Martin Smith: Premier League madness brings back memories of Wacky Races but Sheffield United's start is no laughing matter

Remember Wacky Races?

Monday, 5th October 2020, 1:42 pm
George Baldock of Sheffield United reacts after the defeat at Arsenal. Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

You need to be of a certain vintage (old) to recall the thrill of getting home from school to watch Dick Dastardly, Penelope Pitstop and the Slag Brothers in the Bouldermobile but if you look at the Premier League at the moment you’ll get the idea.

Bizarre storylines, unexpected twists, ridiculous escapades by silly and unpredictable characters, what a laugh.

The cartoon was pretty funny too.

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You know you’re in weirdsville when the only comfort a Manchester United boss can find in a 6-1 home shellacking by a former manager is in the fact that Liverpool lost 7-2.

But is there any solace in all this early season madness for Sheffield United?

Not yet.

At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, four games and four defeats is not a great way to start the race.

But at least Sheffield United are a close semblance of their former selves.

They look recognisable as the team they were last season but without the goals.

There is both comfort and despair in that.

Comfort in that they only need to start taking the chances they are creating and things will improve.

Despair in that if they were playing really badly you would know that eventually the tide of form will turn and they’d be back to picking up points.

But it’s that missing ten per cent that can be so difficult to find at any level.

Perversely, a totally out-of-character 7-2 battering might be easier to get over than another decent performance and a one-goal defeat.

The way it is now the Blades are missing the thing that is hardest of all to rediscover.

The race has only just begun but the danger is that the eventual winners and losers might already be in position by the time the early-season madness ends.

So far it’s been Dastardly-style drat and double drat for Wilder, Solskjaer and even Pep Guardiola while Ancelotti and Dean Smith are snickering Mutley-like at the top of the table.

Rhian Brewster, the Blades record £23.5m striker signed from Liverpool is waiting in the wings, other new signings need to bed in.

Fortunately for Chris Wilder and his side there’s a long way to go and he has proven himself the man for the long haul.

Blades fans will all be backing him to have the last laugh.