Premier League
Sheff UtdSheffield United2West BromWest Bromwich Albion1

Sheffield United 2-1 West Bromwich Albion: Blades claim important win over fellow strugglers

By Steve SutcliffeBBC Sport
Billy Sharp
Billy Sharp's goal helped Sheffield United to only their third win of the season

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder says his side are "alive and kicking and fighting for their lives" after they fought back to claim a valuable victory over fellow Premier League strugglers West Brom.

Matt Phillips' first-half goal had put the Baggies in charge of the contest between the Premier League's bottom two teams.

However, changes in personnel, tactics and attitude saw a rejuvenated Blades side come from behind to claim their third Premier League win in the past five games.

"We needed a big second-half performance," Wilder said. "We just had to let ourselves go a little bit which we did in the second half. We were more ambitious.

"It's a big win but there is still a long way to go and we are not getting carried away at all, there is a huge challenge in front of us. Just because we have won a couple of games recently, it's the Premier League and it hurts you.

"I have a group that are alive and kicking and fighting for their lives."

Both Wilder and his opposite number Sam Allardyce had identified the importance of this fixture to their hopes of avoiding relegation.

Initially the Baggies' more direct approach appeared to give them the upper hand at a rain-soaked Bramall Lane, with Phillips tapping in after home goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale had parried efforts from Callum Robinson and Mbaye Diagne.

However, the Blades levelled after the break when Jayden Bogle lashed a left-footed effort into the bottom right corner after being teed up by Chris Basham.

Ramsdale's superb close-range save from Robinson then provided Sharp with the platform to secure the Blades' third victory of the season with a prodded finish into the bottom left corner.

While Wilder's side remain bottom of the table they are now just a point behind West Brom, in 19th, and are 10 points from safety.

Blades bounce back

For the first 45 minutes it had looked like being another typical hard-luck story for Sheffield United.

The Blades displayed plenty of endeavour but rarely showed enough spark to break down a stubborn West Brom defence.

However, the introduction of Oliver McBurnie at the break provided Wilder's side with an extra body in attack and the impetus to recover.

Sheff U 2-1 West Brom: Blades 'alive and kicking' in relegation battle, says Chris Wilder

A late first-half injury to George Baldock also inadvertently helped, with Bogle switching to the right and marauding forward at every opportunity.

His impressive understanding with Basham offered a useful outlet and provided the hosts with the goal that started their comeback.

After having just four attempts on goal in the first period, the hosts managed 10 in the second, which was a reflection of their dominance.

And with Wilder preparing to substitute Sharp, the forward atoned for a wayward first-half header with the winning contribution.

Baggies in need of instant improvement

Since their Black Country derby victory over Wolves at Molineux, West Brom have collected just one point from 12 available.

And with fixtures against Tottenham and Manchester United on the horizon, manager Sam Allardyce had suggested that this was a "must-not-lose" game.

With that in mind, the former England boss said his side would revert to a "simple" style of football after they were completely outplayed at times in their 2-2 draw at Fulham.

And he stuck to his word, with the Baggies shifting from a three-man defence to a conventional 4-4-2 formation and taking few chances by attempting to play out from the back.

Sheff U 2-1 West Brom: Baggies boss Sam Allardyce rues Aaron Ramsdale's 'wonderful save'

While neither of his deadline-day loan signings - Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Okay Yokuslu - featured, Diagne was handed a first start.

And his robust presence, complemented by Robinson's running and an energetic display from Phillips set the tone for an early spell of dominance.

However, that control faded and bar Robinson's chance midway through the second period, they rarely looked capable of adding to their goal tally.

More disappointingly for Allardyce, they were undone by some lax defending with both Bogle and Sharp being surrounded by a posse of West Brom defenders, when they scored.

"You can't not do your job correctly, particularly when you are defending," said Allardyce.

"Overall, our defending today was very good. Those two moments could have been avoided and it's cost us two goals.

"It leaves us with a great gap to fill. It's simple maths. We know how many points it takes to stay in this league. What other people do and what other clubs do, we can't affect. We have to focus on getting 38 points."

Baggies' defensive woes

  • Sheffield United have now won three of their last five Premier League matches (L2) - as many as in their previous 27 in the competition (W3 D4 L20).
  • West Bromwich Albion have conceded 26 goals in nine Premier League games under Sam Allardyce - as many as they conceded in 13 games under Slaven Bilic this season.
  • Since January 9th, when Sheffield United ended a 21-game winless run in all competitions with a 3-2 win over Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup, the only Premier League side with more wins in all competitions than the Blades (5) is Manchester City (7).
  • West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has conceded 50 Premier League goals in his first 21 appearances - the joint-quickest a goalkeeper has ever shipped 50 goals in Premier League history, along with Barnsley goalkeeper David Watson in 1997/98 (also 21).
  • In just 10 appearances in all competitions for Sheffield United, Jayden Bogle has scored as many goals as he managed in 90 games for Derby County (3).
  • West Brom's Matt Phillips scored his first league goal of the season - he has now found the net in each of the last 13 seasons in English league football, stretching back to the 2008/09 season.
  • Since Chris Wilder first game in charge of Sheffield United in August 2016, Billy Sharp has scored 76 goals in all competitions - 44 more than any other Blades player in that time.

