Prolific defender, a machine in defence and Chelsea up next - SEVEN talking points from Sheffield United's victory over Wolves

Sheffield United moved to within a point of Wolverhampton Wanderers after John Egan's injury-time goal secured a 1-0 win over Nuno's men at Bramall Lane last night.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 12:04 pm

The goal was Egan's second in as many games, and our man Danny Hall offers six talking points from the game ahead of Saturday's crunch meeting with Chelsea in S2.

Still no talk of Europe

The United manager Chris Wilder has been consistent on this throughout the season, even when United were in touching distance of the Champions League places before the Covid-19 lockdown. Wilder again made reference lately to the fact that United should be nowhere near the European places and although they are there on merit, there is clearly still no chance of the Blades boss getting carried away - in public, at least. But make no mistake - behind the scenes, United's players will be full of belief that they can make history and qualify for Europe for the first time in the club's long history.

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Chris Basham

Is a machine. That is all.

A prolific defender

United left it late to take all three points last night but it was arguably no more than they deserved, after matching a lively, exciting and talented Wolves side throughout and then landing the killer blow right at the death. After so long without a goal, Egan now has two in two and joked on Sky Sports afterwards that he is now prolific, although he only has four games left to score the eight more goals he needs to meet Wilder's target of 10. He is still the only central defender to score in the league all season and for a team that prides itself on contributing offensively from all over the pitch, that is an avenue that Wilder is understandably keen to improve.

Chris Wilder congratulates Sheffield United's English defender Chris Basham at the end of the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers (Photo by Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP)

Going the other way

Of course, the job of the back three is primarily to defend and in recent weeks at least, they have been back to their best. Egan, the returning Jack O'Connell and the machine that is Chris Basham expertly shackled Wolves' fabled front three, with support from their teammates, and Egan in particular kept the dangerous Raul Jiminez quiet all afternoon. In recent weeks the Irishman has faced some of the Premier League's most potent marksmen - including Harry Kane and Jiminez - and has come out on top on each occasion.

How's about stat?

Did anyone watching on Sky Sports last night happen to catch the stat about Wolves' second half goals? You might have caught a passing reference to their record, or seven. Even this morning, I can remember it - 33 second half goals, 12 in the first. It's ingrained on my memory after being repeated for what seemed like the entire game. Nuno's men are clearly a threat after half time - but on this occasion, it was United and Egan that did the damage.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder celebrates with match winner John Egan after his injury-time goal helped secure a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Bramall Lane this evening. (Photo by Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images)

The games keep on coming

Just the small matter of Chelsea at home coming up now! The big issues at Wilder's press conference later this afternoon will likely be ones of fitness, with David McGoldrick the latest to miss out with injury on Wednesday night. The return of O'Connell in defence is a big boost, as was the sight of John Lundstram on the bench after his shoulder issue, but there is no doubt that the return of a fully fit and firing John Fleck and David McGoldrick would greatly enhance their chances of making this brilliant season a truly memorable and outstanding one.

Wizard of Os'

It is testament to the form of Ben Osborn since he came into the team that even if Fleck was available, it is no longer a certainty that he would walk back into the team in the eyes of many supporters. Osborn was again very good against Wolves and only a few wayward passes in midfield blotted his copybook at all. Everyone quite rightly remembers Egan's goal but Osborn's contribution shouldn't be overlooked. He showed great athleticism and defensive instincts to cut out a dangerous Wolves ball forward just before United's goal, and also forced the corner from which it came.

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