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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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01 February 2020 Venue Selhurst Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

Palace Preview: Explaining Sheffield United’s eye catching tactics

30 January 2020

In recent games, Crystal Palace have upheld an impressive record against promoted sides seeking to take points from Selhurst Park. Indeed, the Eagles have earned 10 from a potential 12 points against the league’s most recent arrivals when pitted together in SE25.

With Sheffield United travelling south today, however, Roy Hodgson’s men face a stern test of their form in such games.

The Blades take on Palace having overcome the Eagles last August in a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane. That day, United picked up their first Premier League win in 12 years via a John Lundstram strike in the 47th minute. Including that effort, Lundstram has now collected three goals and three assists for the Blades - meaning the midfielder has made a direct contribution in almost a quarter of United’s 25 goals.

Though Chris Wilder’s men enjoyed a fine start to the season, their form has dipped somewhat of late and they have dropped to eighth in the table. 

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Since (and including) their match with Watford on Boxing Day, United have picked up just five points from the last 18 available (W1 D2 L3) – only West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth (four each) have won fewer over this period.

That said, the Blades have endured a relatively tough run - facing Liverpool and Arsenal, and Manchester City twice, since the Watford game. Now renowned for their defensive solidity this season, United have however managed to maintain their tight backline through such a challenging spell: only league leaders Liverpool have conceded fewer Premier League goals than them this season (23).

Indeed, their record of 23 goals shipped after 24 games is the best by a promoted side since Fulham in 2001/02 (also 23).

Another stat which highlights United’s defensive adeptness is that no shot stopper has kept more clean sheets in the top flight this season than United’s Dean Henderson (eight). Only Alisson (one every 214 minutes) has a better minutes-per-goal conceded ratio this term than Henderson's 104.

Did you know?

Sheffield United are winless in their last 19 Premier League games in London (D8 L11) since beating Chelsea 2-1 in October 1992. However, the Blades have drawn all four of their top flight games in the capital this season, coming from behind in each one.

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Team news

Crystal Palace’s training was boosted this week with Christian Benteke, Patrick van Aanholt and Andros Townsend both continuing their recoveries on the turf. Hodgson has now confirmed that all three are fit to play, however Cenk Tosun is suffering from a hamstring injury.

United’s David McGoldrick appears to be the Blades’ only injury concern, with the instrumental forward a minor doubt for the game with Palace.

Tactical overview

Flexible and tactically aware, Sheffield United field a 3-5-2 lineup - with the likes of Lundstram able to push forward to fuel the attacking pair in a 3-4-1-2 formation. 

United’s back three switches to a back five when facing offensive pressure, particularly down the flanks, and Wilder has become notable for his utilisation of ‘overlapping centre-backs’.

The Blades’ attacking centre-backs are much discussed, but often it’s a tidbit addition to pub chat. What does it actually look like?

Typically, because Sheffield United field three central defenders with two wingbacks pushing into the midfield, the left and right centre-backs have the agency to overlap on the wings with a defensive midfielder dropping in to cover them in the back three.

If they lose the ball at the other end of the pitch with a centre-back operating along the wing, Sheffield have been known to commit a professional foul as they seek to shut-down any counter-attacks and win back possession.

This system works because United have defenders who are highly talented on the ball and so their teammates are willing to compensate for any potential defensive exposure by dropping back. Swift pushes forward from deep in their own half allow Sheffield United to suffocate their opposition by forcing the play high up the field and making the opposition focus on two or more men in a man-marking system.

How to follow

In person

There's no better way to back the lads than in person at Selhurst Park. You can buy your tickets by clicking here, by calling 0871 200 0071 or by visiting the Box Office at Selhurst Park in person.

Palace Audio

Palace supporters all over the world can listen to live audio commentary of every Palace fixture in the 2019/20 season for as little as £1 per game on the official club app, mobile internet or on desktop.

Fans can buy a Monthly Pass (which auto-renews) at £4.49 per month or a 24-Hour Pass (for a single matchday) for £1.49 by clicking here

Find out more about Palace Audio here

Social media

You can check out our Instagram story for eye-catching footage of all of the pre-match build-up and our official Twitter page will be bringing you up-to-the-minute match updates, stunning photos and more.

The official app

The official Palace app’s match centre is the place to be for everything you need during the United clash. With live stats and alerts, a running match commentary feed and lineups the moment they’re released as well as all an instant match report and post-match reaction from Palace TV, there’s no need to leave the app to follow the Eagles’ efforts.

Download our app for free here!

International fans

For fans following from abroad, have a look at our Worldwide TV Listings here. And if you're wondering where the nearest official fan club is to you, you can click here to find out.

Did you know you can become an International Member from just £45 and receive benefits such as guaranteed tickets for any home league game and exclusive live Palace TV streams for selected games? You can - by buying here!

