The big problem Sheffield United are wrestling with ahead of trips to Manchester City and Liverpool

Conventional wisdom would dictate a change to their starting eleven.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 27th December 2019, 5:05 pm
Lys Mousset replaces Oli McBurnie during Sheffield United's game against Watford at Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

After all, this weekend’s visit to Manchester City will be the second match of three squeezed into a seven day period over the festive season.

But speaking ahead of the meeting with the reigning Premier League champions, which is followed by a trip to leaders Liverpool, Sheffield United are expected to resist the temptation to reshuffle their pack after manager Chris Wilder espoused the benefits of continuity.

“You could look at it that way, at the freshness,” he replied, after being asked freshness could be an issue at the Etihad Stadium. “But sometimes you look at continuity as well.

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“There’s two ways you can go and you’ll just have to see what we do. There’s a school of thought about both.”

Although protocol prevented him from saying so, coupled with the desire not to say anything which could later be plastered all over an opposition dressing room wall, Wilder would probably have considered utilising his squad had United’s Christmas and New Year schedule been different.

Mindful of the need to take something from Thursday’s home game against Watford, which ended in a 1-1 draw, Wilder selected the strongest side at his disposal.

Subsequently breaking that up for meetings with England’s two most powerful clubs would, unless injuries force United’s hand, be a risky strategy. Not to mention a potentially disastrous one given the attacking power Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, whose Liverpool team play host to United on January 2nd, can deploy.

Although centre-forward Lys Mousset could return after being named on the bench for their last two outings, United are likely to wait until facing AFC Fylde in the FA Cup before handing opportunities to those in need of first team football.

“We’ve played everybody now except City,” Wilder, whose side finished their game against Watford in sixth, said. “But we’re a little bit greedy and actually, we could have done a little bit better.

“It’s a great start in terms of performances and results though.”