Palace made themselves mathematically safe for another season by ending a three game losing streak in the Premier League and a three game losing streak at Bramall Lane with victory over relegated Sheffield United.
7th May 2021
Sheffield United 0-2 Crystal Palace
Bramall Lane, Highfield, Sheffield S2 4SU
Behind closed doors
Referee: Simon Hooper. Assistants: Eddie Smart, Derek Eaton. Fourth official: Lee Mason. VAR: Robert Jones. Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes.
BOOKINGS – Joel Ward (30), Oliver Norwood (38)
RED CARD – none
Christian Benteke (2), Eberechi Eze (88)
TEB MAN OF THE MATCH
This was a very good away performance with plenty of attacking, particularly in the first half. If we are being critical, Palace should have won this game by more given how comfortable they were but at just one goal up there was always a chance for the hosts. Thankfully that chance did not materialise and a win against the bottom placed side by some distance ensure the Eagles were mathematically safe and crossed the 40 point mark with four games left to play.
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE
Nothing of note
BOB’S POINT OF VIEW
Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.
“Hodgson signalled our intent with a predominance of offensive players in midfield with on paper only one holding player in Milivojevic. Essentially this made a 4-1-4-1 set up from the start. This positive intent was rewarded by an early deflected goal by Benteke following a fine run and pass from Eze. From then on in it was a case of controlled possession and an array of missed chances to put the result beyond any doubt. Another excellent run by Eze ended with a deflected finish by the man himself this time to ensure all three points returned to Selhurst Park.
Overall, a controlled performance without setting the pulse racing! In all honesty Sheffield were poor and Guaita did not have one effort on goal to save. A special mention in dispatches for Milivojevic and Benteke but my man of the match award goes to Eze. He is an exceptional talent.
In summary, to surpass the 40 point mark is always a half-decent achievement with games to spare…. but overall a feeling that we should have put more points on the board. Up the Palace!”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – Quiet one for the Spanish stopper who did not have to make any saves.
2 JOEL WARD (BOOKED! – 7) – Solid game but received a booking for his troubles in the first half but showed good discipline for the remainder of the game.
24 GARY CAHILL (ASSIST! – 8) – A clean sheet and an assist on his return to the starting line up, what more can you ask?
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Worked well once again with yet another partner but arguably the one he has formed the best partnership with this season.
27 TYRICK MITCHELL (7) – Was lucky not to give a penalty away but otherwise found himself rarely tested which allowed him to get forward more than he would normally.
10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (7) – Another start for the winger and he brought his energy to the game once again, but he spent the game on the offensive for much of the game. He had one effort from distance which was not far away from the far post. Replaced by 9 JORDAN AYEW (6) on 75 minutes who had one great chance immediately after coming on which was deflected wide by a defender who knew nothing about it.
25 EBERECHI EZE (ASSIST! GOAL! – 9) – Constantly kicked for his troubles but brushed himself down every time to provide that bright spark that was needed to provide an assist for the opener and seal the points with goal after a run that we have become used to.
4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (8) – Ran the midfield throughout and showed plenty of nice touches and well timed tackles.
15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (7) – A return to the starting line up and looked a little rusty to start with but almost provided a great assist for Benteke with one of his lung busting runs. Replaced by 44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) on 71 minutes who slotted in and found himself in and around the opposition penalty area on a number of occasions.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7) – Played his part in what was a very good team effort but was not in the game as much as we would like. Almost provided a good assist for Ayew in the second half.
20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (GOAL! – 9) – Lively throughout and was a constant threat after bagging an early goal. Probably should have had a hat-trick after the keeper pulled off an excellent save from one of his headers after good work by Schlupp and later hit the post.
1 Jack Butland, 3 Patrick van Aanholt, 6 Scott Dann,15 Jean-Philippe Mateta, 22 James McCarthy, 23 Michy Batshuayi, 34 Martin Kelly
Ramsdale, Basham, Egan, Bryan, Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, Burke, McGoldrick
SUBSTITUTES – Lundstram (replaced Bryan on 80 mins), Lowe, Jagielka, Foderingham, Robinson, Bogle, Osborn (replaced Berge on 60 mins), Brewster, Jebbison (replaced Burke on 65 mins)
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON – “I thought it was a very solid performance in every respect. They found it quite difficult to mount any serious attacks. Of course, all credit to some very dogged defending from the Sheffield United team and some wonderful saves from the goalkeeper.
Eze has progressed. There is a lot more to come. It was his first year in the Premier League. The major difference today between this game and two or three previously is that the opposition is more in our ball park.
Benteke has been good. There was a spell where he wasn’t scoring. But he has tactically done the things we’ve asked of him and he’s worked unbelievably hard. He has done all of that but actually improving and scoring goals on a regular basis. All centre-forwards need to score goals otherwise people question their credentials.
In terms of investment, we have done an excellent job with the resources we have had at our disposal. You don’t think ‘now we’re safe, we’ll think to next season’. Planning goes on continually.”
PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM – “Aaron Ramsdale has been excellent while I’ve been in this job. Today was probably his best game yet. The bit I really like about these players is their honesty. It was there to see again for the full game but I think it cost us today. You don’t get a free-kick if you don’t go to ground now. We would have had a penalty if Sander Berge had gone down. The way the game is officiated is promoting that type of behaviour from players.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Eberechi Eze (9.0) while the most shots were from Christian Benteke (7). The most tackles were by George Baldock and Luka Milivojevic (4) while Eberechi Eze (5) had the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 6.36 – 7.31
- Total shots: 7 – 21
- Shots on target: 0 – 8
- Possession: 49.9% – 50.1%
- Pass success: 81% – 79%
- Passes: 407 – 417
- Dribbles: 8 – 17
- Aerials won: 14 – 19
- Tackles: 21 – 21
- Fouls: 11 – 8
- Corners: 5 – 11
- Saves: 6 – 0
- Dispossessed: 12 – 11
POSITION IN THE TABLE
At the final whistle, Palace were 13th in the Premier League table with 41 points from 34 games played, a point behind Wolves and 2 ahead of Newcastle.
11/05/2021 Southampton (a) – Premier League (8.15pm)
16/05/2021 Aston Villa (h) – Premier League (12pm)
19/05/2021 Arsenal (h) – Premier League (7pm)