SHEFFIELD UNITED 0-1 LEEDS UNITED
- Goals: Patrick Bamford (£5.7m)
- Assists: Jack Harrison (£5.5m)
- Bonus: Illan Meslier (£4.5m) x3, Bamford x2, Harrison x1, Luke Ayling (£4.5m) x1
The Patrick Bamford (£5.7m) bandwagon is set to continue rolling after the Leeds forward’s late headed goal saw the Whites triumph in Sunday’s Yorkshire derby.
In a pre-planned link-up the striker nodded home a Jack Harrison (£5.5m) cross, having put two headed efforts wide in the opening half.
“This one came off my nose but I’ll take it! I was a bit disappointed I didn’t score a header in the first half.
“Before the game I said to Jack, I’m going between the middle centre-back and the far one so put the ball there. First half he did it, I didn’t score.
“Second half he did it, I got the goal. Fair play to him for putting it on the money.” – Patrick Bamford
Having highlighted Leeds’ lack of creativity in the opening two Gameweeks, Marcelo Bielsa was happier with his side’s build-up play at Bramall Lane:
It was a just result. The first half was pretty even, we could have scored and conceded. Second half was a lot better for us.
We managed to attack well, we had six or seven opportunities. In that sense, the offensive animation was better.
While Leeds have scored eight times on the way to earning six Premier League points, Sheffield United have neither a point nor a goal to their name with three Gameweeks gone.
The Blades face trips to Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, along with a visit from Manchester City, in the next five Gameweeks.
“We’ll be glad to see the back of September. Fresh start in October at Arsenal away. I can’t fault a lot of the things the players have done this afternoon. It was a really tight game.
“I’ve been told you gave the man-of-the-match award to the Leeds United goalkeeper; we’ve got to take our chances in the Premier League. That’s the top and bottom of it.” – Chris Wilder
As Wilder alludes to, this game was almost a tale of two goalkeepers before Bamford’s late winner.
Aaron Ramsdale (£5.0m) – who was well on his way to a monster haul before conceding – racked up seven saves from a combination of good stops, poor finishing and long-range efforts.
While Illan Meslier (£4.5m) made three fewer saves, the Leeds keeper’s stops were arguably more impressive.
All the same, John Lundstram (£5.4m) will himself feel he should have rattled the net just shy of the half-hour mark.
The midfielder was afforded a big chance just before the half-hour mark, as Ben Osborn (£4.9m) broke to find David McGoldrick (£5.4m) in the box.
The striker’s flick arrived at Lundstram’s feet from six yards out but the midfielder was unable to convert as Meslier managed to push the close-range effort around the post.
The 20-year-old then somehow managed to get a rangy left hand to George Baldock‘s (£5.5m) stinger, produced after the wing-back had rolled Harrison to make shooting space in the area on 37 minutes.
Bamford had signalled his intent in the opening period, heading over twice from a Kalvin Phillips (£5.0m) free-kick and a Harrison cross.
Stuart Dallas (£4.5m), who saw a looping effort tipped over by Ramsdale in the first half, was almost on the scoresheet in the second period.
Ramsdale had Chris Basham (£5.0m) to thank for clearing a Dallas effort just before it went over the line.
The Leeds full-back had rounded the stranded stopper after a mistake from Ethan Ampadu (£4.5m) allowed the ball to run through.
A surging run from Dallas then saw subsitute Rodrigo (£5.9m) head wide, before Bamford just failed to connect with a whipped ball from Harrison with 20 minutes remaining.
The Blades almost took the lead from a late corner as Jack Robinson (£4.4m) skewed wide with his weaker right foot from point-blank range after Oli McBurnie (£5.9m) just about failed to get his head on the delivery.
Bamford then stole the show and all three points for Marcelo Bielsa’s men, with the striker earning praise from his manager post-match.
Asked about suggestions that the budget FPL forward might struggle at the top level, Bielsa responded:
There are a lot of people who thought contrary to what you say.
The league season is very long. Hopefully he can continue to show his obvious qualities.
The enigmatic Leeds boss was also pleased with his side’s first clean sheet in the league:
It is an achievement we were looking for, to not concede. I think we defended well, with few errors.
Having said that, our rivals did have opportunities. We grew.
On taking off Rodrigo, who had been brought on for the second half, Bielsa explained:
A few minutes were left, I had to substitute Bamford or Rodrigo. Bamford is a very useful player on set pieces against.
But it wasn’t a good decision because Bamford was tired. I should have kept Rodrigo on the field.
Wilder, for his part, is fretful over the Blades’ lack of sharpness in front of goal.
They found a bit of quality at the end. But I think it’s a foul on Sander Berge [in the build-up to the goal] yet again. I think there’s a couple of things that haven’t gone for us the last two or three games, from a decision point of view.
I’ve just seen Marcelo is going to walk right across me right now…no, he’s not, he’s swerved me because he might be on the receiving end of a tackle if he did!
We have to be more clinical. The best chances fell to us. From John Lundstram, George Baldock, Oli McBurnie, Jack Robinson. Four or five really good chances.
The first goal is so important in the Premier League, as we all know. I thought the shape of the team was good. We know how Leeds play, we understand how they play. High energy, high tempo. It was a really quick game.
When it opens up you have to take your chances; we haven’t. We ultimately get punished by a fantastic ball and a great header.
When you look at our goals or when we do create chances, they’re well worked. We haven’t got the players in the group to do something out of the ordinary. We have to really work hard to create our chances, which we did in the game.
After three consecutive defeats, Wilder is “hopeful” more signings will arrive before the transfer deadline:
The longer it [the losing run] goes on, it becomes more concerning. There’s still plenty of belief and fight in us.
Despite being taken off after 73 minutes, FPL midfielder Oliver Burke (£4.5m) put in a decent audition for FPL bosses seeking bench fodder.
The ex-West Brom winger had two shots, one inside the box, while creating three opportunities for his team-mates.
Defender Robinson might be one for the watchlist, with the left-footed centre-back possibly set for an extended run in Wilder’s defence due to Jack O’Connell‘s (£5.0m) knee injury:
“Things are not going for us at the moment. Obvious disappointment with Jack’s injury. Massive disappoint for the boy, he’s worked extremely hard to get to where he has and he’s been pivotal to our rise.
“He’s going for an operation on Wednesday, so minimum six months.” – Chris Wilder
Sheffield United XI (3-5-2): Ramsdale; Robinson, Ampadu, Basham; Stevens, Osborn, Berge, Lundstram (Norwood 63′), Baldock; McGoldrick (McBurnie 73′), Burke (Sharp 73′).
Leeds United XI (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Dallas, Cooper, Koch, Ayling; Phillips; Harrison, Roberts [Rodrigo 46′, (Alioski 90+1′)], Klich, Costa (Poveda 65′); Bamford.
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 3
- Brighton and Hove Albion 2-3 Manchester United
- Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton
- West Bromwich Albion 3-3 Chelsea
- Burnley 0-1 Southampton
- Sheffield United 0-1 Leeds United
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Newcastle United
- Manchester City 2-5 Leicester City
- West Ham United 4-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Fulham 0-3 Aston Villa
- Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal