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What the opposition saw | Crystal Palace (H)

We quizzed Tom Maslona the editor of the Crytal Palace fanzine, Five Year Plan Fanzine. Read his thoughts on the game, following the Blades' 1-0 home win. Website -

How did you enjoy Bramall Lane?

I love Bramall Lane. I don't think some people realise just how big a club United are. I first came here about 30 years ago and the atmosphere is always fantastic. The only thing that's really changed in that time is the replacement of the terraces with seats.

As a spectacle, what would you give the game out of 10?

I didn't think it was a good game. Let's be honest, there was a lack of quality but predominantly from us. I text a mate of mine during the game and wrote, 'I don't think they've realised how bad we are yet' and, in the second half, you came out and put us under a lot more pressure and got the win that you deserved. 5 out of 10.

What did you make to both side's performance?

I think we are a bad side. Palace are so reliant on Wilf Zaha and without Wan-Bissaka, who's gone to United, and with Sakho and Tomkins injured, we really lack quality. There is a lack of creativity in the side and all of our failings were on display in this game. We huff and puff but if Wilf is not on his game then there's not a lot there. I thought that we may have a bit too much nous for you but we were so poor. I predict a season of struggle for us.

What were your overall thoughts on the game, and was it a fair result?

You may not like me saying this but I think you'll have to do more to stay up. I expected Blades to play with more intensity, particularly in your first home game, but you seemed neat up to the final third in the first half and then didn't seem to commit players forward. In the second you improved and were comfortably the better side. You struck me as a neat side that wants to get the ball down and play but there seemed to be an absence of real quality in the team.

What did you make to Sheffield United's style of play, what were our strengths and weaknesses, did you overcome them?

Chris Wilder has, rightly, got a lot of plaudits for getting Blades promoted and for your style of play but I think you could find yourself overrun at times. We lack pace, power and creativity but that's not the case for a lot of sides and I could see sides overpowering you. You're clearly organised and well-managed. Whilst he was poor, Zaha was identified as the threat and Baldock and Basham didn't give him a sniff early on. Ollie Norwood got the ball down more effectively later on in the game and pinged a few decent passes but, as I say, I think you may lack a bit of quality and struggle to break sides down. That's why I'd rather see you play with more intensity.

Who were Sheffield United's key men?

I was impressed with George Baldock but the United player that I really like is Dean Henderson. I know he's a Man United player but it would be good if you could sign him permanently. He didn't have a lot to do today but I saw him a couple of times for Shrewsbury and then on TV for you guys last season and I think he's excellent. If I was Gareth Southgate, I'd look to bring him in as soon as I could .

Will the Blades stay up this season, yes or no?

I'd love the Blades to stay up. You're a big club with brilliant supporters who create a passionate atmosphere. Bramall Lane will have to become a fortress and that atmosphere could be key in inspiring your players. I hope you'll stay up but I have my doubts. To be honest, I'm a little bit more concerned about Palace at the moment!

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