Premier League
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace2Sheff UtdSheffield United0

Crystal Palace 2-0 Sheffield United: Chris Wilder says Blades need 'incredible run'

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Eberechi Eze scores Crystal Palace's second goal in the Premier League game with Sheffield United
Eberechi Eze's two Premier League goals have come from outside the box, with only Southampton's James Ward-Prowse netting more from distance this season

Manager Chris Wilder says Sheffield United need an "incredible run" to avoid relegation after their awful start to the season continued with defeat at Crystal Palace.

The Blades offered little going forward and, in failing to beat Palace in their 17th match of the season, set the record for the longest winless start to a Premier League campaign.

This 15th loss leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table with two points, 12 from safety. No club has stayed up after such a start to a campaign.

Jeffrey Schlupp opened the scoring for Palace with a deflected finish before going off injured.

Eberechi Eze, his replacement, doubled the lead with a stunning solo effort, running from inside his own half and finishing from 18 yards after evading a couple of challenges.

"It was the perfect storm last season - players were at the top of their game and we had no injuries," said Wilder, whose side finished ninth on their return to top-flight football.

"Now injuries are hitting us quite hard... but we had enough on the pitch to get us a result. The result wasn't decided when the team sheet came in. It was decided in fourth minute and the last 30 seconds of the first half.

"This club, over the past three, four years, is not used to losing games. It's difficult, it's a struggle, its ruthless and murders you at times with what you're up against."

Asked if United can get out of their predicament, Wilder said: "We have to do it sooner than later. There are records to be broken - we have to find a win from somewhere."

United finished the game with 16-year-old substitute Antwoine Hackford on the pitch, the youngest player to appear for the club in the Premier League.

Chris Wilder says Blades need 'incredible run' to survive

Eze warming to Premier League

After five games without a victory, this was a welcome return to winning ways for Roy Hodgson's Palace with the highlight undoubtedly Eze's exceptional goal.

The 22-year-old forward has adapted quickly since making the step up from Championship club QPR on a five-year deal for £19.5m in August.

Eze's first Palace goal was a sublime free-kick against Leeds in November. His second was just as pleasing on the eye.

Blades boss Wilder was furious his players did not close down the former Arsenal youth player but Eze's calm and composed finish, after running half the length of the pitch, was delightful.

Roy Hodgson praises Eberechi Eze's 'wonderful' goal

It capped a solid team performance as Palace put the memory of recent heavy defeats by Liverpool and Aston Villa behind them with a first clean sheet win since the opening weekend of the season.

With the January transfer window about to open, Paris St-Germain and AC Milan are the latest clubs to be linked with Wilfried Zaha and the Ivory Coast forward played a part in Palace's opening goal.

He also set up a good chance for Christian Benteke, who later went off injured, before getting involved in an unnecessary spat with Jayden Bogle after failing to win a free-kick.

But Palace's season, after a couple of hiccups, is up and running again as they get ready for three away games, against Wolves in the FA Cup, followed by Arsenal and Manchester City in the league.

Blades sinking fast

Wilder was clearly upset with his players for not stopping Eze as he galloped away to score at the end of the first half.

Having recorded a number of positive coronavirus cases during the latest round of testing, United were also without several players because of injury and suspension.

They were so depleted they could only name six substitutes instead of the usual nine, while Bogle was handed his first league start since arriving from Derby in September 2020.

Shortly before Palace's second goal, Vicente Guaita denied Bogle with a good save but the Blades offered little serious threat going forward and managed just two attempts on target.

With Tottenham (home), Manchester United (away) and Manchester City (away) to come in January, the picture is getting bleaker by the week.

However, Hackford - aged 16 years 288 days - looked bright when he came on and was denied a goal in the 90th minute when Joel Ward blocked his effort.

'I have seen some very good goals recently' - what they said

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson: "I have seen some very good goals recently but they have been against us so that has been the problem.

"It was nice to see one for us for a change because a lot of the goals we have conceded, in particular against West Ham and Liverpool, were incredible finishes."

