alli 71')
CDM: Giovanni Lo Celso
LM: Hueng-Min Son
CAM: Steven Bergwijn (Lamela 56')
RM: Lucas Moura
ST: Harry Kane
Gazzaniga, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Harry Winks, Skipp, Gedson Fernandes, Ndombele, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela
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