The Chalkboard: Sheffield United must have a plan B in the Premier League

Sheffield United’s celebrations after being promoted to the Premier League may be short-lived if their manager doesn’t have a plan B once the Blades arrive in the top flight.

On the chalkboard

Wilder has employed a revolutionary style at Bramall Lane which has used overlapping centre-backs to make the Yorkshire club a potent attacking force.

They may well soon find out playing in that way against the calibre of teams in the Premier League can be damaging, and the former Northampton manager needs a plan B.

One of the hardest things to do when you’re promoted is acknowledging that you are no longer one of the strongest squads in the division. Teams have often struggled with this, last season Fulham came up playing some of the most beautiful football the Championship had ever seen.

Slavisa Jokanovic tried to continue that style in the Premier League but found himself coming unstuck as the opposition mostly had stronger personnel at their disposal. Sheffield United will find themselves in a similar situation if they don’t adapt their style.

Need to change

In the Championship Wilder’s side could dominate possession as their squad was amongst the best in the league. There really weren’t many risks attached when they did push their centre-backs forward.

John Egan acted as the covering defender and there is an argument to make that he is one of the best in his position in that division.

But in the Premier League Egan will not be in that upper echelon of centre-backs and won’t be able to handle such a heavy workload on his own.

The Blades often go forward with seven or eight players joining the attack, and if they choose to employ such an all guns blazing approach in the Premier League they will be caught out.

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It seems that Wilder has one of two options; either sign one of the best centre-backs in the world, or change his tactics. With United being unable to splurge huge sums in the transfer window you have to feel that the 51-year-old’s hand will be forced into changing the way his team plays.

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