Blades, Fulham collect first points of Premier League season
Sheffield United - Fulham: Aleksandar Mitrovic missed a penalty and conceded another as Fulham blew a late lead to draw also-winless Sheffield United 1-1 at Bramall Lane on Sunday.
Ademola Lookman’s 77th-minute goal helped Fulham make amends for Mitrovic’s missed penalty but Scott Parker was denied a first PL win of the season when Billy Sharp scored an 85th-minute penalty.
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Lookman, 22, scored his first Premier League goal since his debut for Everton on Jan. 15, 2017, against Manchester City.
Fulham and Blades both earn first points of the season after five matches each, but the former has a forgiving run of fixtures next while United will be challenged to find another result out of the next nine available points.
Three things we learned from Sheffield United - Fulham
1. Mitrovic, Robinson focal points: Sheffield United’s Jack Robinson conceded a penalty with a raised arm but then drew one with a raised leg. Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic smashed the bar with the first penalty and conceded another with his kick to Robinson, who had already popped the ball well into the air. Mitrovic also had a handful of headers and shots to score but just couldn’t get the job done.
2. One point and differing futures: The Cottagers will lament losing two of the three points after their early lead but will also hope to build on the result given an upcoming run of fixtures which includes Crystal Palace, West Brom, and West Ham. Blades, meanwhile, have to face Liverpool, Man City, and Chelsea. We know they can do big things in the PL but they will still could easily have one point through eight matches.
3. Ream-Robinson strong on the left: American defenders Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson were part of a much-improved performance from Fulham’s backs, the veteran left center back passing at 88 percent while winning two tackles and making two interceptions. Robinson impressed again at left back, raging up and down the left while making a trio of interceptions, clearances, and tackles.
Man of the Match
Lookman. The English winger’s goal could’ve been the winner and he might’ve also had a stoppage-time assist if Mitrovic could turn his header on goal.
Sheffield United - Fulham recap
It was all Blades out of the gates, with Oli McBurnie flashing a header wide of the goal and Chris Basham just missing with a low shot across goal.
Sheffield United was also forced into an early change when PL debutant Max Long, just acquired from Derby County, collided with Ruben Loftus-Cheek was suffered a head injury.
McBurnie was denied by Alphonse Areola and thought he’d seen his team open the scoring when Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo put a Sander Berge cross in his own goal, but the play was offside.
Aleksandar Mitrovic beat the wall but not Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale with a dangerous free kick before halftime.
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There was another offside chance as McBurnie pumped another header to Areola.
McBurnie won a free kick a yard outside the left edge of the 18 but Fulha cleared the 50th-minute danger.
Jack Robinson’s flailing hand blocked a cross to send Fulham to the spot in the 57th minute but Mitrovic sent his penalty off the top of the cross bar.
Robinson saved the day on a Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa-led rush that Ivan Cavaleiro couldn’t cross to the back post on a 4v2 Fulham rush.
Rhian Brewster subbed into the match to make his Blades debut with 25 minutes to play.
But it was a Fulham new boy who delivered the goal, Lookman cutting past Berge and keeping control through a Basham challenge to slot past Ramsdale.
The Blades keeper would make a point-blank save on Mitrovic a minute later as Fulham looked to put the result to bed.
But Mitrovic’s misery increased when his 50-50 challenge to clear an Areola spill hit a kicking Robinson’s leg after the defender hit the ball. Sharp converted his penalty with authority.