SHEFFIELD UNITED: Steel city Blades in the habit of ‘grinding out’ wins

Graphic by Simon Waller
Graphic by Simon Waller

A CHANT of “1-0 to the mighty Blades” might have a certain ring to it right now.

Six out of Sheffield United’s eight wins in their unbeaten start to their League One season have come by that scoreline.

The joint leaders have been forced into taking a more pragmatic approach after losing several top performers over the last 18 months, including Matthew Lowton, Lee Williamson, Stephen Quinn and Ched Evans.

Their success has been built on a rock solid defence.

Seven shut-outs have been recorded in total, with highly-rated teenage shot-stopper George Long chalking up four of those.

United boss Danny Wilson says : “We have been very consistent. We are not always going to play the purist football. But what we are doing when games are becoming tough is we are grinding out results; which is terrific.

“It is fantastic to be up there (joint top) but it doesn’t matter now (in the season-long context ).

“You have to look at the personnel of your team. We have lost a lot of players and to replace them with quality is difficult. What we have done is put a different type of player in and play to their strengths. In some cases the strength is really digging in and having a good go.

“When fans see them doing that, they will always back them. Maybe we don’t have as much quality as we had at the beginning of the season but that’s understandable.

“The group of players here are fantastic and will only get better.”

Did you know?

United scored 92 goals last season en route to the League One play-off final. Only Manchester City scored more.

United have become a more workmanlike, functional team capable of grinding out results when not playing at their maximum. They boast the meanest defence in the division, having shipped in 10 goals in 15 outings and only four on their travels.

Leading marksman Nick Blackman has struck seven of United’s 19 league goals, four from the penalty spot.

Matches Home Away Overall

Wins 4 4 8

Draws 4 3 7

Defeats 0 0 0

Winning % 50% 57.1% 53.3%

Drawing % 50% 42.9% 46.7%

Losing % 0% 0% 0%