As It Happened: Sheffield United hold firm to beat leaders Fulham after Ndiaye solo goal
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20: Iliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Sheffield United at Craven Cottage on December 20, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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23:155 months ago

Thanks for following!

That’s all I’ve got for you from this live coverage of Fulham vs Sheffield United in the EFL Championship in which the away side came out on top.

Thanks for joining me tonight, I’ve been Noah Robson and I’ll see you again soon here on VAVEL!

23:145 months ago

Watch all the highlights

22:445 months ago

Sheffield United: What It Means

On the other hand, this being the third win in three games for Paul Heckingbottom since he took over, things couldn’t really be going much better for the visitors after tonight’s performance.

They might have had to sit back for a decent period throughout the game, but they defended well as a group and took advantage of their counter attack chances too.

Add to that the fact they appear to have found the best out of Iliman Ndiaye and they will be feeling pretty confident ahead of their upcoming game away at Preston North End this weekend.

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22:445 months ago

Fulham: What It Means

For Fulham, this is yet another poor result in a winless run which will now extend over Christmas, something Marco Silva will be extremely frustrated by when looking back.

They controlled the ball for almost the whole game, having an overwhelming amount of possession, but didn’t create nearly enough chances to trouble the opposition goalkeeper.

It’s Birmingham City up next for them on Boxing Day at 3:00 PM GMT, where they’ll hope to finally end this run without picking up three points against a side currently 17th in the table.

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22:435 months ago

The best photos

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22:435 months ago

All the statistics from the match

Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Shots: 6-2

On Target: 1-2

Possession: 71%-29%

Corners: 7-2

Fouls: 6-15

Yellow Cards: 0-3

22:425 months ago

Pure love from the boss

22:425 months ago

Match Summary

Paul Heckingbottom continued his 100% record as Sheffield United boss with a victory over Marco Silva’s Fulham at Craven Cottage in the EFL Championship on Monday night.

The visitors broke the deadlock early on when Iliman Ndiaye confidently ran with the ball, seeing Fulham defenders running backwards in fear, before placing a shot past Rodak to put his team in front.

Marco Silva’s side had a large amount of possession in the first 45 minutes, but failed to capitalise on it, creating very few clear-cut opportunities prior to the interval.

The possession statistic climbed higher and higher for the hosts in the second half but it was a similar story, with a lack of any clear chances for the hosts, meaning they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat.

22:415 months ago

Player of the Match: Iliman Ndiaye

Throughout the entire game, Iliman Ndiaye was absolutely everywhere on the pitch at Craven Cottage, winning the ball back and driving his side up the pitch on countless occasions.

At no point was that more evident than three minutes into the game when he picked up the ball in his own half and dribbled the pitch before firing home the eventual winner, giving his side a huge three points.

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22:415 months ago

FULL TIME: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

And with that the referee blows his whistle for the final time, signalling the end of the game and also all three points heading back to Sheffield this evening.

It was very fast start for the away side as they led in the third minute via an excellent solo goal from Iliman Ndiaye and while the hosts had a large amount of possession they couldn’t do much with it in the opening 45 minutes.

That pattern continued right throughout the second half but still Fulham couldn’t break their opponents down, and it ended 1-0 to the visitors, much to the home fans’ frustration.

22:405 months ago

90+4: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Harrison Reed tries to put one more ball in but it's cleared away yet again and that could be it...
22:395 months ago

90+3: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

The Sky Sports commentator has just revealed that if Sheffield United do hold on here it will be their first win at Craven Cottage since 1985.

Just the 36 year gap between (potential) victories.

22:385 months ago

90+2: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

HOW HAVE FULHAM NOT SCORED?!

The ball comes to Mitrovic in space in the box and he looks certain to score, but his shot cannons off the bar, falling to Harry Wilson right in front of goal, but his left foot shot goes over the bar!

Absolutely incredible, and it does feel as though that was the chance for the home side.

22:365 months ago

90+1: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

The fourth official has put up his board and indicated that there's going to be a minimum of four additional minutes at the end of this second half.

Will there be one last chance for Fulham?

22:345 months ago

89: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Mitrovic tries to appeal for a penalty but it's very soft and the referee waves it away.

Fulham then attack again, winning a corner, but once more it's dealt with by Sheffield United defenders.

