Against Wolves, Sheffield United came out looking like they have done all season, awful. But they were much-improved in the second half thanks to a tactical switch by Paul Heckingbottom, as well as the addition of James McAtee who replaced the injured Rhian Brewster.
The first half, like many of the performances over recent weeks, was pathetic. At home, in a must-win game, and you register just one attempt at goal. That is not a Sheffield United team.
Words were exchanged between players and coaching staff at halftime about their performance and mentality, and they hit the reset button as soon as the second half kicked off.
United were the aggressors down the stretch and the excellent goal from Cameron Archer lifted the roof off Bramall Lane in the 72nd minute. And from there it didn’t feel like Wolves were in the game; they couldn’t maintain attacks as well as they did in the first 45 minutes.
But it was like deja vu for the Blades when Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s strike found the back of the net in the 89th minute.
The players’ heads didn’t drop, they never stopped pushing to find a winner. Once again being the clear aggressors. And they got their reward, and that bit of luck they’ve been waiting for all season, with a penalty in the 100th minute to seal the win, in front of the Kop.
How Sheffield United must line up
Against Brighton, Paul Heckingbottom has to start with that same 3-4-3 shape, and same players, that finished the Wolves match otherwise what is the point? The Blades put in their best half of the season using that system, to go back to a 5-3-2 wouldn’t make sense.
Heckingbottom decided to go man-for-man out of possession against Wolves. With Brighton playing 3-4-3 type of formation, if United went with the 3-4-3 formation down at the AMEX that would also lead to a man-for-man system out of possession. Something that they had so much success with just last week.
Injuries, fatigue and mentality
The Seagulls will be leggy having travelled back from playing in Amsterdam on Thursday night. They’re without several key players: Tariq Lamptey, Danny Welbeck, Solly March, Julio Enciso, and Jakub Moder. Additionally, Pervis Estupinan, who recently came back from injury, left the game early on Thursday – casting doubt over his health for Sunday.
United don’t exactly have loads of options themselves due to their injuries but I’ve had enough of that easy excuse now. Bite down on your mouthpiece and fight for your lives.
Brighton aren’t exactly the most physically imposing side either, so once again, be the aggressors and you never know what might happen and how they react to being physically bullied. Considering their poor run of form of late, no wins in their last five Premier League games, their confidence levels will be far from great if they fall behind on Sunday.
Knowing our luck we’ll win back-to-back games heading into an international break, then lose all the momentum because of it!