What's next?

Sheffield United next play in the Premier League when they host Chelsea on Sunday, 7 February (19:15 GMT).

West Brom travel to Tottenham on the same day for their next top-flight match (12:00 GMT).

Player of the match

SharpBilly Sharp

with an average of 8.26

Sheffield United

  1. Squad number10Player nameSharp
    Average rating

    8.26

  2. Squad number6Player nameBasham
    Average rating

    7.97

  3. Squad number20Player nameBogle
    Average rating

    7.80

  4. Squad number17Player nameMcGoldrick
    Average rating

    7.58

  5. Squad number4Player nameFleck
    Average rating

    7.44

  6. Squad number22Player nameAmpadu
    Average rating

    7.41

  7. Squad number12Player nameEgan
    Average rating

    7.40

  8. Squad number1Player nameRamsdale
    Average rating

    7.40

  9. Squad number9Player nameMcBurnie
    Average rating

    7.08

  10. Squad number7Player nameLundstram
    Average rating

    6.93

  11. Squad number14Player nameBurke
    Average rating

    6.77

  12. Squad number2Player nameBaldock
    Average rating

    6.67

  13. Squad number13Player nameLowe
    Average rating

    6.67

  14. Squad number16Player nameNorwood
    Average rating

    6.09

West Bromwich Albion

  1. Squad number1Player nameJohnstone
    Average rating

    4.76

  2. Squad number18Player nameGallagher
    Average rating

    4.22

  3. Squad number10Player namePhillips
    Average rating

    4.18

  4. Squad number23Player nameSnodgrass
    Average rating

    4.16

  5. Squad number17Player nameDiagne
    Average rating

    4.11

  6. Squad number7Player nameRobinson
    Average rating

    4.09

  7. Squad number5Player nameBartley
    Average rating

    4.06

  8. Squad number6Player nameAjayi
    Average rating

    3.97

  9. Squad number27Player nameO'Shea
    Average rating

    3.86

  10. Squad number14Player nameTownsend
    Average rating

    3.78

  11. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Pereira
    Average rating

    3.78

  12. Squad number8Player nameLivermore
    Average rating

    3.58

  13. Squad number4Player nameRobson-Kanu
    Average rating

    3.56

  14. Squad number29Player nameGrant
    Average rating

    3.51

Line-ups

Sheff Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Ramsdale
  • 6Basham
  • 12Egan
  • 22Ampadu
  • 2BaldockSubstituted forLoweat 44'minutes
  • 7Lundstram
  • 16NorwoodSubstituted forMcBurnieat 45'minutes
  • 4FleckBooked at 83mins
  • 20Bogle
  • 17McGoldrickBooked at 84mins
  • 10SharpSubstituted forBurkeat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9McBurnie
  • 13Lowe
  • 14Burke
  • 15Jagielka
  • 18Foderingham
  • 24Brewster
  • 29Bryan
  • 31Brunt
  • 34Ndiaye

West Brom

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Johnstone
  • 27O'Shea
  • 6Ajayi
  • 5Bartley
  • 14Townsend
  • 10PhillipsSubstituted forGallagherat 74'minutes
  • 8Livermore
  • 23Snodgrass
  • 7RobinsonSubstituted forGrantat 68'minutes
  • 12Costa PereiraBooked at 90mins
  • 17DiagneSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Furlong
  • 3Gibbs
  • 4Robson-Kanu
  • 18Gallagher
  • 19Sawyers
  • 20Ivanovic
  • 22Peltier
  • 25Button
  • 29Grant
Referee:
Paul Tierney

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home68%
Away32%
Shots
Home14
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home9
Away2
Fouls
Home11
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sheffield United 2, West Bromwich Albion 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sheffield United 2, West Bromwich Albion 1.

  3. Booking

    Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Chris Basham (Sheffield United).

  5. Post update

    Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion).

  8. Post update

    Foul by Oliver Burke (Sheffield United).

  9. Post update

    Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Sheffield United. Oliver Burke replaces Billy Sharp.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Conor Townsend following a set piece situation.

  12. Booking

    David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Foul by David McGoldrick (Sheffield United).

  14. Post update

    Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Booking

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

  16. Post update

    Foul by John Fleck (Sheffield United).

  17. Post update

    Conor Gallagher (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Max Lowe with a cross.

  19. Post update

    David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion).

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