- Sheffield United went in front when Yerry Mina turned a corner into his own net
- Everton piled on the pressure in the second half but couldn’t find a way through
- Forward Lys Mousset came off the bench to settle matters 11 minutes from time
Perhaps Sheffield United don’t need investment from the Bin Laden family after all. With Saudi Prince Abdullah confirmed as club owner by the courts, Chris Wilder’s side began a new era with their first away Premier League win since 2006 and inflicted Everton’s first home defeat for seven months.
While the natives weren’t happy, there was a walk-out by hundreds of home fans after United’s second goal and boos at the final whistle, The Blades celebrated a famous win with the gusto that newly-promoted teams deserve.
Gallingly for Everton, their visitors didn’t even need to be at their best to claim the three points. ‘It was as poor as we’ve been in possession,’ said manager Chris Wilder, ‘But we have a solidity about us if we aren’t good enough with the ball. We hung on in there.’
Sheffield United took the lead when Jordan Pickford failed to stop Yerry Mina’s header
The Everton goalkeeper shows his frustration as he looks up to the heavens after conceding
Sheffield United substitute Lys Mousset slots past Pickford to wrap up the three points
Everton boss Marco Silva, who is under pressure after three defeats in six matches, was puzzled why his team deteriorated after falling a goal behind approaching half-time.
‘There was no reason for us to play so nervous in the second half. We had won our last six matches at home,’ he said. ‘I thought the first goal was a foul on Jordan (Pickford) but we hae to look at ourselves.
‘I was disappointed with the second half. We didn’t create enough.
Prince Abdullah raised eyebrows last week by saying he would do business with his wealthy countrymen the bin Ladens if they wanted to help the club.
On this 90 minutes, United have spent far more wisely than Everton, whose hapless £86million striker pairing Moise Kean and Richarlison epitomised a pitiful lack of punch in front of goal despite dominating the shots and corner count.
Silva must be worried now. Fortress Goodison had previously papered over a few cracks but without that insurance, top-eight finish looks optimistic.
The irony is Everton started reasonably well. After 40 minutes they’d registered seven shots to United’s nil. The only pity was that Dean Henderson had nothing harder to save than a shot from left-back Lucas Digne which was at a nice height.
It’s United’s way to start cautiously before growing into the game and that’s exactly what happened here.
MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Everton (4-2-3-1): Pickford, Coleman (Walcott 71), Keane, Mina, Digne, Schneiderlin (Iwobi 55), Delph, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard (Tosun 55), Kean;
Subs not used: Holgate, Calvert-Lewin, Stekelenburg, Davies
Manager: Marco Silva
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood (Jagielka 64), Fleck, Stevens, Robinson (Mousset 62), McBurnie (Osborn 83);
Subs not used: L Freeman, Morrison, K Freeman, Moore
Goalscorers: Mina OG (40), Mousset (79)
Booked: Norwood, Baldock, Henderson
Manager: Chris Wilder
Referee: Simon Hooper
They collected three early bookings, George Baldock sparking a melee by shoving Bernard into the advertising hoardings, but kept their discipline thereafter.
After Everton’s huff and puff came to nothing, Sheffield went up the other end to win their first corner, and scored from it.
Oliver Norwood’s inswinger corner bypassed a flailing Jordan Pickford who’d come off his line, evaded Blades strikers Callum Robinson and Oli McBurnie and then clipped a stooped Yerry Mina and into the back of the net.
There was a delay while VAR checked it with Pickford claiming he’d been impeded but they saw no reason to chalk it off though Silva felt McBurnie had made enough contact to
Worryingly for Silva, it was the 20th goal Everton have conceded from a corner or free-kick since he arrived 15 months ago. The manager insisted they have worked and improved on that aspect of the game and said: ‘I don’t want to create a conversation.’
Richarlison tries his luck with a speculative effort but can’t direct the shot on target
Even more worryingly, the setback seemed to suck the life out of Everton. Their second half efforts were frantic rather than credible.
Penalty appeals grew increasingly desperate with both Bernard and Richarlison dramatically falling in the box without reward. Silva’s substitutions were brave but smacked of panic.
Three more attacking players Alex Iwobi, Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott were thrown on with holding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and skipper Seamus Coleman among those sacrificed.
The only applause given by Evertonians in that second half went to 37-year-old former player Phil Jagielka, who got a tremendous ovation when he came off the Blades bench midway through the second half.
In contrast, Wilder’s side played with a plan. Jagielka helped shore up the defence and Lys Mousset came off the bench to use his pace to hurt Everton on the counter.
Phil Jagielka came off the bench to face his former club where he spent 12 years of his career
It worked a treat for the second goal after 79 minutes which prompted a few hundred home fans to leave the ground immediately.
Former Everton trainee John Lundstram slotted through an inch-perfect ball from midfield and Digne had no chance of keeping up with Mousset who showed great composure to finish low past Pickford.
The catcalls from the Gwlayds Street End contrasted sharply with scenes in the away end where Sheffield’s players gathered to celebrate with their travelling fans. They have been beaten twice at Bramall Lane but yet to lose away following draws at Bournemouth and Chelsea. ‘We’re bucking the trend,’ smiled Wilder.
It also proved once again shenanigans in the boardroom haven’t been to the detriment of performances.
John Egan flings his body in the way to block a Gylfi Sigurdsson shot during the first half
‘It’s not affected us for three years. You can always look at excuses for players and managers but we
wouldn’t have had our success if it had affected us.
‘I don’t think any club wants to be talked about off the pitch and dragged through the courts but a lot of good things have continued to happen on the pitch and hopefully that will be talked about.’
As for Everton, trophyless since 1995, Tuesday’s League Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday looks increasingly important for Silva. ‘It’s an advantage for us to be playing again so quickly,’ he said.