West Bromwich Albion 0, Sheffield United 1: The key talking points as Chris Wilder’s side move back into the automatic promotion places
The Star’s James Shield analyses some of the key themes to emerge from this evening’s match at The Hawthorns.
Duffy or Dowell It is a delightful but difficult dilemma for Chris Wilder, with both bringing a slightly different dimension to Sheffield United's work in midfield. The 51-year-old and his staff also have knack of getting the decision about who to play when exactly right. Against Reading last weekend, Duffy's ability to seek out space laid the platform for a 4-0 win. Here, at The Hawthorns, Dowell got the nod ahead of the Liverpudlian and was on target after less than a quarter-of-an-hour.
Lucky Escape Early in the second-half, Kieran Gibbs was left thanking his lucky stars that referee Oliver Langford obviously did not enjoy a clear line of sight when he caught Kieron Freeman high on the ankle. The challenge was late and, although the former Arsenal man was probably caught out by the speed of the ball, it was a terribly poor challenge. The fact Langford did not even award a foul suggests his view of the incident had been blocked by another player.
Norwood Available Oliver Norwood is available for selection against Sheffield Wednesday after negotiating safe passage through this game. The midfield entered the match on nine cautions and knowing that a 10th yellow card of the season would rule him out of the trip to Hillsborough. The Northern Ireland international showed his usual tenacity in midfield but refused to make tackles unless he was certain, absolutely certain, he could win the ball.
Egan's Absence John Egan impressed during the first-half of this match, before being withdrawn during the interval. With fellow defenders George Baldock and Jack O'Connell ruled-out ahead of kick-off due to injury, United can ill afford to lose any more members of their rearguard over the coming weeks, even though they have coped remarkably well in their absence.