22:335 months ago

88: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

The Blades are doing a good job of disrupting every bit of Fulham's attacking threat here, giving away so-called 'clever' tactical fouls high up the pitch.

It does just take one chance for the hosts though...

22:315 months ago

86: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Bogle gives away a free kick and gets a yellow card for the challenge, but the resulting set piece is, and I feel as though I'm repeating myself here, nowhere near close to threatening the Sheffield United goal.
22:285 months ago

82: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

John Egan has suddenly become heavily involved in the past couple of minutes, clearing away on a couple of occasions in what looked like extremely threatening positions.

Under ten minutes left now...

22:245 months ago

78: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Billy Sharp finishes off an excellent Blades move with a shot into the roof of the net but he's just offside and it's ruled out.

Moments later, Ndiaye is withdrawn for Ben Osborn in the visitors' final change.

22:225 months ago

76: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Hourihane is taken off by Paul Heckingbottom in place of John Fleck in the away side's second change of the game.
22:215 months ago

75: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Mitrovic gets the home side's first shot on target of the game but it's a tame effort and straight down the middle of the goal.
22:205 months ago

75: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Kebano tries to fire a cross in but it turns into a shot which is easy enough for Foderingham to claim.

Time is starting to run out for the home side here, and they'll be starting to get a little more desperate.

22:185 months ago

72: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

A little bit of afters between Billy Sharp and Tete but they restore friendly relations fairly quickly.
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69: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

The corner comes to nothing, and we're back into our usual pattern.

Antonee Robinson comes off for Muniz shortly afterwards too.

22:135 months ago

68: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Bogle receives the ball from Berge and he rolls the ball onto his left foot before firing a shot towards goal which is blocked behind for a corner.
22:115 months ago

65: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Chris Basham isn't expecting a free kick to come all the way to him at the back post and it bounces off of him for a goal kick.
22:095 months ago

64: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Fulham continue to push up the pitch again and again but still the chance won't come.

With the defensive resilience Sheffield United are showing, a bit of individual brilliance may be needed to unlock their defence - but that isn't forthcoming yet either.

22:075 months ago

61: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

On the hour mark it's a second change for Fulham, with Carvalho being replaced by Bobby Decordova-Reid.
22:045 months ago

58: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

It's getting more end-to-end here with both sides playing long balls over the top to their respective attackers, but still nothing to trouble either keeper in this second half.
22:005 months ago

54: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Kebano swings in a ball towards Mitrovic who gets his head on it but he can't keep the effort on target.

That's pretty much the first chance the Serbian striker has had all game, in fairness.

21:575 months ago

52: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Antonee Robinson gives away a corner resulting in a rare set piece for Sheffield United but it's headed away well.
21:545 months ago

48: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

It's back into the pattern we had in the first half with Fulham controlling the ball (and now attacking from right to left), but no obvious chances so far.
21:515 months ago

46: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

We're back underway in West London and there's a change for each side.

Morgan Gibbs-White departs for Sander Berge for the away team and Seri leaves the field in place of Tom Cairney for the hosts.

21:475 months ago

Photos from the first half

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21:425 months ago

The half time stats

Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Shots: 2-2

On Target: 0-2

Possession: 69%-31%

Corners: 5-0

Fouls: 3-6

Yellow Cards: 0-1

21:375 months ago

HALF TIME: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

That's the end of the first half here at Craven Cottage and it's Sheffield United who have the lead at the break.

Ndiaye's goal is the difference so far, with Fulham as yet unable to truly break open the Blades defence - something they'll need to change in the second half if they want to extend their lead at the top of the table.

21:365 months ago

45+4: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

The atmosphere has picked up somewhat after a string of decisions that Fulham fans didn't like.

It all ends in a corner for the home side, but that comes to nothing yet again as it is caught by Foderingham.

21:335 months ago

45+1: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Norwood attempts an incredible effort from the outside of the box and it is on target from but has virtually no pace on it so Rodak can catch it easily.
21:315 months ago

45+1: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

There's going to be a minimum of four additional minutes at the end of this first half.
21:315 months ago

45: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Harry Wilson wins his side a free kick after being fouled by Hourihane which is headed back down in the box by Adarabioyo, but Kebano's shot is scuffed and goes wide of the post.

