It has been another unbeaten month for Sheffield United. The current run stands at 14 league games with 1 game remaining in the month of October. Despite this good run things don’t seem to be as rosy as they should be at Bramall Lane. The financial concerns still exist it seems. United’s number 1 goalkeeper could be out for up to 3 months with a thigh strain but Danny Wilson has been unable to bring in either a back up for young George Long or an experienced number 1. They have also not been able to keep Paul Gallagher on loan after his 1 month deal expired.
The main issues once again are the glaring lack of goals and inability to score more than one goal a game. This has cost the side on a couple of occasions, especially at home. Draws against Oldham and Notts County could have easily been wins had United taken the chances created. The draw against Oldham was very frustrating as the equalizer came in the 97th minute and really could have been avoided had United not sat deep looking to hold onto what they had. Away from home has yielded 9 points from 9 though, with excellent wins at Preston and Hartlepool. Again goals have been hard to come by but the defence has held firm in those games, something that has been amiss at home.
I can’t help but compare this season to last, where early on in the season United faulted at times especially at home. I’m well aware that over the summer around 50 goals have left the team’s squad. That is if you add all of the departed goals from Ched Evans, Lee Williamson and Stephen Quinn. I think my frustration is that looking at the squad there is definitely potential for more goals. Nick Blackman and Dave Kitson certainly have the ability the score more goals, as do the rest of the strikers.
Maybe as the season goes on they will start to flow but at the moment United seem to be playing a little like Charlton did last year. Out of all the promoted teams they impressed me less as each week rolled by. Sure, picking up 1-0 wins every week is impressive but every time I watched them or read about their results it seemed they were out played and nicked a victory thanks to a set piece. That could be ultra critical of both Charlton and United. I’m sure that there is much more to both sides.
What got me thinking this way was the victory over Walsall last week. The Blades played against 10 men for just over an hour and created very little. They had the lead after Blackman converted the penalty which had led to the sending off, but after that it was a slow laboured performance and if anything Walsall could have pinched a point had it not been for an excellent save from George Long.
Speaking of George Long, it’s fantastic to see him play as well as he is at the moment. He had a taste of the 1st team last year and looked edgy. Any 18 year old would do but you could see he wasn’t quite ready. This season he’s been given a chance after the unfortunate injury to Mark Howard and he has grabbed it with both hands (pardon the pun). There will no doubt be bumps on the way with young players, especially keepers. Hopefully though we are seeing the emergence of another young player through the academy and he can keep this level of play up.