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Haller drive gives West Ham win over Sheffield United

Sheffield United - West Ham

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22: Sebastien Haller of West Ham United scores during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and West Ham United at Bramall Lane on November 22, 2020 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

West Ham United FC via Getty Ima

Sheffield United - West Ham: Sebastien Haller’s early second-half goal drove West Ham United past Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

The Irons’ 14 points are good for eighth, three points off the top four.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

Oli McBurnie smashed the cross bar for somewhat unlucky Blades, who are dead-last with one point after nine matches of the Premier League season


Three things we learned from Sheffield United - West Ham

1. Rice’s success drives West Ham. Could it sway Rice? Declan Rice has been tremendous in leading the Irons to the top half of the table. Much-linked with a big money move to Chelsea, could the club’s success on the pitch -- again, largely driven by him -- convince him to delay a move away from London for a while. He’ll only have to look to Jack Grealish to see that life can be fine without the materialization of a big club move. Rice has been phenomenal.

2. Blades unlucky but in trouble: Chris Wilder’s men are on a woeful run of results and were second-best on Sunday but not by a lot. Oli McBurnie could’ve had two and the second was a venomous rip off the underside of the bar. One point through nine matches won’t do it, nor with four goals, but there was some brightness in this loss.

There is not brightness in this stat:

3. Haller sparked? The Irons didn’t sign Sebastian Haller simply to step-in when Michail Antonio was injured, so could the big striker refind his star status? Haller’s unstoppable lone goal joined his marker on debut for the Ivory Coast last week to give him his first goals since bagging five in a 13-day September span. Haller scored four of his seven PL goals last season by October and has yet to show the form that got him a 15-goal, 9-assist Bundesliga campaign for Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018-19. Maybe?

Man of the Match: Declan Rice

Sheffield United - West Ham recap

West Ham led a promising rush in the 28th minute only to see Vladimir Coufal thwarted by a great reaction save by Aaron Ramsdale.

The next best chance fell for Tomas Soucek, but the West Ham man’s side-footed effort of a Sebastien Haller headed pass zipped wide of the near post from eight yards.

Blades found two chances before half, with Oli McBurnie’s snapped header saved by Lukasz Fabianski and an offside denying decent danger on the ensuing corner.

West Ham found one more sequence before the break, John Egan blocking Jarrod Bowen’s shot and the Blades then dealing with the resulting corner kick.

[ MORE: Premier League table, box scores, stats ]

Declan Rice nearly set up a goal with a terrific lifting of the Blades’ defensive lid, but Ethan Ampadu intervened enough for Ramsdale to reach the ball.

West Ham got its breakthrough in the 56th through Haller, Bowen and Pablo Fornals combining to set up a rip that Ramsdale only got a piece of on its way to the back of the goal.

Haller could’ve had it 2-0 but he couldn’t turn Arthur Masuaku’s hard-hit short pass into the goal after Rice led the rush.

And yet it could’ve been 1-1 were it not for McBurnie’s dynamic drive down the left ending with a rocket that clattered off the cross bar and fired back outside the 18.

Follow @NicholasMendola