Sheffield United were one of the most impressive sides in the Premier League last season, in their first season back in the top flight for over a decade. With overlapping centre-backs and a highly rigid 3-5-2 formation, Chris Wilder's side were one of the most exciting and tactically intriguing sides to watch in 2019-20. With the fantastic performances of the squad as a whole, Sheffield United finish in 9th place last season, winning or drawing 26 of their 38 games. Perhaps most impressively of all, they conceded just 39 goals, the fourth lowest total in the league. After their fantastic performances, nobody would have expected them to struggle this badly in 2020-21. It could have been predicted that without Dean Henderson and Jack O'Connell they might compete in a relegation battle this time around, but nobody predicted them to be one of the worst sides in Premier League history. As things stand, Sheffield United are heading towards the lowest points total in the history of the league, and currently hold a Premier League record for longest winless run. Chris Wilder's side have been bad to say the least, and this Tactical Analysis will attempt to uncover exactly what has gone wrong for the Blades this season. Here is our Tactical Analysis all about Chris Wilder's Sheffield United in 2020-21.
Any team's style of play needs to fit the personnel and formation. But a relatively new, unexplored tactical innovation arising out of the re-emerging rise of back-three formations is the concept of overlapping centre-backs. Teams like Sheffield United and Atalanta have achieved widescale success utilizing attack-minded centre-backs, who frequently find themselves in advantageous positions, attempting to join the attack and create chances for their teammates. By adopting this style of play, these teams create overloads in wide and/or central areas, and push more numbers into the box, where the delivery of crosses can be a great asset. On the surface, this may seem like a very simple approach. But the concept of overlapping centre-backs is far more complex than just the simple nature of a centre-back running around a wing-back. So let's get right into this Tactical Analysis all about Overlapping Centre-Backs.
After years and years of back-four systems being the dominating dogma in world football, back-three systems are now starting to take over. The growing popularity of formations like 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 has been matched by the variety of tactical nuisances that managers around the world have used to innovate these system of plays. 3-5-2, for example, has many distinct variations and teams operating within this formation can feel comfortable knowing that they can easily adapt their midfield structure to match what they want to achieve out of any game. Here are 3 Ways To Play 3-5-2.