FA Cup could offer Sheffield United silver lining to sorry season after narrow win over Plymouth Argyle


author image

This may yet go down as the worst ever campaign, but at least Sheffield United can reflect upon a January that has offered some respite.

They could record the lowest points tally in Premier League history but, after reaching the New Year without a victory of any description, they now have three: two in the FA Cup and a top-flight triumph over Newcastle. “There is no downside to winning games,” said Chris Wilder, who went almost six months without experiencing that feeling.

An FA Cup run could yet offer a silver lining to a sorry season. Winning briefly offered the novel sensation of a two-goal lead, something they had not enjoyed since July, and a reminder that this side was forged in League One and can prosper against third-tier teams.

Chris Basham and Billy Sharp were both recruited when United languished in League One and each struck against Plymouth, who now reside in mid-table there. The FA Cup draw has been kind. “It has given us an opportunity to find a bit of form,” said Wilder. Several of his players did but he noted: “It should have been far more comfortable.”

Like Bristol Rovers in the previous round, Argyle posed difficulties for United. Panutche Camara, who squandered the first half’s finest chance, scored in the second. There was no clean sheet for Aaron Ramsdale, whose troubled season continued and who ought to have saved Camara’s shot, even if Basham, who was caught in possession by Byron Moore, was also culpable. There was a distinctly nervy ending as Plymouth applied pressure.

At least Basham had already made a positive contribution. This was his first goal of the campaign but perhaps it was unsurprising he averted an upset. He is United’s putative player of the year, one who has maintained his standards even when others’ have slipped, and the overlapping centre-back overlapped to such an extent that he was four yards out when he headed in Sharp’s chipped cross.

The captain merited his goal for his movement; he evaded the Plymouth defence at will, even if he should have scored in the second minute when Oliver Norwood found him unmarked in the box. “Great pass, fabulous finish,” Wilder said. “Ollie had a difficult afternoon last Sunday so it was important for him to get back on the bike.”

When Norwood, the classiest passer on show, picked another hole in the Plymouth defence, the predatory Sharp raced on to his pass, skipped past goalkeeper Michael Cooper and found the unguarded net.

Sharp and Rhian Brewster were the two men to come in; Wilder looked for continuity to breed confidence by keeping nine starters. The two strikers experienced contrasting fortunes. The Under-20 World Cup winner Brewster has now drawn a blank on each of his 16 appearances. He had four opportunities to end his wait for a first Blades goal. Two drew decent saves from Michael Cooper. Two were directed wide. It mattered not on the day, but United’s probable demise this season can be traced in part to the £23 million spent on Brewster.

John Lundstram, who thumped a shot wide, was also wasteful. United have felt luckless at times this season and were again when Kelland Watts, with both arms raised above his head, handled Ethan Ampadu’s shot. Strangely, neither referee Lee Mason nor the VAR, Jarred Gillett, deemed it a penalty. “Dear me,” sighed Wilder.

But Plymouth have been a byword for entertainment this season and made a rich contribution. Luke Jephcott set up Camara, who blazed over from eight yards. After his redemptive goal, they pushed for an equaliser. “If there was another five minutes, who knows?” asked Argyle manager Ryan Lowe. “But we've done everyone proud."

India cancels school-leaving examinations
Reading List

Practitioners of mindful eating recommend the following books to get you started:

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung

How to Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Mindful Diet by Dr Ruth Wolever

Mindful Eating by Dr Jan Bays

How to Raise a Mindful Eaterby Maryann Jacobsen

Company profile

Date started: 2015

Founder: John Tsioris and Ioanna Angelidaki

Based: Dubai

Sector: Online grocery delivery

Staff: 200

Funding: Undisclosed, but investors include the Jabbar Internet Group and Venture Friends

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Expert advice

“Join in with a group like Cycle Safe Dubai or TrainYAS, where you’ll meet like-minded people and always have support on hand.”

Stewart Howison, co-founder of Cycle Safe Dubai and owner of Revolution Cycles

“When you sweat a lot, you lose a lot of salt and other electrolytes from your body. If your electrolytes drop enough, you will be at risk of cramping. To prevent salt deficiency, simply add an electrolyte mix to your water.”

Cornelia Gloor, head of RAK Hospital’s Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy Centre 

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can ride as fast or as far during the summer as you do in cooler weather. The heat will make you expend more energy to maintain a speed that might normally be comfortable, so pace yourself when riding during the hotter parts of the day.”

Chandrashekar Nandi, physiotherapist at Burjeel Hospital in Dubai
 

The biog

Simon Nadim has completed 7,000 dives. 

The hardest dive in the UAE is the German U-boat 110m down off the Fujairah coast. 

As a child, he loved the documentaries of Jacques Cousteau

He also led a team that discovered the long-lost portion of the Ines oil tanker. 

If you are interested in diving, he runs the XR Hub Dive Centre in Fujairah

 

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Remaining Fixtures

Wednesday: West Indies v Scotland
Thursday: UAE v Zimbabwe
Friday: Afghanistan v Ireland
Sunday: Final

'Skin'

Dir: Guy Nattiv

Starring: Jamie Bell, Danielle McDonald, Bill Camp, Vera Farmiga

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Scores:

Day 4

England 290 & 346
Sri Lanka 336 & 226-7 (target 301)

Sri Lanka require another 75 runs with three wickets remaining

Mobile phone packages comparison
MATCH INFO

FA Cup fifth round

Chelsea v Manchester United, Monday, 11.30pm (UAE), BeIN Sports

'Will of the People'

Artist: Muse
Label: Warner
Rating: 2.5/5

DUNE: PART TWO

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Timothee Chamalet, Zendaya, Austin Butler

Rating: 5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

'The Predator'
Dir: Shane Black
Starring: Olivia Munn, Boyd Holbrook, Keegan-Michael Key
Two and a half stars

West Indies v England ODI series:

West Indies squad: Jason Holder (c), Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas.

Fixtures:

1st ODI - February 20, Bridgetown

2nd ODI - February 22, Bridgetown

3rd ODI - February 25, St George's

4th ODI - February 27, St George's

5th ODI - March 2, Gros Islet

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The specs: 2024 Mercedes E200

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo + mild hybrid
Power: 204hp at 5,800rpm +23hp hybrid boost
Torque: 320Nm at 1,800rpm +205Nm hybrid boost
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
On sale: November/December
Price: From Dh205,000 (estimate)

Three ways to get a gratitude glow

By committing to at least one of these daily, you can bring more gratitude into your life, says Ong.

  • During your morning skincare routine, name five things you are thankful for about yourself.
  • As you finish your skincare routine, look yourself in the eye and speak an affirmation, such as: “I am grateful for every part of me, including my ability to take care of my skin.”
  • In the evening, take some deep breaths, notice how your skin feels, and listen for what your skin is grateful for.

Latest
Most Read
Top Videos