Posh player verdicts: Sub Souleymane was superior to the starting XI

Souleymane Coulibaly scores the Posh goal against Sheffield United. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Souleymane Coulibaly scores the Posh goal against Sheffield United. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

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Peterborough United were outclassed at times by a slick Sheffield United side tonight (August 18) which is reflected in Alan Swann’s player verdicts.

Substitute Souleymane Coulibaly was also awarded the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award despite playing for just 40 minutes or so.

Ben Alnwick: Reacted well to make a couple of decent smothering saves in the first-half, but beaten by three well-taken goals 6

Alex Davey: Looks classy in possession and can clearly ping a pass, but his defensive consistency was not helped by playing in both full-back positions. Exposed by speedy Blades attacks, although a surprise when a change to three at the back prompted his substitution 6

Kgosi Ntlhe: Pulled up injured early in the game

Gaby Zakuani: Missed the chance to win the ball off Billy Sharp in the build-up to the opening Blades goal. In fact found Sharp a handful all game, although redeemed himself with a couple of terrific blocks in the second-half. Made as many saves as his goalkeeper 6

Ricardo Santos: Looked vulnerable all night. Strikers find him too easy to skip past after squaring him up. Blades forwards too quick, too bright and too experienced for him 4

Jack Collison: The former Welsh international midfielder can still see a pass and it was a quality delivery that created the Posh goal, but he currently lacks the mobility to play in a two-man midfield. Offers no defensive protection which was crucial against slick-passing opposition 5

Michael Bostwick: Struggled to influence the game as a central midfielder. Didn’t win his tackles, didn’t pass the ball well. Shoved onto the wing and then up front in the later stages, but made no impact there either 5

Marcus Maddison: Lost his shooting radar in the first-half, but at least he’s happy to have a go at goal. One brilliant cross early in the second-half which led to Harry Anderson forcing a save from the visiting goalkeeper. Quiet thereafter 6

Harry Anderson; Played with great energy and gusto for an hour before fading along with the rest of the team. One of the better performers again though 6

Joe Gormley: Not looking like living up to his ‘Joe The Goal’ nickname, Dashed off the pitch when substituted after 54 minutes and he may disappear from the starting line-up for a while as his replacement scored a quality goal 4

Conor Washington: He needs to lead this attack, but he was invisible for the most part. Blades are far better at attacking than defending, but they controlled Washington with ease 4

Substitutes:

Shaun Brisley: (for Ntlhe 14 mins): Did okay as an emergency right-back, less well as a left-sided centre-back 5

Souleymane Coulibaly: (for Gormley, 54 mins) Quality goal, missed the target a couple of times, but had more shots on goal than the starting strikers put together 7

Jack Payne: (for Davey, 73 mins) Introduced late on into a losing cause

Dion-Curtis Henry: (not used).

Jon Taylor: (not used).

Kyle Vassell: (not used).

Jermaine Anderson: (not used).