Sheffield United fan column: Unitedites should remember where we've come from

After nine games United are well placed with a start to the season that so has fluctuated from excellent to poor, both from games to game and within matches.

Thursday, 27th September 2018, 5:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th September 2018, 5:37 pm
David McGoldrick

United played so well against Bolton and Aston Villa that the occasional drop-off in performance, such as against Birmingham City, is inevitable.

And Birmingham won at previously unbeaten Leeds in their next match, don't forget.

The up-and-down nature of performances within games, if not really concerning, is something to work on.

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After dismantling Villa in the first half United scored a fourth early in the second but then sat back for 40 minutes when a five- or six-goal thrashing was on the cards.

Then against Preston last week United dropped off again after going two up and almost threw away the victory.

But we aren't playing League One teams anymore; even the teams near the bottom, such as Birmingham and Preston, are capable of playing good football, even if the results don't always go their way.

The results won't always go United's way either; we're currently fourth, but only three points in front of 14th, so there will continue to be movement up and down until the division settles down.

Fans getting worked up about United not dominating for 90 minutes or criticising Chris Wilder for changing the formation are quick to forget what we were watching three seasons ago.

When Nigel Adkins was manager we were lucky to get seven minutes of good football, not 70 like we did against Preston.

There are also some uninformed complaints about Wilder's signings, but David McGoldrick has been great, showing that you can get something for nothing in the Championship.

John Egan is getting more confident with every game but whether he's worth what we paid for him is open to debate.

Dean Henderson has been brilliant as well, but he has to maintain those standards to keep Simon Moore out.

So too Oliver Norwood (apart from against Birmingham), who is a step up from Lee Evans, and with Paul Coutts on his way back he too has to keep up his good form.

Ben Woodburn has shown good touches but hasn't had many opportunities, and with Marvin Johnson and Conor Washington it's really too early to judge.

What it adds up to is that Wilder is incrementally improving the squad and is doing so without a large net spend.

He made a profit on Evans and Ryan Leonard, and says he still has some of the David Brooks money to spend.

It might not be enough to win promotion or even make the play-offs, but unless something goes drastically wrong a top-ten finish should be within reach again