The Chalkboard: Wilder needed to ditch three-man defence to overcome Birmingham

Have Birmingham found the best way to halt Sheffield United? In their quest for an automatic promotion place, the Blades’ chances of securing a top-two finish took another setback with a 1-1 draw against Garry Monk’s side.

On reflection, it could turn out to be a valuable point, especially as the Blues defeated Leeds a matter of days before.

But the way they surrendered possession and made life difficult for Chris Wilder’s men should have made the manager look to an alternative formation at St Andrew’s.

Three-man defence wasn’t necessary

Wilder’s system this season has worked a treat and it hasn’t come unstuck many times. However, considering the Blades struggled to break down a dogged Birmingham side, they should have looked towards a clever plan B that may have stopped them from dropping points.

With Jack O’Connell missing, the United defence doesn’t look as convincing. That is understandable given his performances this season, and it was his absence that should have prompted a change too.

Birmingham dominated in midfield but were willing to sit in and let Sheffield United have possession. As a result, they could have done with another man in midfield, rather than defence.

Wilder would never start the game in this way, but given how the match was going, a switch from his beloved three-man defence would have been ideal.

After the defeat to Bristol City in which the Blades lost 3-2, Wilder claimed he wouldn’t change to a more defensive approach.

Therefore, this would have been the perfect opportunity to show that he was willing to be more attacking. Although the Blades boss was able to open the game up more out wide late on, they were still left with dropped points as they failed to go back above Leeds.

Against teams who are difficult to break down, switching to a four-man defence may not be the worst idea.