After a very difficult start to the season Sheffield United is determined to pull other teams into the relegation battle after rejuvenating their fight for survival with four points from their last two games. The Blades achieved a psychological boost by climbing off the bottom of the table after a draw away against Brighton on Sunday.
This result, following a win against Wolves at Bramall Lane the previous week, allowed them to surpass Burnley and come within one point of third-bottom Luton Town. They have two critical games on the horizon that could significantly shape their season.
First, they face fourth-bottom Bournemouth after the international break, followed by a visit to Burnley a week later.
Sheffield United good for a point
Much like the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, the first half down on the South Coast wasn’t good enough despite the effort being there.
The Blades were getting sucked out of position constantly because of the excellent movement and rotations between Ansu Fati, Adam Lallana and Facundo Buonanotte. And although Brighton were able to carve United open, they created shooting positions but not great opportunities.
In the second half, Ben Osborn came on for Vinicius Souza who had a back problem. And Osborn’s ability to cover ground quickly helped the team get a foothold in the match. Even before the Mahmoud Dahoud red card Sheffield United had a bigger threat about them. The red card obviously helped matters, and Paul Heckingbottom’s men made full use of the man advantage, which is exactly what teams down at the bottom must do.
Believe it or not, Sheffield United actually created more big chances than the hosts (2), per Opta, which is quite staggering because of how well Brighton rank in terms of passing and creating chances in the Premier League.
Paul Heckingbottom has some thinking to do over this international break in terms of his team selection. Osborn clearly impacted the second half. James McAtee in the second half was also excellent. Cameron Archer pressed really well and provided a better threat on quick breaks than in recent times. Meanwhile Gustavo Hamer played a huge part in the equaliser.
Can Heckingbottom really drop this quartet after their performances on Sunday?