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Sheffield United vs Norwich City. Premier League.

Bramall LaneAttendance31,379.

Sheffield United 1

  • B Sharp (36th minute)

Norwich City 0

    Sheffield United 1-0 Norwich: Billy Sharp and Dean Henderson ensure victory for hosts

    Report and highlights as Sheffield United move up to sixth, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea

    Sunday 8 March 2020 07:49, UK

    preview image 2:58
    FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Sheffield United against Norwich in the Premier League

    Sheffield United closed in on the Premier League's top four after Billy Sharp's first-half header and Dean Henderson's superb late save secured a 1-0 victory over bottom side Norwich at Bramall Lane.

    After Teemu Pukki struck the upright from close range in the 14th minute, the Blades took control and Sharp headed home John Lundstram's brilliant cross in the 36th minute for his third in four games.

    It proved to be the only goal of the game but only because of a remarkable piece of goalkeeping from Henderson to deny Ben Godfrey, Mario Vrancic and Josep Drmic from close range as the Blades stayed firmly in the hunt for European qualification.

    Chris Wilder's side, who are up to sixth for a few hours at least, find themselves two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who face Everton, live on Sky Sports on Super Sunday.

    Meanwhile, Norwich's chances of survival take a huge dent with Daniel Farke's team still six points adrift of safety with nine matches remaining.

    Henderson's world-class saves in pictures

    SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Norwich City at Bramall Lane on March 7, 2020 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
    Henderson
    Dean Henderson
    Henderson

    WATCH: Henderson's heroic triple save...

    Henderson
0:53
    Sheffield United's Dean Henderson produced a stunning triple goal-line save to prevent Norwich from scoring in their 1-0 win in the Premier League.

    How Sheffield United maintained their European push...

    Sheffield United started brightly and Oli McBurnie should have done better after being picked out by Sharp, but the striker's header was straight at Tim Krul, who tipped the ball over the crossbar.

    However, Norwich had an even better chance when Ondrej Duda's far-post cross was headed back across goal by Pukki but in attempting to clear the danger George Baldock headed the ball straight back to the Finland international, whose shot from inside the six-yard box struck the upright.

    More on this story

    Player ratings

    Sheffield United: Henderson (8), Baldock (6), O’Connell (7), Egan (7), Basham (7), Stevens (7), Norwood (7), Fleck (7), Lundstram (8), Sharp (8), McBurnie (7).

    Subs: Osborn (6), McGoldrick (6), Berge (n/a).

    Norwich: Krul (6), Aarons (7), Hanley (8), Godfrey (7), Lewis (7), McLean (7), Tettey (6), Buendia (5), Duda (6), Cantwell (5), Pukki (5).

    Subs: Drmic (6), Vrancic (5), Idah (n/a).

    Man of the match: Dean Henderson.

    The Blades started to dominate the game and bombarded the Norwich penalty area with crosses, and they would have had the lead in the 33rd minute but for Kenny McLean's last-ditch block to keep out Jack O'Connell's goal bound strike.

    They did not have long to wait for the breakthrough though, as three minutes later Sharp popped up to head past Krul after being picked out by Lundstram's inch-perfect cross from the right.

    Sheffield United's Billy Sharp celebrates scoring his sides first goal
    Image: Sheffield United's Billy Sharp celebrates scoring against Norwich

    Norwich were on the ropes and Wilder's side could have extended their lead just before the break as Sharp returned the favour to Lundstram, but the midfielder's shot was straight at Krul, who made a comfortable save.

    Norwich made a change at the break with Josip Drmic replacing Todd Cantwell and the substitute got straight into the action as he rose above Chris Basham to send a header wide.

    At the other end, Basham produced an excellent piece of skill, lifting the ball over McLean but the defender could not test Krul, steering his shot over the crossbar.

    Then came Henderson's moment. He was called into action with 11 minutes remaining and he produced a world-class multiple save to show why he is so highly regarded.

