West Ham United saw off the Blades in emphatic fashion, beating them 3-0, with goals from Rice from the penalty spot, Diop and Fredericks. A win which propelled the Hammers into the Champions League spots as they awaited the Chelsea result, however Sheffield United stay rock bottom with only 11 points to their name.
It seemed apparent that it would be the same old story in terms of finishing as Fabianski was forced into making a number of great saves throughout the game. The Blades battled but couldn’t make any inroads to find the back of the net, which is something all too familiar to them this season.
West Ham caught the Blades off in possession and caught them on the counter many times during the game, one of which led to the penalty for them. Lingard was brought down in the box by Basham, who was lucky to stay on the pitch.
The second goal was a good header from a corner by Diop, however the Blades did seem to switch off and defended poorly. Fredericks sealed the deal for the Hammers with his strike finding the back of the net with seconds to go.
The great escape
The great escape looks an impossible task for Sheffield United as they sit bottom of the Premier League on 11 points with 14 games to go, with Newcastle United being the team to catch outside the relegation zone, being 14 points ahead of them.
A mammoth of a task is ahead of the Blades even to have a fighting chance of survival at this point of the season. The lowest points to survive a Premier League season ever was 34 points, which was done by West Brom in the 04/05 season. To get this minimum points tally the Blades would need to win eight out of the remaining games, which would put them on 35 points, however even this probably won’t be enough for survival, with all teams around them winning games recently.
It’s becoming increasingly likely week by week that the Blades will be a Championship side next season along with both West Brom and Fulham, however Fulham have got a game in hand on their relegation rivals and a win would put them just four points off fellow strugglers Newcastle United.
Sheffield United aren’t a million miles away from the performances from last season, with scoring goals being an issue in both seasons. Sheffield United just don’t seem to have the cutting edge that they had in previous seasons.
In recent times it’s been better, as they hit a good run of form stemming from the FA Cup. McGoldrick is Sheffield United’s current top goal scorer on six goals, however he’s being slowly caught up by Jayden Bogle, who is a right-wing back and is currently on three goals for the season, with Billy Sharp being the second top goal scorer on five goals.
In the summer Sheffield United broke their transfer record, signing the young prospect of Rhian Brewster, who’s goal scoring record for Swansea City in the Championship was very eye-catching. He was signed in January by Swansea, scoring ten goals in 20 appearances for the club. This caught the attention of many clubs, and Sheffield United managed to sign him from Liverpool.
However, Brewster has been thrown into the deep end with the Blades, and he hasn’t been able to replicate what he managed to achieve last season for Swansea City. Not only has this been an issue, but both Mousset and McBurnie have sustained injuries this season, missing a number of games between them.
As the Championship beckons for Chris Wilder’s men, they must look at what the future may hold. A very competitive division as the Blades know all to well after their promotion coming down to the wire. Sheffield United have a great chance to bounce straight back up, after signing a lot of top half of the table players from other Championship clubs.
Players like McBurnie and Brewster flourished before in the Championship at their previous clubs. Two out and out proven goal scorers of the league, which the Blades need desperately in order to bounce straight back up.
The team isn’t far off the last time that they were in that league, with their being very few changes and signings to the side making it into the starting XI. This could go a long way for the Blades in the long run for next season, as it’ll be small changes that’ll be needed to improve the squad and to help drive them forward.
A player which you can’t forget is Billy Sharp, who linked up with fellow striker David McGoldrick, to form a dangerous attack last. However the Blades now play with a defensive midfielder rather than an attacking one, with the old attacking role many Blades call ‘The Duffy Role’, after Mark Duffy who played their for three successful seasons.