Nobody on this website will ever try and tell Chris Wilder how to do his job at Sheffield United given his record with the club.

For us to do that would, frankly, be silly. Wilder has worked wonders at Bramall Lane and has rightly been backed by the board despite a miserable first half of the season this time around.

Recent weeks have seen a sharp upturn in form for the Blades. A number of things have contributed to that. Key players like John Fleck have returned to their best form. Jayden Bogle has exploded onto the scene unexpectedly, and Ethan Ampadu has solved the problem at left centre-back.

Sheffield United v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

Wilder’s tactics have, at times, also helped out. Through League One and the Championship, we regularly operated with a number ten. Mark Duffy was the man to specialise in that role. But as we all know, when United won promotion to the Premier League, Wilder opted to go with a flatter midfield three, instead utilising the energy of John Lundstram alongside Fleck and Norwood.

But in the second half against West Brom this week, Wilder reverted to the formation of days gone by and it worked an absolute treat.

McGoldrick so important, we have to utilise him

Obviously, it would be naive (as Wilder says) to completely open up and go too gung-ho against the very best teams. The very top sides will pick us apart if we do.

But against West Brom, and other games which we have coming up in, there is definitely an argument to be made to suggest we go back to playing that number ten, with McGoldrick as the key focal point.

Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Against the Baggies, McGoldrick’s ability to drop deep and receive the ball on the half-turn proved crucial. It helped draw out Kyle Bartley and co, who were happy to sit on the edge of their own box.

John Fleck was able to link up with Didzy, while John Lundstram had the energy to receive the ball off the back three and still help out further up the pitch.

Creating chances

Everything in that opening 45 against Albion was too static. Yes, we had all the ball but on the whole, we created little and West Brom’s defence essentially had it all their own way.

With two up front in the second half and McGoldrick roaming, suddenly, the Albion defence had a whole new problem to deal with.

Sheffield United v Leicester City - Premier League
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Our wide men had targets in the box. McBurnie expertly occupied Bartley and Ajayi, allowing Billy Sharp to get on with his job of sniffing chances out and giving McGoldrick that bit of space between midfield and the strikers to operate.

Wilder has spoken this week about going out swinging if we are to go down.

Going down swinging, by playing this more attacking set-up and reverting to something Blades fans watched and loved for three seasons, might well be our best way of getting enough wins on the board.

Related Topics