Sheffield United picked up another big away win on Saturday afternoon, beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park.
An even game throughout, it would be a goalkeeping error that eventually decided things, as Vicente Guaita carried the ball into his own net after catching a corner too close to his line.
That would be all the Blades needed, as they held on defensively to keep a clean sheet and secure all three points on the road.
Story of the match
The first half was quite boring, with both teams struggling to play their game in the incredibly windy conditions.
Palace came closest early on, as Jordan Ayew drove forward before playing Christian Benteke in behind. The big Belgian couldn’t finish off the move, however, hitting the side netting instead.
They had another chance before the break, as Wilfried Zaha cut inside from the left-wing in typical fashion. His curling effort came close but rolled just wide of the far post.
United finally got into the game and would be the ones to take the lead on the afternoon after a moment of madness. Oliver Norwood whipped in a corner that was way too close to the goal, and Vicente Guita came out to catch it.
However, the Palace goalkeeper lost track of where he was, accidentally carrying the ball across his own goal line to make it 1-0 for the Blades.
He somewhat made up for it a few moments later, making a solid save to deny a well-hit free-kick from Norwood.
Palace pushed on late to snatch an equalizer in the final minutes, but never really came close to grabbing the goal they needed so badly. The United defence held firm and kept them at bay to close out the contest, earning yet another clean sheet while also securing three big points on the road.
Berge makes his debut
United fans did not have to wait long to see their marquee signing in action, as Sander Berge got the nod in the starting lineup vs Palace.
Only joining the club a few days ago, he must have impressed in training to feature so soon after coming in. All that considered, the Norwegian has acclimated quickly to life in the Premier League, as he didn’t look out of place at all.
Dropping deeper at times, Berge was able to disrupt Palace attacks early on, winning the ball back in midfield. He didn’t do as much going forward, preferring to make the smart and simple sideways pass when need be.
Berge was subbed off after about an hour, but no one would’ve expected him to play the full 90 in his first-ever United game. He made the most of his minutes, at least, showing Blades fans why his signing is such a big deal.
Palace’s slide continues
Crystal Palace haven’t won a game since the end of last year, and performances like this show why that is the case.
The Eagles weren’t bad, per se, and were even the better team at points during the contest. However, errors at the back and going forward would end up costing them, continuing the recent trend of results.
Palace just aren’t clinical enough up top, missing chances that would have given them a crucial lead. Benteke isn’t good enough at this point and looks like a shell of his past self.
Then there’s Zaha, who lacks the motivation to perform as well after not getting his move away during this past summer. He used to be their match-winner, but that’s not the case anymore.
A defensive mistake would be what really hurt them on the afternoon, as Guaita made a mess of a simple corner, catching the ball and putting it into the back of his own net.
An excellent shot-stopper, the goalkeeper still has too many iffy moments like this that prevent him from becoming a reliable option in goal.
Palace are now in 13th place, only six points off of relegation and the bottom three. Fans shouldn’t be too worried just yet, but if this poor run of form continues, then changes might need to be made.