Sheffield United 2-2 Everton: Archer hits the bullseye as Blades claim first point of the season

With both sides still in search of their first points of the 2023/24 Premier League season, Everton’s trip to Bramall Lane would be viewed as an early six-pointer – and one final chance for either side to kickstart their respective campaign ahead of the international break.

SHU: Foderingham; Robinson, Egan, Ahmedhodzic; Larouci, Hamer, Norwood, Souza, Baldock; Archer, McBurnie

EVE: Pickford; Young, Braithwaite, Tarkowski, Patterson; Danjuma, Onana, Gueye, Garner; Doucore, Beto

With plenty to play for in the Steel City, it was the hosts that started as the brighter of the two sides. Early chances for the Blades saw Egan latch onto Norwood’s free-kick at the back post, but the defender’s headed effort was directed straight into the grateful gloves of Pickford.

But with just under fifteen minutes played at Bramall Lane, it was the Toffees that netted the opener. Finding space outside the box, Beto unleashed an effort on goal – but a deflection forced Sean Dyche’s side to settle for a corner. The resulting set-piece saw Foderingham produce a superb save to deny the initial effort, but Doucoure was well-placed to pummel the rebound over the line.

Danjuma could have doubled the lead almost immediately as he cut inside from the left flank, but the Dutchman attempted to take the shot on himself and was unable to find a way past Foderingham.

With thirty minutes on the clock, Everton looked sure to add to their advantage as a misplaced pass from Robinson allowed Danjuma to dart through on goal once more. Under pressure though, the forward sent his strike wide of the target.

Merely minutes later, it was Archer that restored parity at Bramall Lane. Hamer’s hard work on the right flank created space for a cross, with McBurnie the desired recipient. Laying the ball off expertly for his strike partner, the young forward was able to slam a convincing effort past Pickford – and the game was well and truly on.

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On the stroke of half time, Everton looked sure to restore their lead as Beto sent Danjuma through on goal. A woeful first touch from the Dutchman brought an end to the move though, with Foderingham able to dash out and claim possession.

It was a self-inflicted end to an opportunity that would come back to bite the Toffees, as Sheffield United were able to send Bramall Lane into euphoria in stoppage time. A fantastic strike from Archer found the woodwork, though the rebound was sent crashing into the back of the net via Pickford’s back – and the England international shotstopper won’t want to see that mishap again!

Dyche’s side felt they should have been awarded a penalty just minutes into the second half, as Beto was hauled down by Ahmedhodzic on the edge of the box – although a VAR check found that the challenge took place just outside of the area.

The Toffees would equalise soon after though, with Danjuma making amends for his earlier errors. Beto’s ball for Patterson was delivered with precision, allowing the right-back to fire a cross into the box for the Dutchman – and this time his finish was buried beautifully to level the scores.

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With the Blades faithful granted an opportunity to watch Thomas in action for the first time, the young left-back sought to make a rapid impression from the bench as he tested Pickford just moments after his introduction – but the ‘keeper was equal to the chance.

Pickford was to impress further deep inside stoppage time, producing a stunning double save to deny McBurnie twice – parrying his initial effort onto the woodwork before smothering the rebound. That would be the last action of the match, and both teams’ first point of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign.

Both sides will return to Premier League action next Saturday, with Sheffield United facing Tottenham Hotspur at 15:00, while Everton host Arsenal at 17:30.