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Slavisa Jokanovic is set to confirmed as Sheffield United’s new manager after a successful second round of talks.

United met Jokanovic for a second time on Wednesday when they thrashed out the terms for him to take over at Bramall Lane.

Both sides felt the talks went well and Jokanovic could be announced as Chris Wilder’s permanent successor within the next 48 hours.

The Serb, who has won promotion to the Premier League with Watford and Fulham, was left off the Blades’ original five-man shortlist as they pursued other candidates.

KV Oostende coach Alexander Blessin was their initial favoured choice before United realised they would struggle to obtain a work permit for the German because of the post-Brexit rules.

The Blades then considered appointing caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom on a permanent basis when Blessin was no longer possible, but the fans were lukewarm about him because of his links to rivals Barnsley, Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday.

Heckingbottom also did not manage much of an upturn in results in his 11 games in caretaker charge.

He knew before United’s final game of the season against Burnley on Sunday that he would not get the job permanently and is happy to revert to his role as Under-23s boss.

Club Brugge’s Philippe Clement was also on the shortlist and, like Blessin, was identified by United board member and de facto director of football Belgian Jan van Winckel.

But United have gone for Jokanovic after being impressed with him in their two meetings.

They feel the former Chelsea midfielder is the right coach to turn United around and mount a promotion push next season.

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Eberechi Eze scored one goal and set up another as Crystal Palace confirmed their Premier League status for another season in a 2-0 victory at Sheffield United.

Christian Benteke marked his 100th PL start with a goal after only 66 seconds as his shot from Eze’s through-ball deflected in.

Palace largely controlled play and were denied a second when Aaron Ramsdale brilliantly kept out Benteke’s header just before half-time.

Sheff Utd improved in the second half and 17-year-old striker Daniel Jebbison nearly had a dream debut as he headed over Ben Osborn’s cross.

Eze capped the win late on with a solo run from inside his own half before his deflected shot beat Ramsdale.

A first win in five matches lifts Palace to 13th with 41 points, 14 above the relegation zone.

Sheff Utd remain bottom on 17 points.

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Gareth Bale scored a stunning hat-trick as Tottenham kept themselves in the Champions League qualification race with a 4-0 win over Sheffield United.

Bale claimed his first Spurs treble since 2012 with a trio of brilliant finishes to move his side into fifth, five points off Chelsea with four games left to play.

Son Heung-min also scored a fine goal as Ryan Mason’s men ran riot against a Blades side whose relegation fate has already been sealed.

Bale was unplayable and took his Premier League tally to eight goals in the last eight games, but with that must come a sense of what might have been this season.

Bale was alarmingly under-used by former boss Jose Mourinho, even when he had regained peak condition, and playing with freedom in a front four with Harry Kane, Son and Dele Alli, Spurs were a constant threat and a far cry from the pragmatic style that dogged Mourinho’s era.

It may have come too late to gatecrash the top four this season, but playing like this makes them a strong bet to finish in a Europa League spot.

The onslaught started early as Son forced Aaron Ramsdale into a smart stop, with the Blades goalkeeper getting a strong hand to a low shot that was heading into the bottom corner.

Kane, on the march for a third Premier League golden boot, uncharacteristically missed two chances he would normally convert, first seeing a shot blocked after slaloming into the area and then skying Sergio Reguilon’s pull-back embarrassingly over.

But Spurs finally went ahead in the 36th minute with a moment of quality.

Bale broke from deep to latch on to Serge Aurier’s ball over the top and then sent it past Ramsdale with a cute finish with the outside of his boot.

The Wales international was back in the starting line-up after missing out in the Carabao Cup final and delivered his 12th goal in all competitions.

Spurs were cursing VAR twice in the opening seven minutes of the second half.

First Peter Bankes ruled that John Fleck did not commit violent conduct when he appeared to stamp on Giovani Lo Celso’s face and then VAR ruled out a Son goal, judging the South Korean’s armpit to be in an offside position when he ran on to Toby Alderweireld’s long ball.

The hosts were not denied for long, however, as they did double their lead just after the hour with a devastating counter attack.

After clearing a Blades corner, Son evaded two challenges and sent Bale clear on goal, with the Welshman delivering an emphatic finish into the top corner.

Bale, whose future next season remains unclear, then completed his hat-trick with another moment of quality, drilling in a low effort after a fine team move which involved Alli and Aurier.

Bale’s treble was of a high standard, but Son may lay claim to scoring the goal of the night with 13 minutes remaining.

Son received the ball on the left from Steven Bergwijn, cut inside and sent a curling effort from 20 yards in off the far post.

