The Blades welcome Fulham today as we get back into action following the international break.
That break hasn’t been too kind to us, either. John Fleck, Oli Burke, and David McGoldrick may all miss out through injury, while John Egan is touch and go thanks to Covid-19 protocols.
However, the game will go ahead regardless and Chris Wilder will know he needs to pick the right team and get his troops up for the game in order to get that first win on the board.
Winning key battles will, as always, be vital if the Blades are to take three points. Fulham have some excellent players despite their rocky start, and added more on deadline day to try and help Scott Parker further.
So, just where are the three key battles that Wilder will be looking for his team to win today?
Sander Berge v Ruben Loftus-Cheek
The Chelsea loanee will probably come straight into the starting XI for the Cottagers and his class, experience, and ability to change a game is something we need to manage.
This job could fall to either Lundstram or Berge, but Berge is the one with the physical presence and ball carrying ability to ensure Loftus-Cheek doesn’t influence things too much.
George Baldock v Joe Bryan
A lot of Fulham’s good attacking play comes through Bryan and it will be a fascinating battle to see two wing-backs who love to bomb forward trying to get one over each other.
We all know what Baldock is capable of. In fact, we’ll more than likely leave it to Chris Basham to mop up Bryan’s forward runs.
I fancy us in this area. Fulham’s defending has been woeful and Baldock could get some joy if Bryan does keep pushing on.
John Egan/Ethan Ampadu v Aleksandar Mitrovic
This battle is massive. Mitrovic is one hell of a striker on his day and his physical presence and ability in the air makes him dangerous regardless.
United will hope to have Egan available. On the surface, the Irishman looks more suited to being able to deal with the physicality ‘Mitro’ will bring to the table.
Failing that, Ethan Ampadu will need to step up to the plate. He’s been impressive so far and should cope fine, but most Blades fans will probably feel more comfortable with Egan in there.