Best chance of the game for the home side.

21:275 months ago

41: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Mitrovic has been almost unseen during this game, and that's intended more as praise of the Sheffield United backline above anything else.

If Fulham want to get anything out of this game, you get the feeling he'll need to find a way of shrugging off his man-markers.

21:235 months ago

37: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Both sides' attacks being shut down in succession with a mix of a lack of potency in the final third and a well-organised defensive set-up.
21:195 months ago

34: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

There's a break in play here as Sheffield United goalkeeper Foderingham appears to have an ankle injury of some sort.
21:175 months ago

31: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Gibbs-White plays an excellent ball over to Billy Sharp after Ndiaye wins the ball back well but the striker can't quite control the ball and Rodak holds onto it in the end.
21:165 months ago

30: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Fulham have a flurry of corners but each time they are cleared away with relative ease by Blades' defenders.

They're going to need to be a little more creative if they're going to score from a set piece this evening.

21:145 months ago

28: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Wilson does brilliantly well to wriggle past Sheffield United defenders and passes on a couple of chances to shoot before making his way into the box and tripping over his own feet.

That's probably the best move of the game so far for the home side.

21:125 months ago

26: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

One thing worth mentioning as this game approaches the halfway point of the first half - there are a considerable number of empty seats.

Whether that's due to COVID, or simply the scheduling of the fixture I'm not sure but it is a little disappointing to see.

21:095 months ago

23: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Harry Wilson plays in Harrison Reed but his effort his blocked out for a corner which, after being played short, is cleared away with ease.
21:055 months ago

18: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Just as I say that, Mitrovic is played in and attempts an audacious half-volley near the edge of the box but it's saved well.
21:045 months ago

18: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Still no clear-cut opportunities for the home side as every time they try a pass in the final third it seems to be intercepted by a Blades defender.

Frustrating times for Marco Silva.

21:025 months ago

16: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Billy Sharp races forwards on the right hand side and tries to cross into Ndiaye but it's blocked away.
21:015 months ago

15: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Fulham have been enjoying almost all of the ball since that opening goal, but you still get the sense that Sheffield United could be very dangerous on the counter attack.

It's an interesting game ahead!

20:565 months ago

10: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

Fulham can't quite make it click in attack at the moment and it's frustrating them to the extent where they're giving away needless fouls.
20:545 months ago

8: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

First foul of the game and it goes Fulham's way.

They just need to compose themselves a little bit and get back into the form they have been in previously leading to them being top of the league.

20:525 months ago

6: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

That was absolutely brilliant from Ndiaye.

Fulham look shellshocked, but they'll need to recover quickly if they want to get something out of tonight's game.

20:505 months ago

GOAL!: Fulham 0-1 Sheffield United

What an incredible start!

Ndiaye dribble with the ball all the way from his own half before placing a pinpoint shot into the bottom left corner to give his side the lead!

20:465 months ago

KICK-OFF: Fulham 0-0 Sheffield United

It's the home side who get us underway just a little later than scheduled, and they'll be kicking from left to right in this first 45 minutes.
20:435 months ago

Teams coming out onto the pitch

Both sides have now made their way onto the field of play and we are now just a few minutes away from this game starting.
20:405 months ago

Five minutes until kick-off!

There's not much longer to go until we get going here in West London, with the sides set to emerge from the tunnel at any moment now.

Stay right here for all the latest updates from the game!

20:345 months ago

Players out to warm up

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20:275 months ago

Reminder: Pre-Match Prediction

Ahead of the game, I wrote a pre-match prediction a little earlier, which was as follows:

'One quick glance at the league table would suggest that this should be an easy win for the hosts, considering the fact they are leading their opponents by 16 points.

However, that fails to take into account multiple factors, including the games in hand the away side possess, as well as the change in manager - which has resulted in a 100% win rate so far.

As such, I think this will be fairly tight, though also quite high-scoring, meaning I'm going for a 3-2 win to the hosts, who will likely just edge it due to the goalscoring form of the aforementioned Mitrovic.'

20:205 months ago

In the away dressing room

20:135 months ago

What visiting supporters think

They're not quite as upbeat. 

20:065 months ago

Reaction from Fulham fans

It's fair to say they're pretty happy.

