Norwich City 2, Sheffield United 2: The key talking points as two promotion hopefuls battle out a draw at Carrow Road

Sheffield United faced Norwich City this afternoon
Sheffield United faced Norwich City this afternoon

The Star's James Shield analyses the key talking points from today's game in Norfolk, as United twice came from behind to secure a draw thanks to Billy Sharp's brace.

Why the changed team?
In part, the decision to introduce Gary Madine and Kieran Dowell was a response to last weekend's defeat at Swansea and the physical strains of a Championship season. But with the spine of Norwich City's team ravaged by injury, it was also an attempt to help United impose themselves physically on the game. Although both acquitted themselves well, particularly Madine, the fact Chris Wilder summoned David McGoldrick and Mark Duffy the minute United fell behind for a second time suggested the experiment did not work quite as he would have liked. But the two new arrivals showed why they have been brought to South Yorkshire.

What was behind Billy Sharp's celebration?
The United captain appeared to produce as glove puppet from somewhere as he celebrated in front of the travelling support after scoring his first-half penalty. Actually, it was a Mick Foley 'sock', signed by the WWE wrestler. Sharp later acknowledged he had been urged to do it by a friend. On a more serious note, the centre-forward also confirmed he is in talks about signing a new contract which will extend his stay at Bramall Lane beyond the end of next season.

Why do footballers do it?
Tim Krul was cautioned by referee James Linington for delaying Sharp's penalty during the closing stages of the first-half. But after correctly being shown a yellow card the goalkeeper, who had already walked to the edge of his own area and back, then tried to suggest the ball had not been placed correctly on the spot. If Linington had booked Krul again, which he could easily have done, the the Dutchman would have been the first to claim there has been a miscarriage of justice. Sometimes, players really don't help themselves.

What was the decisive factor?
City, as Wilder later acknowledged, caused all manner of problems during the first-half with their movement and ability to move the ball quickly. Farke's men are also cunning and willing to use every trick in the book to try and knock opponents out of their stride. That is not a critcism, merely on observation, but United kept their focus and showed tremendous strength of character to stay in the game. Despite falling behind early in the second, Wilder's side were actually the dominant force. This match proved they have bottle as well as panache.