Sheffield United won’t be able to defend and attack against Chelsea this weekend.
That’s according to manager Chris Wilder, who has been trying to explain why his team have scored so few goals this season.
The Blades and Burnley are the Premier League’s lowest scorers in 2020/21, with just three goals each. They currently occupy the bottom two places in the table.
Yet United have been relatively solid at the back once again this term. They have only been beaten by more than one goal once – during the opening day 2-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
That’s included facing the last campaign’s top two, Liverpool and Manchester City, in successive weeks.
It doesn’t get much easier this Saturday, with Wilder’s men making the trip to Stamford Bridge.
“We have struggled for goals. The competition that we are up against is intense. Chances don’t come freely, especially if not playing with fluidity, these things happen,” the 53-year-old said in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by Yorkshire Live.
“I am a big believer you can’t have it both ways . You can’t be an attacking side and then be safe at the back.
“They (Chelsea) have so many attacking players and it’s getting that balance right with the players at our disposal. And they have brought some fabulous players in at the top end of the pitch.”
Sheffield United have proven they can do it against Chelsea
This is a slightly strange admission from Wilder. The Blades boss appears to be saying his team can’t be expected to beat the division’s bigger sides.
Yet they disproved that theory in 2019/20, winning against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and the Blues themselves.
In the case of the latter two, they were dominant 3-1 and 3-0 victories respectively post-lockdown.
Wilder has once again said his side can’t go “toe-to-toe” with the likes of Liverpool and Man City. They did only lose by a single goal in both games. But those were still defeats. There are no points for coming close.
They had three shots on target in those fixtures. While United would be foolish to be gung-ho against such good attacking outfits, those statistics still aren’t good enough.
Hopefully Wilder can actually find a way to attack, as well as defend, this time around.