    Emiliano Buendia's corner was met with a powerful header by Ben Godfrey but, under pressure from Mario Vrancic, Henderson got down low to his left to claw the ball away, before showing good reactions to keep out Vrancic's effort right on his own goalline.

    Team news

    Enda Stevens returned to the Sheffield United team for their game against Norwich. The left-back missed the FA Cup fifth-round win at Reading in midweek with a tight calf but Blades boss Chris Wilder was always confident Stevens would be fit again in time for the weekend.

    Midfielder John Fleck was also absent at the Madejski Stadium, but he too lined up against the Canaries. The only change from the last league game - a 1-1 home draw with Brighton – saw John Lundstram replace Sander Berge in midfield, with the club-record signing dropping down to the bench.

    After making changes for the cup win at Tottenham, Norwich boss Daniel Farke named the same side that started their Premier League win against Leicester eight days ago. Christoph Zimmermann replaced Tom Trybull on the bench.

    The rebound then fell to Drmic and he looked almost certain to equalise for the visitors, but Henderson was in the way once again before a combination of David McGoldrick and the crossbar denied Drmic again.

    Norwich were inches from an equaliser and Jamal Lewis was next to be denied by Henderson, who palmed the full-back's volley away to safety as the Blades held on for what could prove to be a crucial three points.

    Man of the Match - Dean Henderson

    Henderson

    The Sheffield United goalkeeper was largely untested against Norwich, but when finally called upon 11 minutes from time he delivered.

    The on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper produced a world-class piece of goalkeeping to ensure victory for his side, showing in the process why he is being spoken about as a potential England number one for this summer's European Championships.

    The 22-year-old has kept 10 clean sheets in his 27 Premier League games this season - becoming the 11th 'keeper to reach double figures under the age of 23, and the fourth English 'keeper to do so after Joe Hart, Scott Carson and Jack Butland.

    What the managers said…

    Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder on goalkeeper Dean Henderson: "He's not had a great deal to do and then he's made some important saves, but that's what the best ones do. Dean, in my opinion, is one of the best.

    "He has had a fantastic season and he has a big 10 games to play and hopefully some more cup games and I would be very, very surprised if he is not named in the upcoming England squad. I'm sure he will be and I'm sure he will get an opportunity in one of the two games as well. He's got everything to play for.

    preview image 3:19
    Chris Wilder says the team are just rolling on and enjoying life in the Premier League after their 1-0 win over Norwich

    "He has matured and his concentration levels are fantastic, as we saw today. He's got a huge desire to take his game to the very top. He's a confident boy, he's not shy, but he backs it up."

    Asked about the prospect of Champions League football at Bramall Lane next season, Wilder replied: "The stats are there and the league table is there, we can't shy away from it. There's some great games to come for us, starting with a huge game at Newcastle next week."

    Norwich boss Daniel Farke on Teemu Pukki's struggles in front of goal: "We give him lots of trust and he knows he has a head coach who backs him and trusts him. He had a good situation today and it is one where he normally scores but even such an experienced player has dry spells and suffers a bit with confidence.

    2:32
    Daniel Farke admits football is a game of fine margins after Norwich lost 1-0 at Sheffield United

    "Sometimes there are times where you just have to watch the ball and it goes in, other times from four or five yards out you can't even get it over the line. Teemu needs a goal from open play and sometimes what you need in this situation is a dirty goal, maybe a ball deflects in off him or the centre-back hits the ball against his back and it flies in. I hope he finds a finish pretty soon."

    Opta stats

    • Sheffield United have won home and away against Norwich in a single league season for the first time since the 1938-39 campaign in the second tier.
    • The Blades have lost just two of their last 11 Premier League home games (W6 D3), winning two of their last three.
    • Norwich City have won fewer away points in the Premier League this season than any other side (six).

    What's next?

    Sheffield United are back in action next Saturday - March 14 - when they travel to St James' Park to face Newcastle; kick-off 3pm.

    Norwich also play at 3pm next Saturday and they host Southampton at Carrow Road.

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