BURNLEY 1-1 SHEFFIELD UNITED
- Goals: James Tarkowski (£5.2m) | John Egan (£4.5m)
- Assists: Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m) | Billy Sharp (£5.4m)
- Bonus Points: Tarkowski x3, Egan x2, Josh Brownhill (£4.8m) x1
With 80 minutes gone on Sunday, it looked as though white smoke signalling another Nick Pope clean sheet was set to rise from Sean Dyche’s Vatican City at Turf Moor.
But owners of the £5.0m goalkeeper were denied a third consecutive set of clean sheet points by John Egan (£4.5m), who slotted home a superb half-volley after Billy Sharp (£5.4m) flicked on an excellent Ben Osborn (£4.7m) delivery.
In an unsurprising Fantasy tale of shotstoppers and centre-backs, Egan cancelled out a first-half strike from James Tarkowski (£5.2m) which had wiped out a clean sheet for Dean Henderson (£5.2m) and the Blades’ backline.
The centre-back slotted in a cool finish after Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m) flicked on a well-delivered free kick from Dwight McNeil (£6.1m).
Sheffield United welcomed back a familiar face as Jack O’Connell (£4.6m) made his return from injury as a 55th-minute substitute.
That could potentially spell the end of Jack Robinson (£4.0m) as a budget option for FPL bosses.
Burnley were without Ben Mee (£5.0m) due to a thigh injury, which could potentially rule the defender out for the remainder of the season, while Jack Cork (£4.9m) appears unlikely to feature in the coming Gameweeks. Post-match, Dyche revealed:
Ben has a thigh strain and it is a pretty good one, so I don’t think it will be an easy or quick turnaround.
Corky has a reasonably serious ankle injury which is unfortunate and he is going to need something doing probably. We are waiting to find out. He is going to miss this spell of games and possibly the remaining games.
For both of them, we will have to wait and see. It is not ideal but we have had not ideal since we got back in many different ways. The challenge is to stay competitive, which we aim to do.
With Mee injured, of course, yet another cut-price route into the Burnley backline opens up for Fantasy managers in the form of Kevin Long (£4.3m).
While Dyche appears to have lost a key member of his defence, Chris Wilder now has one of his back. After the draw, the Blades manager said:
Jack Robinson has been great for us but that has caught up with him – [he was] thrust into Premier League action with the schedule and [today] was a tough one.
A couple of boys looked tired but to get Jack O’Connell back was a big bonus. You want all players available, especially those who have played in that formation for the time that Jack has.
He has been one of our main players in the last three years so to have him available and to get him through those 30 minutes was pleasing, it gives us a bit more strength.
It would have been a gamble to play him against Tottenham but we were always looking at half an hour max today. To get another body back fit is good for us.
Just after the game kicked off, Oliver McBurnie (£5.6m) had a decent chance to open the scoring, with his shot from a central area inside the box saved by Pope.
After eight minutes, Erik Pieters (£4.2m) presented Matej Vydra (£5.3m) with a big chance but the Burnley forward put his effort wide after evading the Sheffield United back three as part of quick Clarets break.
The Blades responded immediately as Sander Berge (£4.7m) saw his effort inside the area blocked by a couple of flying Burnley bodies.
The resulting corner saw both a penalty appeal and an Egan shot, neither of which saw a favourable outcome from a Sheffield United point-of-view.
Egan was then inches away from getting on the end of a sumptuous Osborn cross that flew between the centre-back and Pope, who was slightly caught in no man’s land.
Berge was involved again in the 33rd minute, taking up a good position in the Burnley box but heading well over from a George Baldock (£5.0m) cross.
Moments later, Egan got on the end of an Oliver Norwood (£4.7m) corner but the Ireland international was unable to direct his close-range header on target.
McBurnie reached a Robinson delivery ahead of Long soon before the interval but the striker’s flick flew over Pope’s crossbar.
Wilder will have been less pleased with McBurnie’s efforts at the other end of pitch, however. The striker was Tarkowski’s designated marker at the set-piece which saw the centre-back give Burnley a 1-0 lead just before half time.
The second period began much the same as the first, with Sheffield United pushing the action while failing to test Pope in a meaningful manner.
Substitutes O’Connell and Sharp almost had an immediate impact in the 63rd minute, with the defender’s deflected cross just missing the striker’s leap as Pope was again caught flailing at open air.
The introduction of Jack Rodwell (£4.5m) for Chris Basham (£4.6m) saw Wilder make an unfamiliar switch to a back four, with United employing a 4-3-1-2 set-up which almost allowed Burnley a second.
Rodriguez, whose 70th-minute snapshot flew wide, fired a volley from 25 yards after 76 minutes that Henderson could only palm into the path of McNeil.
The winger skewed his opportunity wide as the Blades were let off the hook, just moments before Egan’s equaliser. Dyche reckoned that McNeil’s chance could have sealed the game for his team.
It was a competitive performance. We are stretched at the moment. But you get greedy and we had a couple of chances, particularly Dwight’s. We [also] had a golden chance with Vydra.
[Dwight] looked a little bit tired, it is the first time I have seen him look a little bit tired but he still finds moments. He put a great ball in for the goal.
He found a moment [the second-half chance] when everyone would have thought he would put it away because of the clinical edge that he has got. It drops for him and he catches it a bit off.
Wilder, meanwhile, praised Egan in typical fashion.
I have been critical of John because he gets in some great positions and that should have been his 10th, not his first goal.
But brilliant finish and to get something out of the game in the manner that we did was good. We tried to drive the game forward and I felt there was something in it for us.
Burnley XI: Pope; Taylor, Tarkowski, Long, Bardsley; Pieters (Gudmundsson 95′), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Rodriguez, Vydra (Wood 68′).
Sheffield United XI: Henderson; Robinson (O’Connell 54′), Egan, Basham (Rodwell 75′); Stevens, Osborn, Norwood (Sharp 54′), Berge, Baldock; McBurnie (Mousset 70′), McGoldrick.
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 33+
- Norwich City 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Leicester City 3-0 Crystal Palace
- Manchester United 5-2 Bournemouth
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Arsenal
- Chelsea 3-0 Watford
- Burnley 1-1 Sheffield United
- Newcastle United 2-2 West Ham United
- Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
- Southampton 1-0 Manchester City
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton
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