Sheffield United now have three 'new' players to seize 'moments' in Premier League challenge - Alan Biggs

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Sheffield United’s Premier League survival hopes will rest on precisely 3,420 minutes plus stoppage time - but it is mere moments that will decide their fate.

Split seconds amid 57 hours of football. And suddenly the Blades have a lot more “moments” in their team; the big moments you need to stay up.

Losing Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge stripped them close to nil on that score.

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It’s a given that any team managed by Paul Heckingbottom will “leave everything out there”, as they say. It will also be well drilled.

Cameron Archer celebrates scoring his first goal with Oliver McBurnie during the Premier League match against Everton at Bramall Lane. Simon Bellis / SportimageCameron Archer celebrates scoring his first goal with Oliver McBurnie during the Premier League match against Everton at Bramall Lane. Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Cameron Archer celebrates scoring his first goal with Oliver McBurnie during the Premier League match against Everton at Bramall Lane. Simon Bellis / Sportimage

But diligence and determination alone cannot keep a team in the top flight. Not without a sprinkling of sparkle, those split seconds of the unexpected.

James McAtee’s return on loan from Manchester City could be another game-changer in that regard.

No single player is going to keep United afloat so it’s vital they now have three potentially capable of that stroke of match-winning quality.

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So many tight games in the promotion season came down to the provision of exactly that from Ndiaye or Berge - or McAtee.

Now, with McAtee joining Gustavo Hamer and Cameron Archer (who enjoyed a terrific scoring debut against Everton), the Blades again have a real smattering of game-unlocking talent.

Merge that with the togetherness of a tight unit and you might just have a chance in spite of everything.

It’s possible to stay up with just eight or nine wins, as Everton and Nottingham Forest did last season.

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Not all those moments of individuality will count full weight. For instance, Archer’s two goal-producing moments against Everton delivered just a point in the end.

But can the trio mentioned above manage, say, 20 between them across the rest of the campaign?

It will give United some sort of chance, even now, if they can.

And the evidence suggests they can. A time of renewed hope.