Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of “What can we expect from the world’s most frustrating and inconsistent team”?
To be fair, Sheffield United fans are probably feeling at least a fraction of what we are as, since January, their previously unchecked drive to promotion has started kangarooing along a winding road.
A “win one-lose one” pattern has seen the chasing pack (most notably Middlesbrough) dramatically close the gap to second and Blades fans will be hoping to get their league form back on track at Carrow Road for the final push.
Former City left-back Paul Heckingbottom has his team playing the traditional 3-5-2 that brought them so much success under Chris Wilder, although the whole “overlapping centre-backs” thing has been given a more pragmatic overhaul.
In goal, Wes Foderingham is an excellent shot-stopper and an experienced head at the back.
The centre-backs have seen a little bit of a revolving door between four players in recent weeks. Big money signing from Bournemouth, Chris Basham and now-veteran John Egan have split time with Bosnian summer signing Anel Ahmedhodzic and former Liverpool and Forest left-back-turned-centre-back, Jack Robinson.
Former Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark is also an option in the squad. This is a really strong area of the pitch for the Blades.
At right wing-back, former Derby youngster and alleged City transfer target Jayden Bogle appears to have edged ahead of George Baldock for the starting spot, whereas on the left, another Derby youngster, Max Lowe, has taken the start from Enda Stevens. Again, a very strong area of their squad.
So if the keeper, centre-backs and wing-backs are solid, it must mean they’re a little short in midfield?
The first choice three in the middle is generally perennial Premier League transfer target Sander Berge, long-serving midfield terrier John Fleck, and playmaker-in-chief Olly Norwood. Their backup of Malian Under-20 prospect Ismaila Coulibaly, Man City loanee Tommy Doyle and former Forest favourite Ben Osborn are all top quality too.
But the strikers are rubbish?
Yeah, we wish.
Iliman Ndiaye is a Senegalese International who has knocked in 12 goals so far this season and given defences nightmares with his power, pace and directness. His usual partner in recent weeks is massive, pain-in-the-backside, lump Oli McBurnie, who is one of the few strikers of that ilk that Grant Hanley won’t relish playing against.
Behind them, with Rhian Brewster out injured, the other options are youngster Daniel Jebbison, another promising young Man City loanee in James McAtee, and Billy Sharp, who for all his constant whinging and moaning and talking b******s in post-match interviews, always scores against us.
So on paper, Sheffield United are incredibly strong, whereas City are flakier than one of the sausage rolls they serve in the Upper Barclay that always ends up with me looking like I’m wearing jeans made from Weetabix.
We know already what will happen.
United will press high, we’ll try and play out from the back, Hanley or Gibson or McLean will take a bad touch, and we’ll get punished. From then on it’ll just be a question of whether we have enough quality in the final third to create enough chances for the strikers to take.
Oh, how we need a proper number ten.
I have a feeling tomorrow won’t be pretty. Let’s just get through this one and move on to something more winnable.
MYSTIC KEV says
Lose tomorrow and its bye bye playoffs let’s hope they show a bit of desire and passion and actually look like they want to win a game last season and this seasons 38 home games only about 8 worth turning up for it really has been poor at CR lately mind uou those at the club probly tell uou how good we’re been finger’s crossed for tomorrow I’m expecting a Desmond 22 .
The big question is, will the EPL/FA jump on Sheff U if March wages aren’t paid for the third time this season with a possible 12 point deduction on the cards this season.
Living in hope for a playoff place not really via the back door but I suppose it’s money in the coffers if it happens.
Heckingbottom has found a way to get the best out of his loan players something city rarely do these days with a backbone of Sheffield Steel and the dark arts again something city aren’t good at.
Will this be the end of our playoff dreams/nightmare well the squad need to man up and battle like their lives count on it, if we lose the excuses will centre around the amount of players that have returned tired from international games.
Sadly I can remember players returning from international on a Thursday and playing on ploughed fields of mud on a Saturday with no complaints but it was a man’s game back then
Dan Rear says
Careful, Alex. We’re not allowed to use phrases like your last sentence anymore!
“We’re doomed” as they would say in Dad’s Army
Jeans made from Weetabix?!? Take a pint of milk along with you for a lunch-time snack.
I honestly think Gregg’s hot sausage rolls are the best on the market.
I’d use Omobamideli to man-mark McBurnie, sharp, quick-witted and fast. Sorensen back in his central midfield position for this match too.
Lets hope Super-Teemu and Sarge are on their games upfront.
We know the Blades are a good strong team even if they’ve experienced a wobble. If Onel and Jon Rowe were up and running it might have been possible to disrupt their defence, perhaps Sara can run riot in their back line instead?
I guess the important thing for us is that we don’t play like strangers, and bring our best game out onto the pitch. Thank God the international break is over, lets hope the guys are up for this one. This game is possibly season-defining.
Bernard Owen says
This blades team has picked a dodgy time to become inconsistent. Now they play the masters of inconsistency.
One thing playing on the minds of both, do they really want to be playing their ‘ nearest and dearest ‘ in a local derby next season.
They both could , and both could avoid it.
Mike Corbs says
Inconsistency? Worlds most inconsistent team. Oh the world of football cliches. How many other fans are bemoaning their team’s inconsistent form? 70%, probably more. From my view we’ve been relatively consistent this season, mid table type of consistent.