Sheffield United 0-1 Southampton: The key talking points
Some of the issues to emerge from today’s game between Sheffield United and Southampton at Bramall Lane.
United and Southampton remain the only two clubs not to score a first-half goal in Premier League competition so far this term, after the opening period ended in stalemate. Only a combination of poor finishing and a fine Dean Henderson save to deny Che Adams ensured it did. But Chris Wilder's men were left to rue the chances they missed when Moussa Djenepo danced his way through their defences to give the visitors a 67th minute lead. David McGoldrick was twice guilty of missing chances before the Malian pounced, while Oli McBurnie had earlier seen his opener wiped from the record books by the VAR. It was a reminder, not that one is really needed about the importance of being ruthless at the highest level.
A CHANGE OF ROLE MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA
McGoldrick is a delightful footballer, and comfortably reached double figures in front of goal as United plotted a course out of the Championship last season. However, is he clinical enough in front of goal to spearhead a Premier League attack. On the evidence since August, the answer is 'no', although McGoldrick's skills are still worthy of a place in the starting eleven. With Mark Duffy now on loan at Stoke City, one wonders if the former Ipswich Town marksman will eventually be deployed in an attacking midfield role rather than even further forward. Certainlty he should have scored at least one of the two fine chances he enjoyed here.
TO VAR OR NOT TO VAR
Wilde is a fan or VAR. But the United manager must be tempted to revise his opinion after the system ruled-out Oli McBurnie's opener for offside, after John Egan had first tried and failed to head Oliver Norwood's free-kick across the area home. Three sides of Bramall Lane had already erupted in celebration when it referee Lee Mason signalled it was being referred to the analysis hub at Stockley Park. With around a quarter of an hour remaining, United appealed for a penalty when the ball appeared to strike James Ward-Prowse's forearm. But play continued, much to the frustration of Wilder and his team.
BILLY’S BIG CHANCE GONE
When Billy Sharp was summoned from the bench, the United captain knew this was his chance to stake a claim for a starting role against Everton last weekend. But he will watch that match from the stands after receiving a straight red card for a foul on fellow substitute Stuart Armstrong. It was the type of challenge - catching Armstrong on the shin - which would have barely raised a murmur 10 years ago. Unfortunately in the present climate, it was no surprise when Mason sent-off a clearly bemused Sharp, who cut a disconsolate figure has he walked off the pitch and down the tunnel.