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Alexandre Lacazette’s brace either side of a Gabriel Martinelli strike gave Arsenal a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United which lifts the Gunners into the top half of the Premier League table.

Arsenal had the better of the first-half chances, Martinelli finding the side-netting and later forcing goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale into a smart save.

And they took the lead when Bukayo Saka and Dani Ceballos exchanged passes before the latter produced an exquisite flick for Lacazette to round off a fine team move on 33 minutes.

Ramsdale then parried Nicolas Pepe’s shot into Martinelli’s path for a tap-in before Lacazette completed the scoring late on when played through on goal.

Arsenal’s first away Premier League victory over the Blades puts them on 45 points, above Leeds United and into ninth, with seven matches remaining.

Sheff Utd remain bottom with 14 points.

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Chelsea coasted into the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Sheffield United courtesy of Oliver Norwood’s own goal and a late Hakim Ziyech strike.

Christian Pulisic spurned two big chances to put the much-changed Blues out of sight, teeing up some tense closing exchanges as the Blades awoke from an hour’s submission to start to threaten.

David McGoldrick nodded wide when unmarked deep in the Chelsea area, a miss that proved a key reprieve for the Blues.

And replacement Ziyech capped a fine last-gasp counter-attack to seal victory and place in the last four.

Even amid a circumspect performance Chelsea still merited victory, extending boss Thomas Tuchel’s club record-breaking unbeaten start to 14 matches

Toothless for 60 minutes, the Blades’ only early bite came amid a string of needless tackles, many off the ball, and a handful directed at Pulisic.

Had the visitors invested as much energy reserved for the dark arts in attempting to carry out their game plan in that opening hour, the tie could have been very different.

Instead Chelsea were allowed to meander to a victory as low key as it was routine, escaping several late wobbles to ease into the last four.

Boss Tuchel made nine changes from the 2-0 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, with Billy Gilmour handed a rare start in midfield.

The German was not happy with the performance, making a host of changes just past the hour mark in a bid to inject some impetus into the Blues’ showing.

But the demanding boss will certainly be content with the result, especially with widespread rotation helping to manage the fixture glut.

Chelsea took the lead without even registering a shot on target.

Chilwell’s drilled ball into the area deflected off Norwood and into the Blades midfielder’s own net.

A cagey first half yielded precious few chances and the visitors entirely wasted the point of their 4-4-2 formation

A tactical switch designed to exploit space behind Chelsea’s wing backs, the Blades never even sought those areas let alone raided the flanks.

Chelsea were perfectly happy to play the ball in front of the passive Blades, who also made a clear purpose of not pressing their opponents.

Pulisic should have doubled the lead when sneaking in, but could not dink the ball high enough to beat the onrushing Aaron Ramsdale.

The United States forward wasted another glorious chance straight after the interval, seemingly stunned to stroll past two defenders and still have bags of time when through on goal.

All that time created the chance for thought and, rather than smash his laces through the ball, Pulisic went for placement but scuffed his strike, allowing Ramsdale to bat away to safety.

McGoldrick missed a gilt-edged chance for the Blades – their best opening – as Chelsea’s foot came too far off the gas.

Oliver McBurnie then stung Kepa Arrizabalaga’s palms from distance as finally the Blades made Chelsea work.

Rhian Brewster flashed wide when latching on to a second ball at the death, but Chelsea held on – and even had time for Ziyech to seal their progress.

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Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first Premier League hat-trick as rampant Leicester put sorry Sheffield United to the sword at the King Power Stadium.

Ayoze Perez’s strike and an Ethan Ampadu own goal sealed a 5-0 success for the Foxes which saw them return to second place in the table, ahead of Manchester United’s game against West Ham later.

For the Blades, it rounded off a difficult week which had seen the departure of manager Chris Wilder the day before the match.

Sunday brought the day United fans never wanted to contemplate – the first game after the Wilder era.

There has been few more remarkable or romantic stories in English football than the Sheffield lad and Blades supporter who dreamed longingly out at the hallowed Bramall Lane turf as a ballboy, who would then play for the club he loved and pack the kop with his friends and family, lead them from the stagnancy of the third tier to a top-half finish in the Premier League, and make a fanbase fall in love with their team once more.

It took Wilder just four years, but nine months on the club’s injury crisis coupled with the financial realities of top-flight football for a recently-promoted team and – crucially – fundamental differences exposed between Wilder and the owner, the bubble burst.

Under-23s coach Paul Heckingbottom took charge on Sunday but it was the same old story for the Blades, as they struggled to make an impression or trouble Leicester as an attacking threat. The Foxes dominated and could have won by a bigger margin.

