AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United: Five things to takeaway from today's big Premier League clash
Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager, admitted afterwards that "every point is precious" in Premier League football. With their home form likely to decide whether or not United survive this term, Chris Wilder should be hugely encouraged by the result at Dean Court. The performance, despite highlighting plenty of areas where they can still improve, will have pleased him too. Particularly the determination and belief United showed after falling behind in the second-half. They were also disciplined off the ball, keeping their shape well when Bournemouth, one of the best passing teams outside the big six, began to find a rhythm. All in all, this was a fine start to the campaign for United.
Not for the first time in recent years, Sharp has spent a summer listening to people claim his powers are on the wane and that maybe, just maybe, now is the time to begin pensioning him off. And not for the first time, the United centre-forward has made fools of them all. Starting to afternoon on the bench, Sharp was introduced as his team mates searched for a route back into the game following Mepham's opener. And he delivered, turning the ball home from close range following a scramble inside the Bournemouth penalty area. It was a reminder, to both the pundits and United's coaching staff alike, that he has no plans to play a supporting role this season. He is still the best finisher at the club.
DIFFERENT DIVISION, DIFFERENT STRATEGY:
United blazed a trail out of the Championship by overwhelming opponents; battering them with wave after wave after wave of attacks until the inevitable collapse happened. It took less than 20 minutes of this fixture to reveal that, in this division, they are going to have to discover another way to win. After surviving a scare when David McGoldrick was put through by John Lundstram, Bournemouth controlled most of the possession during the opening period. Indeed, with Eddie Howe's players pressing as soon as the visitors received the ball, it was United who found themselves struggling to find space. But they remained disciplined, kept their shape and edged back into the game.
THE CREATOR IN CHIEF:
The clues were there in pre-season, when John Lundstram became a familiar sight in United's midfield. So, although his presence in the starting eleven should not have come as a complete surprise, his influence on the game was. Why? Because rather than simply bringing a physical presence, the Liverpudlian could lay claim to being one of the most creative players on the pitch this afternoon. The fixture was less than 60 seconds old when he sent David McGoldrick through on goal before repeating the trick at the beginning of the second-half. Soon after, Lundstram drilled a tantalising cross past Ramsdale but Callum Robinson could not get a touch.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE:
Football is still a contact sport. It's just that these days, it doesn't take much contact for a player to go down. Indeed, sometimes, they actively seek in order to try and draw a foul. This strange phenomena was in evidence on several occasions at Dean Court, with Ryan Fraser, Adam Smith and Jefferson Lerma all irritating the travelling supporters but earning sympathy from referee Kevin Friend and his officials. Unfortunately, it is a ploy United must stay mindful of as they try and plot a course through the season.