'Shadow of a player', 'Can hold his head high' - Player ratings from Sheffield United's defeat at Crystal Palace
A new year, but the same old story for Sheffield United.
This afternoon’s defeat at Crystal Palace was their 15th of a miserable campaign so far, leaving them still stranded at the bottom of the Premier League table on just two points heading into 2021.
Here’s how we rated United’s players on a miserable day at Selhurst Park.
Aaron Ramsdale 6
Beaten by a deflection off Egan for Palace's opening goal and left badly, badly, badly exposed by what passes as a "defence" for Eze's second on the stroke of half time. Did little wrong aside from a nervy moment when he dropped a cross late on, and badly needs more protection as he looks for a rare clean sheet to boost what is bound to be fragile confidence
Jayden Bogle 6
Handed his full Premier League debut with George Baldock rested on the bench and had United's only real chance of the first half when he forced Guaita into a save from a narrow angle. Booked just before half-time for felling Zaha and was perhaps too honest when Zaha petulantly raised a hand to him in the second half - the other way around you can bet the Palace man would have hit the deck
Ethan Ampadu 4
Played on the right of defence for United, allowing Basham to shift into midfield, and had a difficult first half against the dangerous Zaha. Did play a nice ball through to set up chance for Bogle but Eze ghosted past him far too easily for Palace's second goal. Improved marginally in the second half, which doesn't say much
John Egan 6
On his 100th appearance for the Blades, Egan looked to have done enough to contain Zaha for Palace's opening goal before a deflection off the Irishman saw the ball fly past Ramsdale. Couldn't prevent Eze finding the bottom corner but did well to nip in ahead of Ayew as he looked to finish in the second half. Good block prevented Townsend from testing Ramsdale. Deserves better than this
Enda Stevens 5
Fitted in at centre-half in Jack Robinson's absence and looked to do just enough to put off Benteke as he looked to make it 2-0 from Zaha's cross. Looks to still be searching for some rhythm after his recent injury, which won't be helped playing in a struggling team and out of position, too
Ben Osborn 5
Playing left wing-back for the depleted Blades and showed good defensive instincts to snuff out the danger when Townsend was played inside down the right. Kept the former England man largely quiet in an industrious display
Ollie Norwood 5
Was unfortunate to see the ball deflect off him for Palace's early opener. Switched the play nicely on a few occasions but was guilty of giving the ball away cheaply at times too. One cross across the face of goal was dangerous, but none of his teammates gambled on the near post.
Chris Basham 5
Did not deserve to see his 300th appearance in United colours end in such disappointing fashion. Moved into midfield where he has impressed in cameo appearances of late, but United looked disjointed without him rampaging forward from defence - not to mention missing his commitment in the tackle
John Fleck 5
Back in the side on the left of midfield and showed a few signs of his old self, including a crunching tackle in midfield before jinking past his man in the first half. United are desperately crying out for their big players to return to form and to bring some much-needed creativity to midfield. Saw yellow in the final few minutes for fouling Townsend after felling the former England man a few times before
David McGoldrick 6
At least looked like he wanted to get the ball and make things happen, even if it didn't go his way on a frustrating afternoon for everyone in the pink of United. Kept going right until the final whistle and can hold his head high
Lys Mousset 4
Took a knock early on when Palace 'keeper Guaita punched the ball away and caught the United striker in the head - with Mousset inexplicably punished with a free-kick. Was replaced by Brewster after an hour to a few words in his ear from boss Wilder - Mousset had the fewest touches of anyone on the field when he went off. He he has been missing a while and is still getting up to speed, but he looks a shadow of the player we saw at times last season (although he isn't alone in that respect by any means)
Rhian Brewster 5
Replaced Mousset in an attempt to get United back in the game but the damage had already been done long before he was introduced.
Antwoine Hackford 6
Came on for Ben Osborn to become United's youngest ever Premier League player at just 16 years of age. At least someone will have a positive memory of a miserable day in the capital - and could have been even better if his late shot wasn't blocked by Ward