Sheffield United slipped to an opening day defeat last night as a nightmare opening 10 minutes gifted Wolves two goals to see the Blades off.
Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss were the goalscorers for the away side. Jimenez tucking a lovely finish into the top corner before confusion between Jack O’Connell and Enda Stevens allowed Saiss a free header for 2-0.
The Blades huffed and puffed from then on and in the main, were well in the game without creating anything too clear-cut. John Fleck went closest, striking the foot of the post, while Billy Sharp wasted a couple of good chances to set Oli McBurnie up.
But overall, it was a fairly disappointing night at The Lane and one that left Chris Wilder, and supporters, plenty to mull over. So with that, here’s FIVE things we can take away from the defeat to Wolves.
A front two that doesn’t quite work
For all their endeavour and hard work leading the line, the partnership of Billy Sharp and Oli McBurnie doesn’t look it’s one that’s going to take us forward.
At 34, Sharp is still leading the line for United. And while he puts 100% in and is always good to nick a goal, at Premier League level, you get the impression we need that bit more.
David McGoldrick came on and United instantly looked livelier in attack. Expect McGoldrick to start next weekend alongside McBurnie if he’s fully-fit.
The John Lundstram situation
It was such an easy narrative for some people last night that there was a feeling that some were almost waiting with intent for Lundstram to make a mistake.
We all know he hasn’t signed a new deal. But we also all should know that Wilder has backed Lundstram and will continue to select him as long as his head is in it. Yes, at times he was poor last night. But so were others. And in fairness to Lunny, in the second half he probed away and looked to get things going down the right.
Is he the best player in world and did he put in his performance? No. On the flip side, did he perform much worse than anyone else on the night? Probably not.
Sander Berge will be key
It was only a cameo and he arrived in the game with us on the front foot but the big Norwegian showed glimpses of what he can do and how he is going to be a key man for us this term.
A few lovely touches in midfield and a couple of nice balls into the box were highlights, while he seemed calmer in possession than most and drove forward with the ball, too.
It’s a big season for Berge but based on that small showing last night, we should have a fine player on our hands.
If not Burke last night then when?
Chris Wilder included new signing, Oliver Burke, on the bench but opted not to throw the former Celtic and Nottingham Forest man into the action.
It was a strange move from the Blades boss. McBurnie and Sharp were offering little and with us on the front foot, the time was set really to chuck Burke into the action for ten minutes to see if he could nick a goal.
Of course, the Blades boss knows best and admitted Burke is short on fitness. But there was nothing to lose really and it begged the question of how involved he might be going forward into the campaign.
It’s not all doom and gloom
A 2-0 loss is not ideal on the opening day but as Wilder stated, barring the opening six minutes, it wasn’t like Wolves completely hammered us.
We just needed that bit of quality in the final third and one goal could have turned the game. Nuno Santo even admitted after the game he had once again been impressed with us.
The injury to Lys Mousset, which Wilder revealed after the game, is not ideal. But, hopefully, McGoldrick and Berge will be fit and firing for the game with Villa and we can go to the Midlands confident of nicking a result.