19:595 months ago

Sheffield United's Team

As for the away side, it's not quite the line-up Paul Heckingbottom would have ideally picked, but it's not far off it either.

There are some weaknesses in defence, but with a 100% win record since the new manager took over in late November, Blades' fans will hope for more of the same tonight.

19:525 months ago

Fulham's Team

For the home side, the 11 players chosen to start the match are pretty much the strongest Marco Silva could choose out of his squad.

They have fortunately escaped the wrath of COVID-19, unlike many other clubs in the league, and indeed the country, so can name a high-quality side this evening.

19:465 months ago

Sheffield United Starting XI

... and here's the visitors' team.
19:455 months ago

Fulham Starting XI

Here's how Marco Silva's side will lineup this evening...
19:315 months ago

Fans start to arrive...

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19:245 months ago

Football set to continue in England

There had been some rumours of a potential postponement of a round of fixtures in English football but statements from the Premier League and the EFL have quashed these.

Here's what the EFL's statement said in full:

The EFL can confirm that its programme of games in the League, Carabao Cup and Papa John's Trophy will continue with fixtures to be played where it is safe to do so, and the set squad criteria can be fulfilled by Clubs.

While the League acknowledges there will likely be future postponements to navigate where Covid-19 cases are identified, there is optimism that disruption can be minimised following implementation of RED protocols, a daily testing regime and ongoing vaccination rollout.

Commenting, EFL Chief Executive Trevor Birch said:

“Throughout the pandemic, our two priorities have been ensuring the welfare of those involved in EFL competitions and ensuring the fixture schedule can continue where it is safe to do so.

“We will continue to work with clubs, authorities and other agencies to monitor the Covid-19 case rate and be prepared to respond accordingly, yet for now the view remains that we can continue to deliver games safely where clubs have sufficient healthy personnel in place, on and off the pitch.

“With club mitigation measures, the mass adoption of booster jabs and Covid certification now required for larger crowds, we are sure many fans will continue to feel confident in attending matches over the Christmas period and we look forward to welcoming them.”

19:175 months ago

Welcome!

Good evening and welcome along to this live blog for an EFL Championship fixtures under the Monday night lights!

We'll have team news for you in a little under half an hour, but first, an update on today's football news.

18:485 months ago

Tune in here for Fulham vs Sheffield United

That's all for this pre-match build-up to this tasty Championship tie, but remember to return to this page on Monday evening, where'll we'll be bringing you all the latest news from the game.

Do not miss a detail of the match Fulham vs Sheffield United live updates and commentaries of VAVEL.

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18:435 months ago

What time does the game kick-off across the world?

India: 1:15 PM

South Africa: 9:45 PM

Australia (Sydney): 6:45 AM

Japan: 4:45 AM

USA (New York): 2:45 PM

18:385 months ago

What time does the game kick-off?

The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports for viewers who want to watch it in the UK, with coverage set to get underway from 7:30 PM GMT.

Kick-off will be at 7:45 PM GMT, in what is the final match of an extremely disjointed weekend of football in England following multiple postponements due to COVID-19.

18:335 months ago

Fulham vs Sheffield United Prediction

One quick glance at the league table would suggest that this should be an easy win for the hosts, considering the fact they are leading their opponents by 16 points.

However, that fails to take into account multiple factors, including the games in hand the away side possess, as well as the change in manager - which has resulted in a 100% win rate so far.

As such, I think this will be fairly tight, though also quite high-scoring, meaning I'm going for a 3-2 win to the hosts, who will likely just edge it due to the goalscoring form of the aforementioned Mitrovic.

18:285 months ago

Latest games between Fulham and Sheffield United

Just last season, this fixture would have been one in the English top flight, with the two sides being relegated from the Premier League during the 2020/21 campaign.

Their most recent meeting came in February of this year, when Fulham won 1-0 - one of only five victories they managed throughout the whole season.

The reverse fixture at Bramall Lane saw them play out a 1-1 draw, but neutrals will be hoping the upcoming game is played out in similar style to the 5-4 victory Fulham managed back in November 2017.

18:235 months ago

Key Player from Sheffield United - Billy Sharp

Sticking with the striker theme, and someone who is also their club's top scorer is Billy Sharp, who is the player to watch from the visitors during Monday night's game.

