Why Sheffield United deserves more praise

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When there is talk about a very compact team in the Premier League, Sheffield United will definitely be mentioned. The newly promoted side have shown that they are in the Premier League to stay. Despite finishing second in the Championship, they were the most inspiring side amongst the three newly-promoted side and only one to finish in the top half with Norwich relegating and Aston Villa surviving on last day of the season. They have gone about their business with very little attention and they deserve so much credit. They have also had remarkable wins this season that their fans would not forget easily. A 3-0 thumping of Chelsea post lockdown and another 1-0 win over Arsenal this season will leave good memories with their fans about the season. A look into how their season went showed how organized the side is.

Chris Wilder got them promoted and ensured they stayed in the league this season. They started the season with just one win in their first three games. Their first big outing that draw many attention was when they drew Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The 2-2 result was the first real showdown many noticed about them as they gave a good account of themselves. It was however seen as an upset by many. They continue to push from their mid-table position until their game against Arsenal which they won 1-0. It was at that point many started taking them seriously. That win showed how compact they are. They have done that with almost the smallest transfer budget in the league. They brought in Dean Henderson on loan from Manchester United and signed Phil Jagielka for free after he left Everton. Those two additions have been a very good bargain that have improved their side. They knew that they have to be able to be cautious with their deals in other not to be burnt like many newly promoted side that go on to sign many new players that don’t result in anything afterwards.

One aspect of their game that must be applauded is their game plan. Credit has to go to Chris Wilder for setting up the team in a way that protects their team from counter attacking teams. The coach devised a tactic that allows the center backs to overlap and load the opposition attack up the pitch. They mostly play a 3-5-2 formation which gave their full-backs playing as wing-backs. They were very compact as it was evident in many of their wins. They finished the season conceding fourth-least goals, 39 in the league. This is a massive achievement that could have helped them make at least a European spot but due to three straight defeats at the end of the season, they couldn’t get into the top seven. What they do all season was concentrate their attacks through the flanks, bunching a wing-back, outside central midfielder, striker, and overlapping center-back to one side of the pitch to outnumber the opposition. In doing this, they peg the opposing team back and give themselves a better chance of winning. They set up in triangles when passing and wait for one of their midfielders to throw a diagonal pass that split the opposition defense. It was a great season with a newly promoted side showing tactical discipline to that level shown by Sheffield United.

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