The Blades are continuing to impress this season and now sit only behind Man City and Liverpool in one key statistical category.
Chris Wilder’s men currently sit seventh in the Premier League table. Last weekend’s win over Aston Villa put United some ten points clear of the bottom three.
This weekend sees the Blades travel to Brighton before hosting Watford on Boxing Day. However, following this, they face a tough run of fixtures, including trips to both Man City and Liverpool.
But the Blades can put themselves right up there with City and Liverpool when it comes to on aspect of their play.
How do Sheffield United rank alongside City and the Reds?
As revealed on Sky Sports last night, the Blades are third only to the title-challenging pair when it comes to open play crosses. Indeed, they have delivered 290, only 13 behind Liverpool. City, on the other hand, are well out in front on 373.
But, as touched on by Carragher, the statistic is all the more impressive given United don’t dominate possession.
According to Whoscored, the Blades sit on an average of 46% possession per game. This is much less than Guardiola and Klopp’s sides, who are around the 60% mark.
Chris Wilder has built his Sheffield United team around overloads in wide areas. Furthermore, he has drawn praise for the innovative system. The term ‘overlapping centre-backs’ is now becoming commonplace when Blades games are analysed.
Making it count
The important part of getting crosses in the box is making sure they lead to goals or big chances. Given getting the ball wide and into the box is so important to the Blades, it’s equally important goals are scored.
And in United’s case, it seems to be paying off in the main. Goals have flowed from wide positions.
Just last weekend we saw John Lundstram fire in for John Fleck to convert. At Norwich the weekend prior, Enda Stevens nodded home from George Baldock.
We’ve seen it all season. Oli McBurnie, John Lundstram, and Lys Mousset have all benefitted from balls into the box, gobbling up goalscoring opportunities when they can.
While Man City and Liverpool will continue to get the plaudits, it’s a testament to how well this Blades team are doing when you look at this stat alone.