Soccer

Pablo Sarabia effort enough as Wolves defeat ill-disciplined Sheffield United

Sarabia’s winner settled the game at Molineux on Sunday.

Pablo Sarabia scored Wolves’ first-half winner against Sheffield United
Pablo Sarabia scores for Wolves Pablo Sarabia scored Wolves’ first-half winner against Sheffield United (David Davies/PA)

Sheffield United players fought amongst themselves as they slumped to another damaging Premier League defeat in a 1-0 reverse at Wolves.

Team-mates Jack Robinson and Vini Souza clashed in the first half with the ill-disciplined Blades left rooted to the bottom of the table following the narrow loss.

The pair squared up with the visitors already behind to Pablo Sarabia’s first-half header and they will need to channel any further fighting spirit into a survival bid which looks increasingly doomed.

Chris Wilder’s side are eight points from safety and another poor performance offered no hope for their chances.

In contrast, the victory was Wolves’ first top-flight win at Molineux this year and lifted the hosts to eighth as they maintain a surprise European challenge.

They are a point behind Brighton in seventh as Gary O’Neil’s men continue to impress and dismiss the predictions of a season of struggle.

Wolves, though, were not at their best at Molineux but did not have to be to beat the Blades.

It took until the 18th minute for some serious action when Rhian Brewster was left unmarked to test Jose Sa, after Craig Dawson blocked his initial effort.

The former Liverpool youngster then had a second opening five minutes later, only to shank his shot wide under pressure from Toti Gomes.

Despite bossing possession, Wolves struggled to open the visitors up and it was O’Neil’s men who conceded the chances.

James McAtee became the latest wasteful Blade when he fired straight at Sa, having escaped from Dawson on the left and United’s misses proved costly after 30 minutes.

Yet again the visitors’ soft underbelly became their greatest issue as they conceded goal number 66 of the season.

Yasser Larouci was caught napping, allowing Sarabia to arrive unchecked to meet Rayan Ait-Nouri’s inviting cross and glance a looping header into the top corner.

With it, Sheffield United cracked with Robinson and Souza pushing and trading blows after Pedro Neto shot over.

In December Wilder had called for his players to “swing some punches” in the battle against relegation – though he would not have expected them to take his words so literally.

VAR gave the pair a pass but the Blades had lost their discipline and needed half-time to regroup.

They did manage to put Wolves under mild pressure and McAtee dragged a shot wide but there was never a sense Wilder’s side would equalise.

Brewster tested Sa as United’s momentum faded and Sarabia went close to a second when he curled wide just after the hour.

A pedestrian half rarely found its groove, though, and the visitors never had Wolves on the ropes as they suffered another knockout blow in the Premier League.