Premier League
Sheff UtdSheffield United1TottenhamTottenham Hotspur3

Sheffield United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs claim comfortable win against struggling Blades

By Gary RoseBBC Sport
Tanguy Ndombele scores for Spurs
Tanguy Ndombele has scored three goals in the Premier League this season

Tanguy Ndombele scored a stunning goal as Tottenham got their top-four challenge back on track with a comfortable victory against bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.

The midfielder - Spurs' record signing - hooked a brilliant, improvised lob over Aaron Ramsdale to complete the scoring for the away side in the second half.

A disappointing run of just one win in their six previous Premier League fixtures had seen Spurs slip down the table with their inability to kill off games proving damaging.

But they were back to their ruthless best against a Blades side that had gone into the game buoyed by picking up their first league win of the season against Newcastle last time out.

Serge Aurier opened the scoring early on when he headed home Son Heung-min's corner.

Harry Kane got his 12th league goal of the season just before half-time, driving a superb low strike from outside the box beyond Aaron Ramsdale in the Sheffield United goal.

David McGoldrick halved the deficit with a glancing header in the second half but Ndombele's stunner made sure there would be no late drama.

Victory moved Tottenham up to fourth before the late Premier League games while Sheffield United remain bottom, 11 points from safety.

No second-half slip-up for Spurs

Tottenham's 1-1 draw with Fulham in their previous outing highlighted a frustrating issue with this current Spurs side - they often start well, get ahead but then fail to kill off an opponent, leaving them susceptible to a late blow when their opponent ups the pressure.

No side has scored more first-half goals than Tottenham in the Premier League this season (21), while their tally of just four conceded in the opening 45 minutes is also the best in the league.

Aurier's early goal was also their ninth scored inside the opening quarter of an hour - another league high.

Conceding the late leveller against Fulham highlighted their need to make the most of their first-half dominance and they did that on this occasion with Kane making it 2-0 five minutes before half-time.

McGoldrick's header to halve the deficit may have left Mourinho concerned that once again his side would come unstuck in the second half but Ndombele's clever strike ensured there would be no late drama on this occasion.

'Basic' mistake frustrates Mourinho in 'great' Spurs performance

Prior to Sunday, Tottenham had struggled against sides towards the bottom of the table, drawing with Fulham and claiming narrow 1-0 wins against West Brom and Burnley, so the better performance and more comfortable scoreline will have been pleasing for Mourinho.

Disappointing defensive errors for Blades

Sheffield United got a significant monkey off their back by picking up their first win at the 17th attempt by beating Newcastle last time out.

But the harsh reality is that they will need many more positive results and performances to have a chance of retaining their Premier League status.

This game against Tottenham was the start of a gruelling run of fixtures that also sees them take on Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea in three of their next four fixtures - games few would expect them to get anything out of.

But regardless of the strength of their opponent, Blades boss Chris Wilder will have been disappointed that all three goals came from poor defending, with the hosts failing to pick up Aurier for the opener and then losing possession in dangerous positions for Tottenham's second and third goals.

Wilder praises Tottenham & Mourinho's 'first class' attitude

'We needed a bright start' - what they said

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder: "The timing and manner of the goals really all afternoon hurt us.

"I really fancied us and we did as a football club. We got paid a compliment with the way they set up and you could see, led by the manager, that they thought this was going to be a tough afternoon.

"Apart from the last 10 minutes, it wasn't a foregone conclusion. The goals really, at any level... after Tuesday night, the first thing we needed was to have a bright start and get a foothold in the game and we didn't."

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho: "The performance was good. The team was very dominant, created enough chances to kill game in the first half.

"In the second half, the intention was the same. A very basic mistake gave them the goal with the only chance they had, but then we had a genius action to bring us again to a two-goal advantage."

Yorkshire delight for Kane - the stats

  • Spurs have lost just three of their past 30 matches in all competitions (W19 D8), winning four of their five in 2021.
  • Sheffield United are only the second team in top-flight history to lose 16 of their first 19 matches in a season after Bolton Wanderers in 1902-03, who were relegated in bottom place.
  • Spurs registered their first away league victory against Sheffield United since December 1975, ending a seven-game winless run at Bramall Lane.
  • Sheffield United have conceded 15 home Premier League goals this season - as many as the Blades conceded at Bramall Lane in the whole of last season.
  • Spurs forward Harry Kane has scored in each of his last six Premier League appearances in Yorkshire, netting 10 goals - Kane is the first player since Mark Viduka for Leeds between March and August 2003 to score in six consecutive appearances in Yorkshire.
  • Sheffield United striker David McGoldrick has ended on the losing side in four of the five Premier League games he has found the net (80%) - the joint-highest percentage of any player to score in at least five Premier League games along with former Sheffield United striker Alan Cork (also lost 4/5 games he scored in).
  • Jose Mourinho has never lost an away Premier League match against a side starting the day in the relegation zone (P28 W21 D7).
  • Aaron Ramsdale has kept just six clean sheets in 56 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth and Sheffield United combined (10.7%) - the worst ratio of any goalkeeper to play at least 50 Premier League games.