There are a handful of tickets remaining for this clash - you can buy yours by clicking here, by calling 0871 200 0071 or by visiting the Box Office at Selhurst Park in person.

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Match Reports

Report: Palace 0-1 Sheffield United

1 February 2020

Crystal Palace lost out to Sheffield United at Selhurst Park, with an unfortunate Vicente Guaita own goal ending up as the only goal of the game.

In summary:

  • Luka Milivojević, Patrick van Aanholt, Joel Ward and Christian Benteke all start
  • Benteke has couple of good chances in first 45
  • HT: 0-0
  • Vicente Guaita own goal hands Blades the lead. 0-1.
  • Joel Ward red card rescinded after pitchside monitor review
  • FT: 0-1

Dean Henderson Christian Benteke.jpg

Crystal Palace started positively, with a real sense of zip and purpose in their play, epitomised by the fact it took just 18 minutes for a Sheffield United player to find themselves cautioned as a result of being continually tormented by Wilfried Zaha.

George Baldock was the culprit, with Palace’s winger clearly having the bit between his teeth down the left-flank, linking up well on several occasions with the returning Patrick van Aanholt.

Palace’s dominance of the opening exchanges eventually brought about their first proper chance, courtesy of Benteke smashing into the side netting after a driving run at the heart of the Blades’ defence from Jordan Ayew set his strike partner away.

Jordan Ayew Sander Berge run.jpg

The two almost linked up again, just a couple of minutes before half-time, with Zaha sending Ayew down the left-wing, with the striker sending a first-time cross flashing across the six-yard box, narrowly missing the studs of the stretching Benteke.

Palace picked up where they left off and started the second-half in the ascendancy. Zaha clipped a ball from left to right, taking out the three retreating Sheffield United defenders to find Benteke.

Benteke cut inside to make space for himself 20-yards from goal, however, although on target, the striker’s effort lacked the required pace to truly test Henderson, who saved comfortably to his left.

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Sheffield United hadn’t really been in the game in the final third, which meant when they took the lead from a corner in the 58th minute, it was a bitter pill for the Eagles to swallow.

An Oliver Norwood corner was comfortably collected by Guaita under his crossbar, however, the Spaniard fell behind the goal line in an unfortunate and uncharacteristic error from the ‘keeper.

Gary Cahill team disappointed Sheffield United.jpg

Two minutes later, though, Guaita was back to his usual imperious self with an excellent stretching save to his top left corner to tip Norwood’s free-kick over.

Palace responded to going behind and the Blades getting their tails up with Zaha’s trickery in the box picking out James McArthur rushing into the box, with the midfielder’s powerful effort parried well by Henderson.

Another chance went begging for Palace when James Tomkins looked certain to head home McArthur’s cross, after sneaking into the box behind John Lundstram. However, the centre-back’s header went narrowly wide on 71 minutes.

On 73 minutes Palace were reduced to 10-men with Joel Ward adjudged to have been over the top in his challenge on Enda Stevens. However, VAR advised the referee to check the pitchside monitor and Ward’s sending off was rescinded and a yellow was awarded.

Joel Ward the Blades.jpg

A welcome return for Andros Townsend arrived in the final 15 minutes, with Benteke making way and Ayew becoming the focal point up top. Townsend’s entrance was followed by Max Meyer’s introduction, coming in for James McCarthy, as the Eagles pushed for something from a game they thoroughly deserved at least a point from. However, Palace's probing and pressing couldn't produce the needed equaliser and the Blades took all three points back to Sheffield. 

Palace: Guaita, Ward, Cahill, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, McArthur [Kouyaté 85], McCarthy [Meyer 80], Milivojević, Ayew, Zaha, Benteke [Townsend 75].

Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Dann, Kelly, Riedewald.

Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Stevens, Berge [Lundstram 64], Norwood, Fleck, Sharp [Mousset 62], McBurnie [Osborn 90+4].

Subs Not Used: Jagielka, L Freeman, Verrips, Robinson.

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Ticket News

Last few tickets left for tomorrow's game

31 January 2020

There are a handful of tickets for Crystal Palace's home game against Sheffield United (Saturday 1st February 15:00 K.O.) left to snap up.

With the Blades having now sold out their away end allocation, the Eagles will need to be backed by the famous Selhurst Park atmosphere for the visit of Chris Wilder's side - this game has been classed as a Category B game, with supporters able to purchase a maximum of four tickets each. Prices are below:
  • 18-21-year-old: £27.00 to £35.00
  • Adult: £30.00 to £48.00
  • Junior: £17.00 to £24.00
  • Senior: £20.00 to £35.00
  • Student: £27.00 to £35.00

Tickets can be bought online, by clicking here, by calling 0871 200 0071 or by visiting the Box Office at Selhurst Park in person.

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