Could we see a tweak in formation with no Oli McBurnie?

With the suspension of Oli McBurnie after the strange second yellow card against Tottenham Hotspur, Paul Heckingbottom has a very difficult decision to make.

CHESTERFIELD, ENGLAND – JULY 15: Oli McBurnie of Sheffield United looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Chesterfield and Sheffield United at on July 15, 2023 in Chesterfield, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Since the return from injury, McBurnie has been unbelievable, even without scoring a goal. His willingness to compete for everything in the air and on the ground is instrumental to how Sheffield United have played in the Premier League.

Often, the Blades find the Scottish international with a quick pass after regaining position in the defensive third. And with the number nine’s strength and ability to shield the ball, it’s an effective way to relieve the pressure on United’s goal. We have already seen glimpses of some brilliant combination play between McBurnie and Cameron Archer in the final third via the direct route into the big striker – the first goal against Everton was a prime example.

However, the Blades will be without arguably their most influential player against Newcastle United. Does Heckingbottom continue to field a front two? Likely Archer and Bénie Traoré due to Osula’s injury. They would be two willing runners but neither would give United the ability to go long.

Perhaps a change of shape to accommodate the midfielders would be a better way to go? Playing a shape of 5-4-1: Vinícius Souza, Oli Norwood, James McAtee and Gustavo Hamer. This shape would pack out the midfield, which would be a wise move when you consider the transition threat that Newcastle possess.





Tags Oli McBurnie Sheffield United