Lys Mousset was once again included for Sheffield United as they took a well-earned point at Arsenal yesterday.
The French striker has scored five times for the Blades this season. Following a £10m move from Bournemouth in the summer, Mousset has quickly established himself as a fan favourite.
He’s scored crucial goals against the Gunners, as well as finding the net at Everton, Wolves, and West Ham. His strike, too, against Man United at home, was a fine piece of play.
But Chris Wilder saw fit to take Mousset off yesterday after just 56 minutes. Alongside Oli McBurnie up top, the pacey forward was relatively ineffective against a shakey Gunners backline.
It’s a trend with Mousset that’s becoming a little bit worrying for some Blades fans.
Since being included in the squad for the first time against Chelsea at the end of August, Mousset has been involved with every first-team selection ever since.
However, in being involved in those 20 games since that day at Stamford Bridge, Mousset has yet to complete 90 minutes for the Blades.
The closest he has got to completing the whole 90 has been at Wolves away, where he lasted 86 minutes. He lasted 83 at Manchester City, too, but that has been as good as it’s got.
Including today, Mousset has been taken off around the hour mark six times. It’s a pretty worrying trend in all honesty. Having paid £10m for a striker, you’d expect that by January he would be fully up to speed.
But something is not clicking for the Frenchman. Whether that be something in training or natural fitness. A comedy interview in the week between Oli McBurnie and Callum Robinson revealed Mousset to be one of the worst trainers.
While those comments were tongue-in-cheek, it does raise the question of if it’s affecting his overall play.
Loss of form
Aside from the lack of completing 90 minutes, Mousset is also worryingly out of form for the Blades.
He’s now gone nine games without a goal in the red and white. While Oli McBurnie and John Fleck have taken up some of the mantle, it’s another worry for the Blades.
Chris Wilder will be hoping for Mousset to get back to his best, and quickly. February sees a vital run of games that is likely to make or break United’s season.
He will, therefore, need his speedy frontman playing at his very best if Wilder’s men are to take maximum points.