67 min Nothing much to report. Everton are keeping United at arms length, which is not the easiest thing to do at Bramall Lane. Branthwaite has had a terrific game.
63 min Now Egan visits the canvas after a zesty shove from Calvert-Lewin. It’s been a muscular game.
62 min Andre Gomes is down after meeting Billy Sharp for the first time. “He’s just been hit there with 34 years of experience,” deadpans Ally McCoist on Amazon Prime.
60 min A double change for Sheffield United: John Fleck and Billy Sharp replace McBurnie and Osborn.
58 min A good save from Henderson, who claws away Calvert-Lewin’s deflected shot as he falls to his right. Everton have been excellent since half-time.
55 min Basham’s dangerous cross from the right isn’t properly cleared by Keane, who tries to flick the ball away and ends up dropping it into the space in front of goal. Happily for him, Pickford is first on the scene and falls on the loose ball.
53 min O’Connell threads an excellent pass down the side of the defence to Stevens, whose cross on the turn hs booted away by Keane.
49 min McGoldrick spanks a shot from 12 yards that is excellently blocked by the youngster Branthwaite. This match haas come to life.
49 min Everton break through Gomes, who sprays a fine pass to Walcott on the right. He drives a low cross towards Calvert-Lewin that is cut out at the near post by Egan, and Henderson beats Richarlison to the loose ball.
48 min United almost respond straight away. Baldock’s cross is pulled down on the chest by Stevens, whose hooked shot is blocked by Sidibe.
That was a fine header from Richarlison. Sigurdsson, in a deep, narrow position on the right, curled a fast, flat free-kick towards the near post. Richarlison got in front of his man, 12 yards from goal, and twisted his neck to power an accomplished header into the far corner. Henderson, at full stretch, got fingers to it but could only help it on its way.
GOAL! Sheff Utd 0-1 Everton (Richarlison 46)
And Everton take the lead in the first minute of the second half!
“Hi Rob,” says Gary Naylor. “The world looked very different when I was at Goodison for the reverse fixture, 303 days ago. Is that the longest gap between a home and away match up in English football history? I guess it must be, but there might be a wrinkle in the mists of time. (Or the record might go tomorrow.)”
That’s one for the Knowledge.
Half time: Sheffield United 0-0 Everton
Peep peep! That was not the most entertaining half of football we’ll ever see, or even the 4,123,195,951 most entertaining. Dominic Calvert-Lewin smacked the post just before half-time, and that was about it. See you in 15 minutes for the second half.
(It’s also Brighton 0-0 Newcastle at the Amex Stadium.)
45+2 min Norwood has been booked for a lunging tackle on Richarlison. He got the ball and then followed through into Richarlison’s ankle. The referee took a while before blowing for a free-kick.
45+1 min Osborn’s snapshot has the sting taken out of it by Sidibe’s block, and the ball loops gently into Pickford’s loving arms.
45+1 min Two minutes of added time.
45 min “Everton are doing a decent job of breaking through United’s high press but they don’t take advantage of having four or five United players behind them,” says Mary Waltz. “They can’t seem to connect on their final passes.”
43 min: Calvert-Lewin hits the post! That was the closest we’ve come to a goal. Sigurdsson’s corner was flapped away by Henderson and retrieved by Walcott on the right wing. He stood up a terrific cross to the far post, where Calvert-Lewin towered over Berge and thumped a header off the post from six yards.
41 min Basham’s lofted cross-shot is pawed away by the leaping Pickford. It wasn’t going in, though Pickford was right to take no chance.
39 min A bit better from Everton. Calvert-Lewin and Sigurdsson combine to find Richardson on the left side of the area. He tries to run Basham and is well tackled.
37 min There’s been one shot in the match so far, and that was off target.
35 min Another corner to United, their fourth of the game. It feels like their 14th. Davies heads this as far as Stevens, 30 yards out. He lets the ball bounce, watches the ball carefully onto his left foot … and bullets it out of the ground.
33 min Davies is booked for taking a shortcut through Oli McBurnie.
33 min It’s still Brighton 0-0 Newcastle, and I get the impression the scoreline flatters both teams.
31 min Osborn is very lucky not to be booked for a cynical foul on Walcott.
30 min Richarlison is down again, this time after Berge accidentally clouted him in the head. He’s fine to continue.
29 min Branthwaite, an 18-year-old making his full debut for Everton in a key position at centre-half, has done very well so far against the intimidating pair of McBurnie and McGoldrick. He was born, incidentally, three days before the 2002 World Cup final. How old do you feel now?
25 min Time for the drinks break.
24 min Andre Gomes, on the right wing near the halfway line, flips a delicious first-time pass around the defence to find Calvert-Lewin. The ball bounces up slightly awkwardly, though, and Calvert-Lewin’s touch with his chest is too heavy. That was a chance.
22 min “This game is a very interesting one,” says Stephen Pilling. “Sheff Utd play very exciting football, and the new Everton manager tries to do the same.”
