For Sheffield United, it was a point gained at Huddersfield Town yesterday as the Blades rode their luck in patches against the impressive Terriers.
A fortunate looking disallowed goal – albeit Danny Ward was probably offside as well – as well as late penalty claim that seemed nailed on at the time not being given, ensured the Blades came away with a share of the spoils.
United manager, Paul Heckingbottom, had rung the changes for the clash. The midfield was completely revamped, as Morgan Gibbs-White, Sander Berge, and John Fleck all started. Up top, Oli McBurnie was given the nod as well. All four had their moments, although none of the quartet were at their very best.
Naturally, the spotlight was on Sander Berge. The big Norwegian was brought in to replace the ever-impressive Oli Norwood. In fairness to Berge, he did well in the main and had a lot of the ball. However, according to former Blades striker Carl Asaba, Berge didn’t quite add to the midfield as he’d hoped.
How Did Sander Berge Do At Huddersfield?
We highlighted the performance of Jack Robinson yesterday for United. He had the most touches of any outfield player for the Blades and performed admirably once again. But in terms of the midfielders, it was Berge who was most involved.
Per stats from Whoscored, Berge had 82 touches – around 30 more than any other United midfield player – and completed over 91% of his passes. He was unlucky not to score with a fine effort from range, completed four clearances on the defensive end, and quite impressively, completed all but one of his attempted ‘long balls’.
Certainly, it wasn’t the worst performance going. However, Asaba does have a point here and it’s not that he’s digging Berge out. As he says in his Tweet, it’s a chicken and egg scenario.
The midfielder needs minutes. But we can’t not play Oli Norwood. The Blades simply tick over better with Norwood involved and that leaves Berge having to play a more advanced role. The problem then comes is that Gibbs-White has been so, so good that he won’t be getting dropped either. There could be a shout to play Berge next to Norwood on the left side of the midfield, but Heckingbottom seems to prefer a balance with Hourihane or Fleck.
However, the squad depth is quite striking for the Blades. And above all else, that is really important. In the end, it could be what sees us into a top six slot come May.