Sheffield United huffed and puffed like they have in most games this season. However, in the vital moments, they lacked quality at both ends of the pitch as Southampton ended their 10 match unbeaten run with a 2-0 win at Bramall Lane.
Story of the match
The first half was one of few chances, which was to be expected considering the form of the two teams. Neither side were looking to overcommit and throw the game away too early.
Danny Ings, the Saints' top scorer, came off injured after just 13 minutes, and he was replaced by Che Adams.
The first real chance of the contest arrived at the half hour mark, and it resulted in a goal. Nathan Tella used his electric pace on his second Premier League start to race in behind before being bought down in the box by Ethan Ampadu. James Ward-Prowse slotted home the subsequent penalty to give Southampton the lead, and that's the way the scores stayed going into the break.
Southampton doubled their lead through the aforementioned Adams shortly after halftime. The Blades failed to clear their lines, and the substitute made them pay by smashing the ball into the back of the net.
The away side took full control of the game after that, and they could have easily doubled the final scoreline. Adams, Nathan Redmond, and Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino all had good chances to put the game to bed late on, but none of them could convert.
In the end, the two goals were enough to wrap up all three points as United offered little attacking threat. It was another disappointing day for the Blades, with the Championship looming ever closer as the weeks go on.
Injuries continue to cost Sheffield United
United manager Chris Wilder has not made any excuses for his team's performances this year even though he has suffered from injuries to crucial players. With no Chris Basham, Jack O'Connell, or John Egan, the solid base that was key to a lot of their results last season has disappeared. If those three were fully fit in the side, the Blades would probably not be in their current position, and they probably would not have conceded as many chances as they did the second half.
Attacking options not varied enough
At the other end of the pitch, Wilder lacks the attacking options needed to make a difference. He often has to bring on forwards off the bench to try and turn the game around, but they rarely work. Today, Oli McBurnie, Lys Mousset, and Billy Sharp were all subbed on, and all three failed to make a major impact on the contest. That is likely because all five of the strikers who played today like to play in a similar role, meaning Wilder simply does not have enough variation in the squad to change his system mid-game. A pacey winger or a more creative number ten can be the difference in games where the opposition are comfortable in defence, but United just don't have any of those at the moment.
Man of the match - Che Adams
The goalscorer came on earlier than he would have expected, but his excellent performance meant Southampton did not miss their talisman after Ings had to come off. Adams scored a superb goal, could have had another, and worked tirelessly to ensure his side came away with all three points.