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Irish-influenced Blades bag late point on PL return as Brighton and Burnley enjoy strong starts

Chris Wilder included four Irish internationals in his starting XI at Bournemouth.

John Egan celebrates with Blades' goalscoring hero Billy Sharp.
John Egan celebrates with Blades' goalscoring hero Billy Sharp.
Image: Mark Kerton

NEWLY PROMOTED SHEFFIELD United snatched a late point away to Bournemouth on their return to the top flight after a 13-year absence.

Chris Mepham put the Cherries in front just after the hour mark on the south coast, but Billy Sharp’s strike two minutes from time salvaged a 1-1 draw for the Blades.

Chris Wilder named four Irish internationals in his starting 11 for this afternoon’s encounter, with an all-Irish forward line of Callum Robinson and David McGoldrick spearheading a side which also included a pushed-up Enda Stevens on the left and John Egan at the heart of the defence.

Three of them almost combined to perfection on 46 minutes: McGoldrick played a tantalising ball through the middle after a clever dummy by Robinson, and Stevens’ subsequent advance on goal was foiled only by an excellent saving challenge from Bournemouth’s Chris Mepham.

Robinson had seen an effort saved well 20-odd minutes prior. McGoldrick, however, was later replaced by record signing Oliver McBurnie having failed to convert two decent chances to score.

AFC Bournemouth v Sheffield United - Premier League - Vitality Stadium Sharp heads for Sheffield United's travelling support after his late equaliser. Source: Mark Kerton

Brighton’s new manager Graham Potter enjoyed a dream start to his time in charge as the Seagulls beat last season’s FA Cup finalists Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s own goal gave the visitors a half-time lead before Florin Andone and Neil Maupay on his debut sealed a highly impressive three points for a Brighton side that narrowly escaped relegation last season.

Burnley were also 3-0 winners at Turf Moor as an Ashley Barnes double and Johann Gudmundsson’s strike condemned Southampton to a heavy defeat.

Crystal Palace’s wantaway star Wilfried Zaha put his grievances with the club’s hierarchy behind him to make an appearance as a second-half substitute against Everton, but neither side could break the deadlock in a 0-0 draw.

Zaha could have lined up for the visitors at Selhurst Park as Palace ignored a transfer request from the Ivorian to reject two bids from the Toffees after interest from Arsenal earlier in the transfer window cooled.

Everton were one of the biggest spenders in the window with seven new signings, but were forced to hang on for a point when Morgan Schneiderlin was sent-off 14 minutes from time for a second yellow card.

Last season’s Champions League finalists Tottenham begin their campaign later on Saturday at home to Aston Villa.

- Additional reporting by Gavan Casey

- © AFP 2019

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