October proved to be a good month for Sheffield United. The Blades, with two away games and a home tie against Arsenal, went unbeaten.
Tricky away days down the M1 at Watford and West Ham both resulted in valuable draws. The home game with Arsenal proved a brilliant night at the office as a Lys Mousset goal handed the Blades all three points.
It saw United stretch their unbeaten run away from home. The aforementioned Mousset has won the hearts of many a Blades fan too, with two goals in three games.
At the back, United remained imperious. Led by John Egan, they conceded just the one goal throughout the month. Robert Snodgrass was the man to get that goal and even that came as a result of a defensive mishap.
All in all, Sheffield United must be delighted with the October they have just had. Unbeaten, yes, but more importantly well established in the top-flight already.
Aside from the above, October proved United can cut it in the Premier League. Trips down south are never easy and to come away from Watford and West Ham with a share of the spoils is good going.
The home win against Arsenal was a typical night under the Bramall Lane floodlights. A ferocious atmosphere was complemented by a hard-working performance on the field. Lys Mousset got the plaudits that night, but others deserved credit too.
John Fleck – as he has all month – proved how good he can be. In defence, John Egan and Jack O’Connell marshalled Pepe and Aubameyang throughout. John Lundstram and Chris Basham too, defying the pre-season odds and opinion.
The trip to West Ham was a hard-fought affair. Chances for both sides but ultimately a 1-1 draw was probably about fair in the end.
Despite boasting one of the best defences in the league, chances have been there for the opposition. At Watford, Danny Welbeck and Andre Gray both passed up one on ones. At home to Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe found himself alone just six yards out and somehow sliced wide.
West Ham was much of the same. Felipe Anderson messed up the chance to convert after Chris Basham’s mistake, while Robert Snodgrass should have done better at the back post. There’ll come a time when United perhaps don’t get away with allowing such good opportunities.
Off the pitch, Oli McBurnie has hardly covered himself in glory. The Blades’ record signing was arrested for drink-driving. It’s an internal matter to deal with but it’s done the big striker no favours in the eyes of some fans.
Finally, despite some brilliant performances, David McGoldrick cannot get himself on the score-sheet. He’ll be hoping November is the month for him.
Player of the month
While Lys Mousset has got the goals and proved a real threat, it’s John Fleck who has run the show for the Blades.
The Scottish midfielder looks at home in the Premier League. He ran the midfield against Arsenal while his link-up play with Enda Stevens has been a joy to watch at times down the left-hand side.
The next step for Fleck is to try and add some goals to his game. He’s yet to hit the back of the net this term and only notched twice last season.
Fleck will probably admit to himself that this is an area he would like to improve on.