Jamie Vardy dragged a 20-yard shot wide after eight minutes before Perez’s glancing header was touched on to the post by Aaron Ramsdale shortly afterwards. Ramsdale then blocked a low shot from Vardy with his legs.

Leicester made the breakthrough six minutes before half-time. Some sharp, incisive passing between Youri Tielemans and Perez resulted in Vardy getting in behind the Blades defence down the left-hand side. His low cross left Iheanacho with a simple tap-in from close range.

Five minutes into the second half, Iheanacho tried to return the favour for Vardy but he saw his effort brilliantly headed off the line by Chris Basham.

Iheanacho then put Vardy through on goal after an hour but once again Ramsdale denied the diminutive striker with his legs.

A second goal was coming and Leicester doubled their lead after 64 minutes. Marc Albrighton led a counter-attack after the Blades had a free-kick in a dangerous position, and teed-up Perez who found the bottom corner with a strike from the edge of the penalty area.

Five minutes later, it was 3-0 to the Foxes. Vardy was the provider for Iheanacho once more, with the striker guiding the ball past goalkeeper Ramsdale from 12 yards.

Iheanacho completed his hat-trick after 78 minutes, driving a low shot from 25 yards beyond Ramsdale and into the bottom corner of the net.

It was the Nigerian striker’s first Premier League treble, and he looked quite emotional as the game restarted.

It got worse for the Blades two minutes later when Vardy’s shot from the left side of the penalty area, which looked to be heading wide, ended up in the back of the net via the outstretched leg of Ampadu.

It should have been six, and another goal for Iheanacho, but his shot was deflected over the crossbar by George Baldock.

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Goals from James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams gave Southampton a long-awaited and much-needed victory and plunged Sheffield United nearer to relegation from the Premier League.

A first win in 10 matches stopped Saints’ alarming slide and moved them 10 points clear of the bottom three, but the rock-bottom Blades look more unlikely by the week to pull off the greatest of escapes.

The 2-0 defeat leaves Chris Wilder’s side 12 points adrift of safety with just 10 matches remaining to save themselves.

It was an all so familiar story for the Blades – playing well, making chances, but shooting themselves in the foot at the other end with poor defending and individual mistakes.

They were given a boost after 12 minutes when Danny Ings went down injured off the ball and had to be replaced by former Blade Adams.

It was a blow for Southampton but they would have taken the lead shortly afterwards had Nathan Tella showed a little more composure in front of goal, slicing his first-time shot well wide when goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was out of position.

Tella was involved again when the visitors went ahead after 32 minutes. Referee Paul Tierney awarded the spot-kick after Ethan Ampadu brought down the 21-year-old with a challenge from behind. Ward-Prowse tucked away the resulting penalty.

The Blades should have equalised right at the end of the first half but David McGoldrick chose to try and chip Fraser Forster from the edge of the penalty area, making it an easy save for the giant goalkeeper when really he should have been given no chance.

Wilder made an attacking change for the start of the second half, introducing striker Oli McBurnie and taking off midfielder Oliver Norwood. But four minutes after the break his side were 2-0 down.

John Lundstram’s poor clearance was flicked into Adams’ path by Stuart Armstrong and the substitute hit the ball superbly on the half-volley, sending it into the top corner.

Enda Stevens put a header wide at the far post on the hour as another chance was missed by the Blades.

The hosts’ approach play continued to be sharp, neat and incisive, but, as has been the case all season, it broke down in and around the penalty area.

Wilder’s team continued to make life difficult for themselves. Lys Mousset gave the ball away this time and Ramsdale had to make a fine save to turn Tella’s effort away for a corner.

Takumi Minamino should have done better than shoot wide when unmarked inside the penalty area midway through the second half, before Ramsdale got a strong hand behind a low strike from Adams.

Ramsdale was keeping his team in the game and Nathan Redmond was next to be denied by another fine save from the Blades goalkeeper.

Frustration appeared to get the better of John Fleck in stoppage time when his robust challenge on Adams on the halfway line was late and, arguably, out of control. Tierney gave the Blades midfielder a yellow card but Saints players were incensed by the tackle and surrounded the referee looking for a red card.

There was pushing and shoving between the two sets of players and McBurnie and Jannick Vestegaard were also booked for their part in the tussle.

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David McGoldrick’s first-half goal was enough for 10-man Sheffield United to earn a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at Bramall Lane.

Villa had the better of the early play, with John McGinn and Ollie Watkins both going close before Sheff Utd took the lead.

On 30 minutes, George Baldock fired in a shot that was heading off target, before McGoldrick stretched to divert it in off the underside of the crossbar.

The visitors pressed for an equaliser that almost came on 54 minutes, but Watkins’ header hit the join of the crossbar and post.

