Danny Higginbotham says that their style of “organised chaos” will keep Sheffield United up this season.
Higginbotham had a brief spell with the Blades in 2013 towards the end of a varied career. After breaking through from the Manchester United academy, the defender was a regular in the Premier League for the likes of Derby County, Southampton and Stoke City.
Having moved into the media following retirement from playing, Higginbotham has kept a close eye on his former team. And the 40-year-old has been surprised by how other pundits have judged the Blades.
“What I didn’t understand when they got promoted was the assumption they were, and still are, a long ball smash-and-grab team,” Higginbotham wrote in the Sun.
“It couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, they play what I like to call ‘organised chaos’ – and it’s the biggest compliment I can give them.
“And the most intriguing thing is no one has figured out how to contain it – and I put myself in that category.
“But this isn’t just a flash in the plan idea from boss Chris Wilder. He was playing this way in the third tier of English football.
“United will be safe this season, and that’s a view I’ve had right from the start.”
What is Danny Higginbotham referring to?
Higginbotham is particularly impressed by the much covered overlapping centre-back system. When the Blades enjoyed success last season in the Championship, Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell regularly pushed up into attacking positions.
Wilder has consciously tempered that since promotion, realising that his team needed to be more cautious against stronger opposition.
Yet it is still evident, with the Blades enjoying success by overloading the wide positions. Despite that they have the joint best defensive record in the division along with Liverpool and Leicester City. Only Manchester City have kept more than their four clean sheets.
After ten matches Wilder’s men are eighth in the table, level on points with Man United. It’s little wonder Higginbotham is impressed.