You can get away with quite a bit if you have a Che Adams or a Billy Sharp in your team; or you can bring in a Matty Done.
Some of the time, that is. Not all of the time. Not when the team as a whole is a good deal less than fully functioning. For functioning, substitute two other “f” words, frail and fragile, on the evidence of Sheffield United’s recent games.
But if you add flair to the alliterative list then you have half a chance of at least papering over the cracks, as two-goal Adams did against Rochdale last Saturday along with Done, Sharp and Jose Baxter, among others. Both Adams’ strikes were wonderfully created and executed. It’s just as well at the moment, although let’s not forget United won the game.
Midfield and defence collectively seem to lack power and authority, leaving a need to out-score the opposition with flashes of individual quality.
The shortfall in the whole will puzzle outsiders because United, at this level, are a club overflowing with players of reputation and pedigree. Look at last Saturday’s bench which included Louis Reed, Martyn Woolford, Jamal Campbell-Ryce
and Conor Sammon.
No wonder the Blades are strongly fancied. But as a unit some cohesiveness is plainly lacking. Probably it’s partly due to physical dimensions, as in the height and strength deficiency highlighted here recently.
Watching last weekend, however, left you crying out for a leader in the guise of Chris Morgan. Not just at the back, either. We saw first half throw-ins taken by the subsequently injured Jay McEveley who appeared to have no-one showing to give him options, no-one apparently taking responsibility.
All of this said, we overlook one big detail – United winning 3-2 and just about deservedly in the end against a good side who don’t get the credit for that simply because they are called Rochdale.
Done, as an ex Dale player, will have known all about this booby trap and he could be one catalyst, at least, for a turnaround.
His pace and timing in getting beyond a defence gives United’s playmakers, of whom there are several, the option to spring an attack earlier.
A faster outlet puts the opposition on the back foot rather than allowing them to mass in comfort behind the ball.
Let’s not forget the entertainment, either – 22 goals scored in the six home league games at Bramall Lane to date.
Nigel Adkins’ self-coined “Bladercoaster ride” might be a little too contrived to catch on – but I think we all know exactly what he means.