Defeat to Leeds United shows Sheffield United's season could be defined by this transfer window

There was plenty to admire about Sheffield United’s performance during today’s Yorkshire derby against Leeds, including the intensity of their pressing, the ability to overcome more disruption to Chris Wilder’s starting eleven and the contribution of Oliver Burke - whose power and pace brings a different dynamic to an attack which continues to come under the spotlight.

By James Shield
Sunday, 27th September 2020, 2:35 pm
Leeds United's Patrick Bamford (right) celebrates scoring his side's goal with team-mates during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Molly Darlington/NMC Pool/PA Wire.
Leeds United's Patrick Bamford (right) celebrates scoring his side's goal with team-mates during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Molly Darlington/NMC Pool/PA Wire.

But after losing and failing to score for the third Premier League fixture in succession, there is also now irrefutable evidence that Wilder must be allowed to sign a prolific centre-forward before the transfer window closes early next month in order to give his team the best possible chance of surviving at the highest level.

Patrick Bamford’s header, two minutes from the end of normal time, proved enough to settle a match which had seen both sides create enough chances to ensure the final scoreline had a very different look.

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The only trouble was, from the hosts’ perspective, they once again failed to take advantage of those that came their way. Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster, the player Wilder wants to kickstart his squad’s season, remains out-of-reach due to the constraints of the budget he has been handed by the Bramall Lane board. On this evidence, the outcome of the manager’s bid to bring Brewster to South Yorkshire is likely to decide how the rest of the season unfolds.

United looked disconsolate when Bamford, who had been searching out space between their defenders all afternoon, nodded home Jack Harrison’s cross during the closing stages. And little wonder, after engineering a series of promising situations but failing to make them pay.

Leeds’ Illan Meslier, who like Aaron Ramsdale produced a series of fine saves, denied both John Lundstram and George Baldock to prevent the visitors from falling behind before Bamford pounced, while Burke threatened their defence on several occasions - carrying the ball well across the box.

Ramsdale also did well to thwart Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling. But United, who return to action at Arsenal next weekend, would surely have taken something from the contest if they possessed more of a cutting edge.