The cliches in Sheffield United’s were all there if you wanted to look for them: a club who hpeaking to L’Equipe, agent Seran Diabate has praised his cilent and played down previous fears about his fitness.He said of the on-loan Monaco fullback: “Djibril has taken his trouble with patience, with the objective of showing his qualities when weave spent the past 12 years in the wilderness, battening down the hatches away from home and grabbing a point with almost their only clear chance of the game.
Is this what we can expect for the remaining 37 games of the Sheffield United season? Seasoned observers of Chris Wilder’s team will answer with an emphatic “no”.
Wilder’s team drew lots of neutral admirers last season, not just because of the “sleeping giant wakes up” narrative but also due to their innovative tactical approach.
Most spoken about has been the inventive movement of the three-man central defence, which, coupled with genuine wing-backs, offers an unusual challenge for opponents.
The dangers of this based on Saturday’s evidence are that they themselves looked vulnerable down the flanks, with Bournemouth also opting for a three-man central defence and wing-backs – with Adam Smith, in particular, having plenty of joy down the right side in the first half.
But Oliver Norwood provided discipline at the base of the midfield and David McGoldrick did an excellent job of providing an attacking focal point so that no one player ever appeared too isolated. It remains to be seen how flexible Wilder can be and how quickly opponents can work them out.
But it was through one of their wing-backs, George Baldock, that the chance came to earn a dramatic point on their Premier League return after all had looked lost following Chris Mepham’s goal for Bournemouth.
Baldock pressed forward, s League qualification.Sarri’s team are at home against Watford on Sunday as they try to secure fourth place in the Premier League and return to the Champions League next season.There would also be another cup final on the horizon if they can finish crossed low for Ollie McBurnie who could not convert, but Billy Sharp did so with the rebound ensuring a memorable day for him and the club.
“Maybe it was written in the stars. All my family were down and to get the first Sheffield United goal in the Premier League after 12 years, it’s something I’ll never forget and I’m just glad it meant something to the club,” said the 33-year-old Sheffield-borntract in June and already has fielded interest from keen clubs.ESPN says Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Napoli are all interested.Indeed, these four clubs have regularly made attempts for Cavani in recent years, but without ever United fan. “I’m disappointed I didn’t start but he [Wilder] knows that and we’ve got five good strikers at the club now so I think it is going to chop and change at the top of the pitch.”
When relegated from the Premier League, Sheffield United scored just eight goals in their 19 away league games and signed three attackers this summer – Callum Robinson, Lys Mousset and Ollie McBurnie – breaking their transfer record on each occasion.
“We’ve got to score goals,” said Wilder. “Our recruitment this year was based on that at the top of the pitch. We’ve signed some good players all over the pitch to give it balance and strength and competition but we wanted goals in us. Can they score in the Premier League? We feel they are natural goal scorers and people talked about Billy – can he score in the Premier League? He’s had 10 minutes on the pitch and scored. Will that continue? Who knows.”
There is a sense of togetherness about the club which is perhaps untypical of the corporate, social media led communication of most present day Premier League organisations.
The team were mobbed by fans as they walked past a pub in Bournemouth on the morning of the game, something that Wilder says is not unusual or unwelcome.
“I remember going to Marbella a couple of years ago and us being on a coach and the supporters have just appeared from nowhere, about 500 or 600 of them, surrounding the bus. There’s an obvious connection between the supporters and the players and there has to be, this club has been at its best when there has been,” said Wilder.