The Premier League table offers no solace for Sheffield United as they find themselves rock bottom of the table, with just one point in ten games, having scored the fewest goals and conceded the most in the division. Their recent 5-0 thrashing by Arsenal underlines their dire situation.
This isn’t the first time Sheffield United has faced such a predicament; they previously finished dead last in the 2020/21 season and are on track to repeat that feat. Even the historically poor 2007/08 Derby County managed to earn six points by the end of October, unlike Sheffield United.
Their troubles are partly a result of being set up for failure. Financial constraints limited their spending, leading to key player departures like Iliman Ndiaye to Olympique Marseille and Sander Berge to Burnley. Injuries further plagued the squad, resulting in results worse than anyone’s gloomy pre-season expectations.
The question now is whether Sheffield United can muster any hope. Their performance at the Emirates Stadium paints a grim picture, showing a lack of discipline and organisation defensively. Despite defending deep and in numbers, they left too much space, and their midfield barely touched Arsenal’s.
It’s not entirely about money
While individual player quality may be a challenge, it’s clear that better tactical discipline and coaching is needed. Luton Town, with similar individual abilities, have demonstrated the importance of tight teamwork, hard work, and making the opposition toil in a relegation battle.
Sheffield United’s awful start to the season has been put down to the lack of spending in the summer transfer window by many. If that’s all it comes down to then how come Luton Town are four points better off than the Blades?
According to Transfermarkt, United rank 17th on the expenditure table having spent approximately £56 million in the summer. Everton, Crystal Palace and Luton Town all rank below the Blades.
I’m fully aware Paul Heckingbottom and the recruiting team were working with a limited budget in the summer, which obviously meant we were looking for cheap players with plenty of potential. But the line shouldn’t be drawn there. The coaching staff should be doing more to make us hard to beat.
The Hatters spent less than £20 million in the summer, per Transfermarkt, and they have proved to be a much sterner test than Sheffield United have up to this point. That suggests to me they are a far better coached team.
Sheffield United need a bounce, and often teams find that bounce by bringing in a new coaching set-up. Sometimes it’s a small bounce. Other times the bounce could last a few months which results in Premier League survival.
We’ll see what the future holds. Perhaps the Blades will be much-improved this weekend against Wolverhampton Wanderers. They will need to be if they stand a chance of winning.