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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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02 January 2021 Venue Selhurst Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

Palace Preview: Eagles' finishing could be the difference v Sheffield United

1 January 2021

Crystal Palace kick off 2021 by welcoming Sheffield United to Selhurst Park on Saturday, January 2nd (15:00 GMT).

After a hard-fought draw against Leicester City on Monday, Palace can start the year on the front foot with victory over the Blades.

Sheffield United have struggled this season, failing to win any of their 16 games in the league so far. Their two points is their lowest total at this stage of a Premier League season, their next lowest being 12 points after 16 games in 1993/94.

CRYSHU Zaha tackle.jpg

However, Palace will be aware of the threat they pose after losing both games last season – they haven’t lost three consecutive games to Sheffield United since April 1973.

After scoring against Leicester, Wilfried Zaha now has eight league goals this season. Both he and Nathaniel Clyne played in Palace’s last victory over Sheffield United in 2011, when Darren Ambrose scored the only goal in a 1-0 win.

Gary Cahill is the only Eagle in the current squad to have turned out for Sheffield United, playing 16 times for the club during a loan move in 2007, scoring twice.

Amongst the Blades, John Egan had a short stint at Selhurst Park on loan from Sunderland during the 2011-12 season. Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham signed his first professional deal at Palace but failed to make a first-team appearance.

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Match details

  • Saturday, 2nd January
  • 15:00 GMT
  • Selhurst Park
  • Sky Sports

Tactical overview

Although Sheffield United have struggled for goals this season, it’s not for want of trying. Interestingly, Sheffield United (16.3 xG) have a similar number of expected goals as Palace (16.5 xG), the metric which predicts the number of goals a side should have scored based on the chances they created.

However, while Palace have converted their chances to score 20 goals this season, Sheffield United have finished only eight.

Should the visitors score first, the game is still by no means over. Sheffield United have lost three of the four games in which they have been leading this season, drawing the other. Meanwhile, Palace recovered a point from a losing position against Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park in December.

Did you know?

Sheffield United lost their first league game of 2020, going down 0-2 at Liverpool. They’ve not lost their first league game in consecutive calendar years since doing so in 2011 and 2012.

CRYSHU Zaha.jpg

The visitors have won just 8% of their Premier League games in London, winning two of their 25 visits (D8 L15). Indeed, of all teams to have played at least 20 Premier League away games in the capital, only Derby have a lower win rate (2.6%).

They are winless in their 16 league games this season (D2 L14), equalling Queens Park Rangers’ Premier League record of longest winless run from the start of a campaign (16 in 2012-13). The last English top-flight side to fail to win any of their first 17 games in a season was Bolton Wanderers in 1902-03 (22).

Team news

After suffering with early season injuries, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder will be glad to have a number of key players back to full fitness – the only long-term absentee is Jack O’Connell, who remains out with a knee injury.

However, Oli McBurnie missed the defeat at Turf Moor against Burnley on Tuesday, with Oliver Burke only fit enough to start on the bench.

Roy Hodgson has a similarly fit squad to choose from, despite a number of players appearing twice in three days over the Christmas period. Gary Cahill remains a doubt after a hamstring injury.

How to follow

On TV

Palace v Sheffield United will be shown live in the UK via Sky Sports. Full details can be found here.

Palace Audio

Palace supporters all over the world can listen to live audio commentary of every Palace fixture in the 2020/21 season for just £1.49 per game on the official club app, mobile internet or on desktop.

Fans can buy 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 all of the pre-match build-up and our official Twitter page is bringing you up-to-the-minute match updates, eye catching photos and more.

Our club website, cpfc.co.uk, is the place to go for team news on the dot, an instant report and all the post-match votes.

The official app

The official Palace app’s match centre is the place to be for everything you need during the Sheffield 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.

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Match Reports

Report: Stunning Eze solo strike sees Palace start 2021 with a bang

2 January 2021

Eberechi Eze scored a stunning solo goal as Crystal Palace kicked off the new year by returning to winning ways against bottom of the league Sheffield United at Selhurst Park.