He might not be reaching quite the same heights as his Serbian counterpart on the opposition side, but with 13 goals and assists in 23 games, it's not a bad record.

Now 35 years old, he is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, and as club captain he will want to continue leading by example, and potentially score his 100th goal for the Blades if he nets in this match.

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18:185 months ago

Key Player from Fulham - Aleksandar Mitrovic

If there's one player in football who is world-renowned for being an absolutely lethal striker in one league and one league only, it is without doubt Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The 27-year-old appears virtually unstoppable in the EFL Championship, scoring an astonishing 22 goals in just 21 games so far this season.

He has also picked up an impressive five assists along the way too, but being the top scorer in the league with a minutes per goal ratio of 83 is nothing short of incredible.

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18:135 months ago

Probable line-ups of Sheffield United

Team News of Sheffield United
  • Rhian Brewster is still recovering from a hamstring injury so is unavailable
  • Also absent will be midfielder Adlene Guedioura due to an ankle injury
  • Goalkeeper Robin Olsen still hasn't returned after suffering a muscle injury on international duty

Predicted XI

Foderingham; Basham, Egan, Davies; Bogle, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; Gibbs-White, McGoldrick, Sharp

18:085 months ago

Probable line-ups of Fulham

Team News of Fulham
  • 19-year-old forward Jay Stansfield will be out for this fixture
  • Other than that, Marco Silva said there were no other injury concerns
  • That said, COVID-19 could easily play a part if there are any last-minute positive tests

Predicted XI

Rodak; Tete, Adarabioyo, Ream, Bryan; Seri, Reid; Wilson, Carvalho, Kebano; Mitrovic

18:035 months ago

Who is the referee and his assistants?

The referee for Fulham vs Sheffield United will be James Linington, with his assistants being Ian Cooper and Lee Venamore.

The fourth official will be John Busby, but there is no VAR in England's second tier, which is a blessing to some and a nightmare for others (depending on the situation).

17:585 months ago

Sheffield United: Getting back on their feet

While the Blades were also only relegated last season from the Premier League, they suffered the fate in 20th place, in a worse position than their upcoming opponents.

This has reflected itself in this season's EFL Championship as, unlike Fulham, Sheffield United find themselves in 14th place, although they could climb up to 11th win a win.

They underwent a torrid start to this campaign, losing three and drawing two of their first five, and while the results did pick up a little, manager Slavisa Jokanovic was relieved of his duties a little under a month ago.

As a result, Paul Heckingbottom (caretaker manager at the end of last season) took over, and he has so far only managed two games, owing to recent postponements, but both have been wins, so he'll hope to carry that on into his third game in charge.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Paul Heckingbottom, Manager of Sheffield United applauds the fans prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Bristol City at Bramall Lane on November 28, 2021 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Paul Heckingbottom, Manager of Sheffield United applauds the fans prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Bristol City at Bramall Lane on November 28, 2021 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
17:535 months ago

Fulham: Flying high at the top

While last season may have been a disappointment for the Cottagers, finishing 18th in the Premier League, and therefore being relegated, they are looking to bounce back already.

Marco Silva's side sit top of the pile in the EFL Championship, two points above closest title rivals Bournemouth, as well as having a game in hand on them too.

That said, they have been on somewhat of a drawing run, finishing with a stalemate in each of their previous four games, making them winless since 20th November - a month ago.

It's a statistic they'll want to change on Monday night, in order to stretch their lead at the top and keep up their chances of going straight back up to the top flight by the end of the season.

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17:485 months ago

The match will be played at Craven Cottage

The Fulham vs Sheffield United match will be played at Craven Cottage, in Fulham, with a capacity of 19,300 people.

It's been Fulham's home since 1896 and is one of the oldest stadiums in the country, retaining its classic pillars within the stands right around the ground.

17:435 months ago

Welcome to VAVEL.com's live coverage of the 2021 EFL Championship match: Fulham vs Sheffield United live updates!

My name is Noah Robson and I'll be your host for this game. We will provide you with pre-game analysis, score updates, and news as it happens live here on VAVEL.

It's a Monday night clash under the lights at Craven Cottage with top of the table Fulham hosting mid-table Sheffield United.

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