Sheffield United’s return to the Premier League has been marked by a winless start, yet there have been notable bright spots, especially from their new signings Vinícius Souza and Gustavo Hamer. But this piece will focus on Hamer, who they bought for £15 million from Coventry [Sky Sports]. He has already provided optimism for their ability to remain in the league.
Hamer made an impressive mark on his Premier League debut with a remarkable goal against Nottingham Forest, which only had a 2% goal probability [SofaScore]. He displayed hard work and dedication to the defensive side of things in a narrow loss to Manchester City. And he played a pivotal role at home against Everton, having delivered an excellent cross to Oli McBurnie who then set up Cameron Archer’s first goal, he then delivered a sublime pass to set up Archer for the second goal.
For Sheffield United, two crucial factors to stay in the Premier League are hard work and quality, and Hamer has demonstrated both in his first three starts.
High football IQ
I really can’t stop talking about Hamer because, for me, he is one of the most intelligent players the Blades have had. And it’s just simple things that make a big difference.
This for example. Hamer has rotated from a more central position and gone to drift out wide. He recognises that Everton are in a man-for-man defensive system. Baldock occupies Young at left-back, and Hamer can see that. While Danjuma is forced to pressure the man on the ball, Ahmedhodzic, Hamer knows he can ghost into the free space down the flank. His reading of the game and his excellent final third passing results in a Sheffield United goal.
Another example which outlines his best qualities is in the build up to the second goal.
When the ball is being played to Hamer, he recognises that Everton’s right-back was playing touch-tight to him, now he knows there will be a space in the right-back position. At the same time, he knows if he takes a couple of touches to turn and face the goal the space will now be occupied, as the defender runs back to his position. Therefore, he decides to chest the ball down and cleverly volley the ball over his shoulder into the free space for Archer to run onto. From that point, Archer went into a one-vs-one, got a yard of space to take a shot and he got a well-earned bit of luck when the ball hit the post but bounced in off of Pickford’s head.
Defensive work rate
Hamer’s athleticism remained evident throughout the match, even in the final moments against Everton. In the 96th minute, he blocked a shot from Dwight McNeil, and in the 97th minute, he swiftly regained possession, which was remarkable considering his earlier defensive efforts.
According to the statistics, Hamer has recorded 11.44 sprinting pressures per 90 minutes in this season’s Premier League. Sprinting pressure refers to the act of a player closing down an opponent while maintaining a speed of 25 km/h or higher.
And you can see here, he ranks 5th-best in the Premier League at average speed when pressing, covering 5.76 m/s.
This image sums Hamer up. He has gone from standing in a wall for a freekick, to chasing down the short option of the freekick. The player chooses to clip the ball into the box but it’s headed away. And Hamer covers the ground to beat Gueye to the ball, even though the Everton player has a five yard headstart. Hamer’s hard yards won the Blades a throw-in which took the pressure off the defence.
Gustavo Hamer is only going to get better after the international break. He’s already been involved in three Sheffield United goals. When the Blades signed him, I predicted that he would get around 15 G/A, and although his contribution to the goals versus Everton aren’t counting as assists, his quick-thinking and crisp passing was on full display.
No matter what happens this season, he will be a revelation to watch.