Yes, it’s noticeable that Branthwaite, in particular, has been trying to play the ball out from the back. It’s going to be fascinating to see how Ancelotti does next season. As one of our readers pointed out last week, he usually takes over teams that are, for want of a better phrase, oven-ready. This Everton team aren’t even microwaveable.
20 min A good move from Everton. Walcott plays a give-and-go with Sigurdsson and drives a low shot from a tight angle that flashes across the face of goal.
18 min A good spell for possession for Everton, who have survived the first onslaught. Richarlison cracks in a good cross that is belted away by Egan.
14 min Another corner to United. Norwood’s big inswinger beats everyone, including the flailing Pickford, and curls just wide of the far post.
13 min A corner to Sheffield United, who have dominated the early part of the game. Norwood swings it in and Keane heads away with authority.
10 min Sheffield United are starting to pin Everton in their half. One way or another, a few of the Everton players will be sore in the morning.
7 min Lots of hustle and bustle from Sheffield United, who appear to have received an appreciable brollocking from Chris Wilder for the lack of aggression in their performance at Leicester.
4 min Digne yelps and falls over after a challenge from McBurnie, who walks away from the scene like Dirty Harry. It was a poor challenge – he missed an aggressive attempted block tackle and followed through into Digne’s ankle. Wayne Rooney used to go into challenges like that. McBurnie should have been booked.
4 min Everton’s formation is actually a 4-2-3-1, with Richarlison on the left and Sigurdsson behind Calvert-Lewin.
3 min Richarlison is down after a block tackle with Berge, who followed through to stand on his right foot. He should be able to run it off.
1 min Peep peep! Sheffield United kick off from right to left on a sunny evening in Sheffield.
“How come there’s no MBM for the Newcastle game?” says Robert Lin. “Is there no interest whatsoever?”
Resources, I guess, and there is more riding on this game. But I have it on the background and will mention any goals or mind-altering runs from Allan Saint-Maximin.
“Every mention of the phrase ‘I like the cut of your/his jib’ automatically makes me think of this,” says Matt Burtz. “Also, like you, I was being a bit facetious. I would keep Holgate, Keane, Coleman, Mina and Kean. I don’t think Davies is quite good enough, and even though I think Sigurdsson has all the tools, he may be past his prime, and the effort just isn’t there. I don’t hate Walcott either, but that’s a low bar.”
Part of the problem is that the squad has too many happy losers: good players, but also good-time Charlies. They would probably thrive in a tougher dressing-room, and discover qualities they didn’t know they had, but you need to replace some of them for that change to happen.
There will be a lot of attention on the Sheffield United keeper Dean Henderson, especially after David de Gea’s shocker last night. He’s also up against Jordan Pickford, whose England shirt he’d quite like to nick.
“Hello Rob!” says Stephen Carr. “Sigurdsson’s selection is an interesting one. Interesting because you’d assume Ancelotti has seen him play.”
Wasn’t he the Premier League’s assist king a couple of years ago? Strange player, who regularly flits between the sublime and the inconspicuous.
“I liked the cut of Branthwaite’s jib last week against Villa,” says J. R. in Illinois. “I’ma keep an eye on him.”
Yes, he makes his full Premier League debut tonight, having impressed allcomers when he came on as an early sub against Villa.
“Hi Rob,” says Matt Burtz. “Everton fan here. I don’t disagree that they need eight new players, I just want to see if we agree on the ones to keep. I say it’s Digne, Richarlison, and Calvert-Lewin. I would also keep Pickford because I don’t think he’s *quite* as erratic as he’s made out to be, and I’m not sure who else they can get for the position. Gomes hasn’t really recovered fully from his injury, and Gordon shows promise. The rest can probably go in the bin.”
I wasn’t being totally serious, but they do need few. I agree with all the players you suggested. I’d certainly keep Coleman, Holgate, Keane and Davies at the club.
Sheffield United (3-5-2) Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Osborn, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick.
Substitutes: Moore, Jagielka, K Freeman, Robinson, Fleck, Lundstram, Clarke, Sharp, Zivkovic.
Everton (4-2-3-1) Pickford; Sidibe, Keane, Branthwaite, Digne; Davies, Andre Gomes; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin.
Substitutes: Stekelenburg, Joao Virginia, Baines, Coleman, Iwobi, Baningime, Bernard, Gordon, Simms.
Referee Stuart Attwell.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Sheffield United v Everton from Bramall Lane. The last week of the season is no time for stylish intros or purple prose, so let’s proceed straight to the bit where we tell you what each team needs.
Sheffield United need to win their last two games, realistically, to have any chance of playing European football next season. They will qualify for the Europa League if they finish in the top six, or if they finish seventh and Chelsea win the FA Cup. Here’s the league table.
Everton need about eight new players.
United are big favourites tonight. They have beaten Spurs, Wolves and Chelsea in their last three home games, and they all had something to play for. Everton don’t, not really. They can finish no higher than 11th and no lower than 14th.
Kick off 6pm.
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