Iliman Ndiaye stole the show on Saturday, in an incredible weekend of Football League action the 21-year-old was the headliner and represents hope for Sheffield United this season.
Morgan Gibbs-White as well was in inspired form on his first runout for the Blades, but Ndiaye was the main takeaway. The Frenchman signed from Boreham Wood in the summer of 2019 and was clearly highly rated by the club ahead of this season but a contract dispute delayed his first team opportunities.
The numbers that he posted considering he came off after 73 minutes are absolutely remarkable and it is definitely one of the standout individual performances of the season so far. Ndiaye scored twice, a cultured finish from the edge of the box and a backpedaling header that he made look far easier than it was in the second half.
His assist was less to shout about, a simple pass to Gibbs-White who unleashed a thunderbolt into the top corner at the near post but it typified his creative threat from attacking midfield along with his goalscoring exploits. The former Marseille youth player registered a pass accuracy of 83% including two successful balls into the penalty area and amassed 1.18 expected goals in just 73 minutes.
Are each of these 18 celebrities Sheffield United supporter or not?
It is amazing to think that Sheffield United had scored just once in five league outings and then slammed home six against Peterborough United. One thing it certainly will do is lift the morale of the fan base and it justifies Slavisa Jokanovic’s tactics and early decisions at the helm.
Billy Sharp took the captain’s armband and chipped in with three assists in a complete team performance.
It will be interesting to see how regularly Ndiaye is involved in his first full season in the Football League, the Serbian manager has the chance to capitalise on this newly found form with a kind three game run where they host Preston North End and Derby County sandwiching a trip to toothless Hull City.
Sheffield United’s season has officially started and Iliman Ndiaye is likely to be a crucial part of Jokanovic’s plans moving forward, with a promotion push still the aim the next three matches will be critical in putting themselves firmly back on an upward trajectory.