Sheffield United: Chris Wilder rubbishes claims about his team's approach to the Premier League ahead of Arsenal clash
Chris Wilder has dismissed suggestions Sheffield United should adopt a policy of all out attack when they face Arsenal next week, insisting it would be footballing suicide to ignore the threat posed by Unai Emery's side.
Instead, speaking ahead of Monday's Premier League fixture at Bramall Lane, Wilder unveiled plans to adopt a similar strategy to the one which saw United come agonisingly close to shattering Liverpool's unblemished start to the season last month.
After entering the international break ranked 13th in the table, the visit of last term's Europa League finalists marks the start of a gruelling run of games for Wilder's team with West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United all featuring on the fixture schedule before the end of November.
After being held to a goalless draw by Watford a fortnight ago, United have been encouraged to revert to the ultra-expansive style which helped them win promotion from the Championship. But Wilder, who could be without a trio of key players for the meeting with Arsenal, believes that narrative does not reflect what is happening on the pitch.
"It's not (about) taking the shackles off, I don't agree with that or the way it's put," he said. "I think we have gone for games. Liverpool, do we go bombing forward against one of the best counter-attacking teams in the world?
"Watford played eight at the back, and that is us at Watford, an established team at this level with some excellent players no matter how they've started."
Wilder must wait until John Fleck, David McGoldrick and record signing Oli McBurnie tackle late fitness tests before deciding his starting eleven against Arsenal, although United's coaching staff will keep the results of their "clearance sessions" under wraps. Despite concerns about their availability, and United's returns in front of goal, Wilder is not planning wholesale changes to the team which travelled to Vicarage Road. However, he has indicated there could be a reshuffle up front to try and exploit the weaknesses in Emery's defence.
"I believe in consistency," Wilder said. "There has been continuity. At the top of the pitch, I'm not so sure if it's about finding the right partnership, it's about those individual moments. I understand people saying they need a run of games, but that's what they are paid to do."