Sheffield United 3-0 Burnley: The key talking points to emerge from a big win over Burnley
The Star's Sheffield United writer James Shield identifies some of the key issues to emerge from today's win over Burnley, as goals from John Lundstram (2) and John Fleck propel Chris Wilder's side to a superb victory.
Super John Lundstram:
This time last year, as United were laying the foundations for what would eventually prove a promotion winning campaign, the chances of John Lundstram's name reverberating inside Bramall Lane were slim at best. The midfielder had only made four Championship appearances by mid-November and, after enduring an equally difficult second half of the season, appeared destined to leave South Yorkshire when Wilder's squad were promoted to the Premier League. What has happened since, with the ever--resent Liverpudlian scoring for the second and third times this term, is nothing short of remarkable. Lundstram's engine not only enabled him to get on the end of David McGoldrick's pass, it has also made him invaluable to a United side which, at the highest level, has benefited from his physical presence in the middle of the park.
Basham's New Skill:
Industry and an unselfish approach to his football have helped Chris Basham become a crowd favourite at Bramall Lane. But in recent weeks, the midfielder turned defender has developed an inventive side to his game too. His pass towards Lys Mousset during the opening exchanges of this game was a peach and followed several similarly impressive centres at West Ham a week earlier. If this trend continues, and Basham can continue to improve his crossing ability, it could see him become even more important to Chris Wilder's squad than he is now. Aged 31, it just goes to show you can teach an old'ish dog new tricks.
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Is there a more creative wing-back in the Premier League than Enda Stevens? At this stage of the season, almost certainly not. The Republic of Ireland international, who together with Lundstram and George Baldock must be among the most improved members of United's first team squad, was involved in both of his side's first two goals and posed a constant threat to Burnley down their right flank. Before the interval, Sean Dyche's players seemed powerless to prevent him charging forward at will.
The Difference McGoldrick Makes:
Despite making an encouraging - in fact, make that excellent - start to the new season, United were in danger of becoming a little too predictable at the beginning of last month. A goalless draw with Watford, which despite representing a decent point away from home was also a missed opportunity given the possession they enjoyed, was evidence of this trend. But David McGoldrick's return to the starting eleven has seen them become a much more creative force. The former Ipswich Town attacker drifts deep, drags defenders out of position and boasts the technique required to exploit his work.
The Only Concern:
With 10 minutes remaining, and having shown signs of distress moments earlier, John Egan was withdrawn by United. With games against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United looming in the horizon, Wilder will hope the centre-half recovers quickly. United's defence is statistically the best in the competition at present and they would prefer not to break it up, even though Phil Jagielka is an excellent and experienced replacement.