Sheffield United: The (embarrassing) show must go on

Sheffield United fans were gripped by a sense of deja vu as they witnessed their team succumb to Aston Villa, evoking memories of their humiliating 8-0 defeat against Newcastle back in September.

The dread was palpable as Villa surged ahead to a 4-0 lead within the first half-hour at Bramall Lane, echoing the shock of Newcastle’s fourth goal in the earlier match, which took until the 56th minute to materialise.

Disheartened by Youri Tielemans’ clinical strike to make it 4-0, many home supporters opted to leave the stadium early, expressing their frustration with audible boos at halftime. Despite the respite of no further goals conceded before the break, the looming 5-0 scoreline shortly after the restart offered little solace.

The manner of this defeat only compounds Sheffield United’s already precarious position, dampening hopes of a miraculous survival bid. Their current predicament, with just 10 points amassed, has historically spelled doom for top-flight survival, as no team has recovered from such a low tally at this stage of the season.

Moreover, their defence, having shipped 59 goals in 23 games, sets an unwelcome record in Premier League history, underlining the scale of the challenge they face.

Pre-match frustration

Before a whistle was blown last Saturday many supporters criticised the lineup as it emerged on social media. The common opinion was that fans found it strange as to why Chris Wilder changed from a 4-3-3, which had seen improvements, to back to the five at the back which worked terribly under Paul Heckingbottom.

Changes for Sheffield United

Jack Robinson should come back into the defence, he has been the only centre-back all season that has shown a desire and passion to win individual battles.

A formation change back to the 4-3-3 would be a welcomed one in my opinion, given we’ve seen our best performances when deploying this system.

Also, the signing of Mason Holgate was always a strange one from the start. His catalogue of errors in the game last Saturday highlighted why many people did not want the Blades to sign him. As a result of last Saturday’s horror showing, Holgate may have become the first player to ever make two debuts within a single season and lose both matches 5-0.

It’s been an embarrassing season for Sheffield United and it seems as though pretty much every fan has given up on the team, and to be fair who can blame them. In these final few months, I hope the players can actually show a bit of respect for themselves as well as this football club.

As a young(ish) Blade I don’t have many bad points to reference back to, luckily. But I do feel more embarrassed this season than I did throughout the Nigel Adkins season, mainly because the entire country has seen us get demolished on national television multiple times.

Sheffield United now confront a pivotal away fixture against fellow promoted side Luton Town, with the Hatters enjoying a comfortable 10-point buffer outside the relegation zone—a match that could potentially define their fate in the league. As high as Luton fans are feeling right now, United fans are feeling the stark opposite.

1 Comment

  1. Definitely a bum team selection from Wilder who held his hands up (to be fair). I think our point/near win at Villa was at the forefront of Emery’s mind when planning for this fixture. Conversely, I think (like Newcastle) we totally underestimated the danger of “having a go” at Villa. I have never seen Utd looking so fragile – only reason it wasn’t worse was down to Villa easing off/or having mercy. Sure the Blades will improve when mathematically relegated…

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