Gary O’Neil saw his side jump to eighth in the Premier League after a 1-0 victory, as Sheffield United lose their 19th Premier League game of the season.

 

Pablo Sarabia scored the only goal of the game after 30 minutes despite Sheffield United creating good chances throughout the game, dangerous on the counter-attack.

 

It was Wolves’ sixth Premier League victory in their last 10 and Sheffield United’s struggles continued with their seventh loss in as many games.

 

Wolves continue to struggle against defensive teams.

Photo by Jack Thomas. 

 

The home side had 63 per cent possession in the game which continues to prove hard for Wolves to use to their own advantage.

 

Out of Wolves’ 26 games so far in the Premier League, seven of them has seen Wolves have over 55 per cent possession, winning just two and losing four.

 

Contrastingly, Wolves have had under 45 per cent possession in 10 games this season, winning five and losing only three, a tactic that works for O’Neil and his players.

 

With attacking players such as Matheus Cunha, Hwang Hee-Chan and Pedro Neto, Wolves play to their strengths of playing direct football, not wanting to dominate the possession stats.

 

As well as this, midfielders Joao Gomes and Mario Lemina are players who possess great defensive abilities, more than the attacking side of the game.

 

This makes it harder for Wolves when having more of the ball to unlock defences, the step up for a team like Wolves is to be able to turn dominance into convincing victories.

 

Sheffield United failed to punish Wolves with their few good chances, O’Neil will continue to find ways for his side to be better with the superior possession stats.

 

Blades’ improved defence.

Photo by Catherine Ivill. 

 

Sheffield United have conceded 27 goals in Chris Wilder’s 12 games at the club this season, compared to 39 under Paul Heckingbottom in his 14 games.

 

With Wolves dominating much of the ball throughout the game, the Blades defence knew they would have to be solid, which they were for all but a few seconds of the game when Sarabia headed home.

 

Sheffield United only conceded two shots on target, their least in a Premier League game this season.

 

Wilder’s side have conceded an expected goals of 22 in his time this season, the Blades under Heckingbottom with 33, a clear sign how Wilder has improved the defence.

 

If the attacking players such as James McAtee and Rhian Brewster could finish the chances they get in a game, such as the openings against Wolves, Sheffield United may stand a chance of survival with the improved defence.

 

Pablo Sarabia continues his underrated season.

Photo by Jack Thomas

 

The Spaniard scored a glancing header which won his side the three points, as well as the goal, Sarabia played a great game.

 

After joining the club in January 2023 for €5million, the Spanish international failed to impress in the remaining fixtures of last season, scoring just one goal in 13 games.

 

However, this season he has three goals and six assists to his name in the league, also amounting the second highest assists per 90 in the league, second to his teammate Neto.

 

After injuries for Neto and Cunha, and international duty for Hwang Hee-Chan, Sarabia has seen more minutes than expected this season and he is finally repaying the money the club spent for his services.

 

Vinicius Souza is key to Sheffield United.

Photo by SportImage.

 

Vinicius Souza has been one of very few good players for Sheffield United this season, and performed well again today, protecting the back line well for almost the whole game.

 

The Brazilian had the highest pass success rate and made the most tackles in the game for the Blades as they fell to defeat.

 

No Sheffield United player has started more games (24) and has a higher average match rating than Souza this season , proving to be a shining light in a team that are seriously struggling at the bottom of the Premier League.

 

Souza joined the Blades in the summer transfer window just passed, from Belgian side Lommel SK for a fee of €12.5million, arguably the best deal of the window for Sheffield United.

 

However, if Sheffield United hope to survive for another top-flight season, Souza will need help from his teammates quickly, with only 12 games to go.