Sheffield United are back at Bramall Lane tonight as Paul Heckingbottom’s side host West Brom. A win for the Blades will see them go level on points with the sixth-placed Baggies.
Albion will have new manager Steve Bruce in the dugout. However, the former Blades boss will have to do without two former United stars. Both Kyle Bartley and Matty Phillips are missing for the Baggies. For Paul Heckingbottom, the big decisions really are around who he picks up front and in midfield.
However, there’re more than just team selection dilemmas on the United manager’s plate. Certainly, the Baggies pose a number of questions for the Blades. Here, we’ve had a look at FIVE burning questions which might be on Blades fans’ lips ahead of this evening.
Who Makes Way For Morgan Gibbs-White?
We need to be honest with ourselves as fans and accept that Gibbs-White is our best attacking player. If he is fit, then he has to come back into the starting XI.
The big bonus lately is we’ve won games without him. Another plus was Sander Berge getting 90 minutes in the tank at Birmingham City. However, there is still an argument to say we missed a bit of zip in attack without MGW.
Gibbs-White should be available tonight. The big question is just who does he replace in the XI.
Should We Play More Height?
We wrote about this earlier today but Paul Heckingbottom could be very tempted by the idea of playing the likes of Charlie Goode and Oli McBurnie.
After being bombarded with balls into the box at The Hawthorns and suffering, there are lessons to be learned here for United and the coaching staff.
Of course, Steve Bruce might curb it a bit compared to Ismael. But Albion are still a threat here, and McBurnie and Goode could prove useful. In addition, the Baggies have also got a certain Andy Carroll now and we all know what a threat he can be up top.
How To Keep Alex Mowatt From Being Involved
The former Leeds and Barnsley man is well-known in Yorkshire and he’ll be key for West Brom tonight you feel.
United need to prevent him from having too much of the ball. A failure to do so could allow Mowatt to dictate proceedings, which is the last thing the Blades need. This is where Heckingbottom needs to get his midfield selection right.
It’s why Gibbs-White is likely to come back in though. For all the threats Albion have, United having Gibbs-White on the field will make sure Mowatt knows he has a defensive job to do as well.
Can Bramall Lane Become The Cauldron We Need?
It’s no big secret that Bramall Lane hasn’t quite been as raucous this season as in previous years. The effect of losing Chris Wilder, getting relegated, and then the dire displays served up under Slavisa Jokanovic have had an impact.
However, Friday’s win at Birmingham seemed a turning point. Celebrations with players and manager were back, and you get the feeling the United fans are just starting to believe again at the moment.
The Blades need to ensure a good start tonight. That will get the crowd up for things and as we all know, can make a huge difference. Heckingbottom referenced the chicken and the egg in terms of crowd and player performances. Fans, then, need to make sure they’re at it from minute one tonight.
Will Steve Bruce Change Much For West Brom?
Albion have been playing a 3-4-3 under Valerien Ismael with an emphasis on getting the ball into the box quickly and the front three pressing intently. It remains to be seen if Bruce will adopt the same approach.
The Baggies’ new manager has said he will change things. However, he has suggested too much change too soon can be counter-productive. It could mean that United face up to a very similar looking side at Bramall Lane tonight.
Of course, we all know Bruce would love nothing more than a win at The Lane thanks to his Owls links. United, then, need to ensure they’re right at it to nullify any threats from Bruce’s side.