Sweet 16 - the stats

  • Antwoine Hackford is the 20th 16-year-old to play in the Premier League.
  • Sheffield United are the first English top-flight side to fail to win any of their first 17 games in a season since Bolton Wanderers in 1902-03.
  • Eberechi Eze is the fourth Crystal Palace player to score their first two Premier League goals for the club from outside the penalty box and first since Ricky Newman in 1994 (also Gareth Southgate and Simon Rodger).
  • The Blades have gone 20 league games without a clean sheet, the longest current run in the division.
  • Palace have scored 12 first-halflLeague goals this season, two more than they scored before half-time in the whole of 2019-20.

What's next?

Both teams are in FA Cup third-round action next. Crystal Palace are at Wolves next Friday (19:45 GMT), before Sheffield United look to avoid an upset at League One Bristol Rovers on Saturday (15:00).

Player of the match

McArthurJames McArthur

with an average of 7.72

Crystal Palace

  1. Squad number18Player nameMcArthur
    Average rating


  2. Squad number25Player nameEze
    Average rating


  3. Squad number27Player nameMitchell
    Average rating


  4. Squad number8Player nameKouyaté
    Average rating


  5. Squad number5Player nameTomkins
    Average rating


  6. Squad number15Player nameSchlupp
    Average rating


  7. Squad number10Player nameTownsend
    Average rating


  8. Squad number2Player nameWard
    Average rating


  9. Squad number11Player nameZaha
    Average rating


  10. Squad number31Player nameGuaita
    Average rating


  11. Squad number9Player nameJ Ayew
    Average rating


  12. Squad number44Player nameRiedewald
    Average rating


  13. Squad number4Player nameMilivojevic
    Average rating


  14. Squad number20Player nameBenteke
    Average rating


Sheffield United

  1. Squad number32Player nameHackford
    Average rating


  2. Squad number24Player nameBrewster
    Average rating


  3. Squad number12Player nameEgan
    Average rating


  4. Squad number17Player nameMcGoldrick
    Average rating


  5. Squad number1Player nameRamsdale
    Average rating


  6. Squad number20Player nameBogle
    Average rating


  7. Squad number3Player nameStevens
    Average rating


  8. Squad number6Player nameBasham
    Average rating


  9. Squad number22Player nameAmpadu
    Average rating


  10. Squad number23Player nameOsborn
    Average rating


  11. Squad number11Player nameMousset
    Average rating


  12. Squad number4Player nameFleck
    Average rating


  13. Squad number16Player nameNorwood
    Average rating



Crystal Palace

Formation 4-4-2

  • 31Guaita
  • 2Ward
  • 5Tomkins
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 27Mitchell
  • 10Townsend
  • 18McArthur
  • 4MilivojevicSubstituted forRiedewaldat 90+5'minutes
  • 15SchluppSubstituted forEzeat 40'minutesBooked at 67mins
  • 20BentekeSubstituted forJ Ayewat 48'minutes
  • 11Zaha


  • 1Butland
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 6Dann
  • 9J Ayew
  • 12Sakho
  • 22McCarthy
  • 23Batshuayi
  • 25Eze
  • 44Riedewald

Sheff Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Ramsdale
  • 22Ampadu
  • 12Egan
  • 3Stevens
  • 20BogleBooked at 45mins
  • 6Basham
  • 16NorwoodBooked at 63mins
  • 4FleckBooked at 89mins
  • 23OsbornSubstituted forHackfordat 80'minutes
  • 17McGoldrick
  • 11MoussetSubstituted forBrewsterat 61'minutes


  • 2Baldock
  • 13Lowe
  • 21Verrips
  • 24Brewster
  • 29Bryan
  • 32Hackford
Stuart Attwell

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamSheff Utd
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Crystal Palace 2, Sheffield United 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 2, Sheffield United 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Joel Ward.

  4. Post update

    Ethan Ampadu (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace).

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jairo Riedewald replaces Luka Milivojevic.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Fleck.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Antwoine Hackford (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Chris Basham.

  9. Booking

    John Fleck (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by John Fleck (Sheffield United).

  11. Post update

    Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. John Fleck (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by John Egan.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Wilfried Zaha.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Luka Milivojevic.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Sheffield United. Antwoine Hackford replaces Ben Osborn.

  18. Post update

    Ben Osborn (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by James McArthur.

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