Summary:

  • Schlupp puts Palace ahead after just three minutes from a quick break forwards.
  • Benteke almost makes it two from Zaha’s cut back, but the angle is too tight.
  • Schlupp is forced off with injury before the break, replaced by Eberechi Eze.
  • Eze scores a stunning solo effort to make it two, running from inside his own half.
  • HT: Palace 2-0 Sheffield United
  • Benteke is withdrawn with injury minutes after the restart, replaced by Jordan Ayew.
  • Ayew goes close with a deflected effort just past the post.
  • Townsend drills wide from inside the box.
  • FT: Palace 2-0 Sheffield United

Roy Hodgson has been calling for his side to gain the early momentum in more games this season, and this time Palace made the perfect start. Rising well, Christian Benteke headed down to Andros Townsend on the halfway line, who swivelled quickly and clipped a ball forwards into the path of Wilfried Zaha. Holding off two Sheffield United defenders, he fed Benteke on the edge of the box.

With his first touch, the Belgian clipped through to the advancing Schlupp, who struck low into the bottom corner; it may have taken a deflection on its way through, but take nothing away from the quality of the finish.

CRYSHU Zaha Schlupp.jpg

With any pre-match nerves settled, Palace looked confident breaking forward, with Zaha causing constant problems in the visitors defence.

The visitors were still in the game, their best attack coming early on when David McGoldrick found space in behind. He held the ball up well and crossed for Chris Basham at the far post, whose chest control drifted out of play.

It was almost two after half an hour, with Schlupp this time turning provider. Driving through the Sheffield United midfield, the Ghanaian fed Zaha inside the box. The ball was cut back, but the angle was too tight for Benteke to turn it home.

There was a blow for Palace before half-time, as Schlupp was forced to withdraw with injury. Eberechi Eze came on as his replacement on the left-hand side.

CRYSHU Schlupp Bogle.jpg

Moments before the break the visitors could have been level, when Bogle found space in behind Tyrick Mitchell. His shot was from a tight angle but it couldn’t beat Vicente Guaita.

But Palace remained on top, and it was Zaha once again who punished United on the break, winning a free-kick after a desperate challenge from Bogle. From the resulting set-piece, the Ivorian’s header was straight into the arms of Aaron Ramsdale.

Eventually, Palace doubled their lead – and what a stunning goal it was.

Picking up the ball inside his own half Eze charged forwards, gliding nonchalantly away from one defender and then the next. Opening up some space on the edge of the penalty area, he took the shot early and stroked into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Ramsdale’s despairing dive.

CRYSHU Eze celebrations 2.jpg

The reaction of the Palace bench belied their amazement at the quality of the finish, as his teammates congratulated him in front of the empty stands. It was a goal that deserved fans, and one which would surely have brought a packed Selhurst Park to its feet.

The Eagles’ unfortunate luck with injuries continued into the second half, as Jordan Ayew replaced Benteke. However the substitute immediately made his presence known, challenging for a Zaha cross and appealing for a penalty – the referee was unmoved.

The visitors continued to sit deep, but Palace maintained complete control despite the increasingly scrappy nature of the game.

CRYSHU Mitchell.jpg

Although the visitors were enjoying more possession than before the restart, the constant threat of Zaha, Eze and Townsend on the break meant there was no opportunity to relax. Operating on the shoulder of the last defender, both Ayew and Zaha kept the visitors back three under pressure throughout.

Ayew almost made it three from 20 yards out, his effort taking a significant deflection before bouncing inches wide of the post. Townsend was the next to go close, picking up on a loose piece of defending from Basham but drilling wide, after a weaving run from Zaha had caused havoc once again.

He had a second chance moments later, arriving at the edge of the box to sweep home a Zaha cut-back, but Egan did enough to block the shot.

The visitors almost had a consolation in added time, as 16-year-old substitute Antwoine Hackford saw his shot blocked on the line by Joel Ward from close range.

It was a confident performance from Palace who once again demonstrated the potentency of their attacking options, and it means a positive start to 2021 in south London.

Palace: Guaita (GK), Ward, Tomkins, Kouyate, Mitchell, Schlupp (Eze, 39), Milivojevic (Riedewald, 90+4), McArthur, Townsend, Zaha, Benteke (Ayew, 47).

Subs not used: Butland (GK), van Aanholt, Dann, Sakho, McCarthy, Batshuayi.

Sheffield United: Ramsdale (GK), Stevens, Fleck, Basham, Mousset (Brewster, 60), Egan, Norwood, McGoldrick, Bogle, Ampadu, Osborn (Hackford, 81).

Subs: Verrips (GK), Baldock, Lowe, Bryan.

READ NEXT: Vote for your eToro Man of the Match from Palace v Sheffield United

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