What next?

Both sides switch their focus to the FA Cup fourth round next as Sheffield United host League One side Plymouth Argyle on Saturday, 23 January (15:00 GMT) while Tottenham travel to Championship outfit Wycombe Wanderers on Monday, 25 January (19:45)

Player of the match

KaneHarry Kane

with an average of 7.95

Sheffield United

  1. Squad number17Player nameMcGoldrick
    Average rating

    5.59

  2. Squad number14Player nameBurke
    Average rating

    4.79

  3. Squad number22Player nameAmpadu
    Average rating

    4.72

  4. Squad number12Player nameEgan
    Average rating

    4.55

  5. Squad number4Player nameFleck
    Average rating

    4.54

  6. Squad number10Player nameSharp
    Average rating

    4.53

  7. Squad number6Player nameBasham
    Average rating

    4.51

  8. Squad number20Player nameBogle
    Average rating

    4.44

  9. Squad number7Player nameLundstram
    Average rating

    4.41

  10. Squad number3Player nameStevens
    Average rating

    4.27

  11. Squad number24Player nameBrewster
    Average rating

    4.26

  12. Squad number29Player nameBryan
    Average rating

    4.20

  13. Squad number1Player nameRamsdale
    Average rating

    4.07

  14. Squad number16Player nameNorwood
    Average rating

    3.76

Tottenham Hotspur

  1. Squad number10Player nameKane
    Average rating

    7.95

  2. Squad number28Player nameNdombele
    Average rating

    7.87

  3. Squad number7Player nameSon Heung-Min
    Average rating

    7.34

  4. Squad number5Player nameHøjbjerg
    Average rating

    7.16

  5. Squad number23Player nameBergwijn
    Average rating

    7.09

  6. Squad number3Player nameReguilón
    Average rating

    6.96

  7. Squad number14Player nameRodon
    Average rating

    6.92

  8. Squad number24Player nameAurier
    Average rating

    6.91

  9. Squad number1Player nameLloris
    Average rating

    6.72

  10. Squad number15Player nameDier
    Average rating

    6.66

  11. Squad number33Player nameDavies
    Average rating

    6.59

  12. Squad number27Player nameLucas Moura
    Average rating

    5.86

  13. Squad number45Player nameCarlos Vinicius
    Average rating

    5.77

  14. Squad number6Player nameD Sánchez
    Average rating

    5.65

Line-ups

Sheff Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Ramsdale
  • 6BashamSubstituted forSharpat 74'minutes
  • 12EganBooked at 86mins
  • 22AmpaduBooked at 90mins
  • 20Bogle
  • 7LundstramBooked at 50mins
  • 16NorwoodBooked at 23minsSubstituted forBryanat 67'minutes
  • 4Fleck
  • 3Stevens
  • 17McGoldrick
  • 14BurkeSubstituted forBrewsterat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Baldock
  • 10Sharp
  • 13Lowe
  • 15Jagielka
  • 18Foderingham
  • 24Brewster
  • 29Bryan

Tottenham

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Lloris
  • 14Rodon
  • 15Dier
  • 33Davies
  • 24Aurier
  • 28Ndombele
  • 5Højbjerg
  • 3ReguilónSubstituted forD Sánchezat 90+4'minutes
  • 23BergwijnSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 87'minutes
  • 10Kane
  • 7Son Heung-MinSubstituted forAlves Moraisat 90+2'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Alderweireld
  • 6D Sánchez
  • 9Bale
  • 11Lamela
  • 12Hart
  • 17Sissoko
  • 27Lucas Moura
  • 30Carvalho Fernandes
  • 45Alves Morais
Referee:
Andre Marriner

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamTottenham
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home15
Away14
Shots on Target
Home5
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away7
Fouls
Home13
Away4

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sheffield United 1, Tottenham Hotspur 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sheffield United 1, Tottenham Hotspur 3.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Davinson Sánchez replaces Sergio Reguilón.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Carlos Vinicius replaces Son Heung-Min.

  5. Booking

    Ethan Ampadu (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Son Heung-Min.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Lucas Moura replaces Steven Bergwijn.

  8. Booking

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

  9. Post update

    Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by John Egan (Sheffield United).

  11. Post update

    Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

  14. Post update

    Offside, Sheffield United. John Fleck tries a through ball, but Billy Sharp is caught offside.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by John Lundstram.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Harry Kane.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Kean Bryan.

  19. Post update

    Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by David McGoldrick (Sheffield United).

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