A minute later, Phil Jagielka was initially shown a yellow card for bringing down Anwar El Ghazi, which was upgraded to a red after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee.

But Sheff Utd held on for their fourth win of the campaign that leaves them bottom on 14 points, 12 adrift of safety.

Villa drop down to ninth on 39 points.

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Liverpool returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Curtis Jones and a Kean Bryan own goal ended the Reds’ run of four successive league defeats and heaped more misery on the bottom-placed Blades.

Bryan’s own goal, which was originally credited to Roberto Firmino, was Liverpool’s 7,000th goal in top-flight football and secured a win which moves Jurgen Klopp’s champions within two points of fourth-placed West Ham.

Sheffield United’s 21st defeat from 26 games leaves them 15 points from safety with a seemingly impossible battle to beat the drop.

Liverpool left out goalkeeper Alisson Becker on compassionate grounds following the death of his father Jose in Brazil.

The Liverpool players wore black armbands in support of Alisson as Adrian made his first Premier League appearance since the Merseyside derby at Everton on October 17.

Skipper Jordan Henderson was also on the sidelines following groin surgery and Nat Phillips started in central defence alongside Ozan Kabak.

The home side handed the captaincy to the returning David McGoldrick and the striker tested Adrian within the opening five minutes.

Oliver Norwood’s free-kick was flighted to the far post and McGoldrick met it to force a point-blank stop from Adrian, although a late offside flag would have ruled out the effort anyway.

Liverpool should have led after 10 minutes when the ball kindly for the unmarked Firmino.

The Brazilian advanced into a clear shooting position but failed to beat the outstretched arm of Aaron Ramsdale, even though the Blades goalkeeper appeared to go to ground prematurely.

Adrian made a smart save to push McGoldrick’s deflected effort around a post, but the action was increasingly at the other end as the half wore on and Liverpool dominated.

Ramsdale smothered efforts from Jones and Mohamed Salah before making a flying save from Trent Alexander-Arnold after the England full-back had pounced on an error from Ethan Ampadu.

Adrian was beaten after 36 minutes when Kabak slid the ball past him, but the Turkey international’s blushes were spared by an offside flag against Oli McBurnie.

Ramsdale’s resistance continued with another stop to foil Georginio Wijnaldum, and the follow-up opportunity was lost as Firmino chose to pass rather than fire the rebound goalwards.

Liverpool must have wondered at half-time what they needed to do to beat the inspired Ramsdale.

But the answer came within three minutes of the restart as Alexander-Arnold crossed from the right and Jones drilled home his second Premier League goal into the bottom corner of Ramsdale’s net.

Sheffield United players felt that the ball had gone out of play before Alexander-Arnold had reached it, but a VAR check confirmed that was not the case and the goal stood.

Sadio Mane had an effort ruled out for offside before McBurnie squandered a glorious chance to equalise, the unmarked Scotland striker heading Norwood’s cross wide from eight yards out.

It was to prove a costly miss as Liverpool doubled their advantage after 65 minutes.

Firmino played one-twos with Jones and Mane and evaded a posse of home defenders to find a shooting angle and give Liverpool breathing space.

But television replays showed the ball was going wide before deflecting off Bryan, denying Firmino his seventh goal of the season.

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Referee Lee Mason has been replaced as the fourth official for Liverpool’s clash with Sheffield United, a day after being involved in a hugely controversial incident in West Brom’s win over Brighton.

Mason was down to be a support official for referee Jonathan Moss for the game at Bramall Lane, but the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) confirmed to Sky Sports News that he would sit out the game on account of injury.

Just on Saturday, Mason controversially ruled out a goal from Lewis Dunk direct from a free-kick.

Mason blew his whistle, and Dunk immediately curled the ball into the net at a time when Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was lining up his wall.

Prior to the ball crossing the line, Mason blew his whistle a second time. Mason initially ruled the goal out, only to give it after protests from Brighton.

Mason was subsequently spoken to by VAR and the game continued with Brighton retaking the free-kick.

Dunk was furious after the game, telling Sky Sports: “It’s embarrassing, it’s a horrendous decision.

“I said to the ref ‘can I take it?’, he blew his whistle, and I took it.

“Just because there was so much pressure from the bench. Why doesn’t he come and speak to the press like me? Never, they hide behind their bubble.

‘One of our greatest achievements’ – Pep Guardiola on Manchester City winning 20 straight matches

“I don’t think he knew what he was doing. He gave the goal, why did he give it? I don’t know why VAR was getting involved, he said ‘goal’… you can look on the video if you want.

“Had he lost control of the game? Yeah, he did. Fact.”