'Phenomenal...absolutely outstanding' - Sky Sports pundit raves about Sheffield United after their win over Brighton

One TV pundit was left somewhat baffled by what he saw in watching Sheffield United beat Brighton at the Amex on Saturday.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 10:21 pm
John Egan of Sheffield United celebrates his goal before it was ruled out by VAR during the Premier League match at the American Express Community Stadium, Brighton and Hove. Simon Bellis/Sportimage
John Egan of Sheffield United celebrates his goal before it was ruled out by VAR during the Premier League match at the American Express Community Stadium, Brighton and Hove. Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Paul Merson, covering United’s match on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, admitted he wasn’t quite sure what it is that makes opponents of Chris WIlder’s team falter so much when they come face-to-face with the Blades...but he was certainly impressed again.

United picked up another away win – they remain unbeaten on their top-flight travels so far – by way of a first half goal from Oli McBurnie and also had two goals ruled out by VAR, one for handball by John Egan and another from Jack O’Connell for offside.

The former Arsenal man told Jeff Stelling he watched Brighton in their draw with Crystal Palace on Monday and couldn’t believe the difference in their performance. And while unable to put his finger on why or how, Merson did believe it was United’s doing, rather than the home side not turning up.

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“It was a proper away performance,” he said. “They scored their goal and ...you know, I don't know what (United) do, (if it’s) anything special, but Brighton never put four passes together.

“Now I watched Brighton on Monday night (against Crystal Palace ) and they were like the Harlem Globetrotters. They must have had 20 or 30 passes every time they got the ball.

“I can't remember any time they put four passes together. Sheffield United just do something that stops it from happening.

“It's nothing stand-out special. It's phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.”

Merson went on: “Every player knows their role. I thought McGoldrick was outstanding. He's missed his chance, he's gone round the goalkeeper and should score and had one that ended up on the roof of the net.

“McBurnie gets a real good goal and it was just a long goal kick, Dunk makes a mistake, keepers hesitated and he's in one-on-one.

“He's under pressure, uses his strength and whips it in off the post.

“They were very comfortable. I can't really remember Henderson making any saves that you wouldn't expect him to make.

“To go, what is it now? December 21st ...and go into Christmas and they still haven't lost away. That's a feat and a half.”

Merson, while admitting the officials were only going by the letter of the law, said it’s time for a change regarding the handball that saw Egan’s chalked off.

“I know it's the law but you have got to look at common sense,” he said.

“He's coming in 100 miles an hour. The keeper's got to win the ball, he goes to punch it and misses it, (Egan) just carries on and doesn't even expect to get it.

“It hits his leg and, in all one movement, it's hit his arm and gone in.

“I think we have got to change this rule. I think it can easily be changed. Just get a rubber and rub it out. It's not hard, is it?”

Merson added: “They could have paid for it but they didn't and it was an absolutely outstanding performance. These ain’t going away, I'm afraid. Fair play to them, but they are definitely not getting relegated.”