Wolves 1-1 Sheffield United: The key talking points from Molineux

The Star’s Sheffield United writer James Shield identifies some of the talking points to emerge from this afternoon’s draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, as Matt Doherty cancels out Lys Mousset’s opener for the visitors.

Sunday, 1st December 2019, 9:27 pm

A GREAT PROBLEM TO HAVE: Plenty of people will choose to rewrite history. Lots have already pretended that, even though he barely started a game for AFC Bournemouth, they were aware of his talents and potential. But in truth, few people at Bramall Lane - yours truly included - knew anything more about Lys Mousset other than the fact he was pretty quick and powerful. After scoring his fifth goal since moving to South Yorkshire during the close season, it is fair to say the Frenchman is no mystery now. And that could pose a problem for United’s hierarchy over the summer because, in this kind of form, Mousset is bound to attract admiring glances from what Wilder likes to describe as “big, powerful clubs.” Still, better to have players other sides covet rather than ones they wouldn’t want to buy for a tenner.

BETWEEN THE EARS: United impressed with the ball. But it was their work without it, particularly after Mousset’s opener, which really impressed at Molineux. Wolves did not want for possession. But one player apart, they struggled to drag their opponents out of position and found themselves passing sideways and backwards rather than edging upfield. That was down to United’s team shape, tactical discipline and powers of concentration. Who says footballers have nothing between the ears?

CATCHWEIGHTS: Adama Traore is built like a cruiserweight but there are times when the former Barcelona winger moves with the grace of a featherweight. The work United had undertaken on maintaining a solid defensive shape meant that Wolves, even when they did enjoy some long periods of possession after Mousset’s opener, struggled to prise apart the visitors’ defence. But Traore, who has also represented Aston Villa and Middlesbrough since moving to England, looked most likely to trouble United’s rearguard. Despite wearing a pair of shorts so tight, he must have been barking orders to his colleagues in a falsetto voice.

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GET RID OF IT: Another match, another farcical demonstration of VAR; a system supposedly so wonderful it was capable of bringing about world peace as well as spotting a handball in the penalty area or trip on the edge of the box. Twice, referee David Coote saw decisions referred to Stockley Park. And on both occasions, first when Chris Basham was suspected of handling before Dean Henderson’s challenge on a Wolves forward was also investigated, neither review was necessary. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be have invested so much - time, money and reputation - in this, we are stuck with it. No matter how much damage it does to the flow of a match or confusion it causes in the stands.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Mousset will probably dominate the spotlight after scoring his fifth goal in as many Premier League starts for United. But Chris Basham was their most effective performer here, particularly during the closing stages when Wolves were pressing for a winner. The defender might not be the most glamorous member of Wilder’s first team squad. Or the most naturally talented. But he is one of the most committed and determined players at the United manager’s disposal, as he proved here.

The Star's Sheffield United writer James Shield: Scott Merrylees