Despite a significantly improved second-half performance, Sheffield United suffered a 2-0 defeat to West Ham in the capital , leaving Paul Heckingbottom’s men rooted to the foot of the table on goal difference.
Jarrod Bowen and Tomáš Souček’s first-half goals secured the win for the Hammers, leaving the Blades still in pursuit of their elusive first victory.
Heckingbottom made a single change for the London stadium trip, recalling Oli McBurnie after his one-match ban with Oli Norwood dropping to the bench alongside Rhian Brewster, making his first appearance in a matchday squad since October 2022.
West Ham: Areola, Zouma, Coufal, Ward-Prowse, Antonio (Kudus 72), Paquetá (Fornals 90), Álvarez (Benrahma 72), Bowen (Mavropanos 90), Aguerd, Souček, Emerson.
Unused: Fabianski, Cornet, Ings, Ogbonna, Kehrer.
Blades: Foderingham, Hamer (Slimane 79), McBurnie, Archer (Brewster 79), Egan (Basham 55), Thomas, Ahmedhodžić, Robinson, Bogle (Trusty 79), Souza, McAtee (T. Davies 70).
Unused: A. Davies, Traoré, Norwood, Larouci.
The start of the match saw early opportunities for Sheffield United to get forward, but it was West Ham that looked the most threatening with Souček heading over and Paquetá being denied. And West Ham claimed the lead with Bowen’s finish on 24 minutes, with Antonio threatening a second until Egan and Ahmedhodžić thwarted the danger.
McAtee received a booking for what appeared to be a fair challenge. In the 37th minute, Souček bundled the ball past Foderingham after capitalising on Hamer’s loss of possession in his own half, doubling the hosts’ advantage.
McBurnie had a prime opportunity to narrow the deficit shortly after the restart, but his effort went wide at a difficult angle. Before halftime, Álvarez received a caution, and Archer narrowly missed connecting with Hamer’s back-post header.
The Blades faced an unfortunate injury setback early in the second period with Egan limping off and Basham taking over as captain while Ahmedhodžić shifted to the center of the back three. Chances were scarce as Tom Davies joined the game with about 20 minutes remaining.
McBurnie missed the target with a header from a Robinson throw, and appeals for a penalty arose when Bogle’s shot struck the arm of a defender, but there was no VAR check. With time running out, United made a triple substitution, bringing on Brewster, Slimane, and Trusty for: Archer, Hamer, and Bogle.
The changes had a positive effect on the game for the Blades as Davies, Souza and Slimane attempted to pull the strings to get United back in the game, however, they didn’t create a clear cut chance.
West Ham remained a threat on the counterattack as they looked to kill the game off, but the defence stood strong, particularly Ahmedhodzic who speared the Blades on.
The match concluded with a somewhat subdued ending, despite Slimane having a couple of chances. He tested Areola with the first opportunity and narrowly curled wide with the second, but, in the end, it marked yet another away trip without reward for Sheffield United.
Up next for the Blades is back to back trips to London to face Marco Silva’s Fulham at Craven Cottage, before the October international break.