Sheffield United 0 Wolves 2

When the Sheffield skyline suddenly blackened and emptied its contents on our heads as we ran to make kick-off, it was understandable to fear the worst.

Batth Sheffield Utd

No Dicko, Sako, Price or Ricketts and the nation’s form team lying in wait, on a ground that has thrown up more misery than most over the many years we’ve visited it.

Thankfully, only the Blades’ 125 year celebrations were dampened on a glorious away day, as both their 11 game unbeaten run and eight straight clean sheet stat came to an end.

When you’re flying high at the top of the league with your own winning run etched into the history books, anxious glances to the heavens – if not the teamsheet itself – should be the last places we seek inspiration.

In Kenny Jackett however, we have a man for all seasons who would evidently keep calm to navigate us through whatever choppy waters lie in wait.

They don’t come much more tempestuous than Sheffield United in their own backyard and adding Matt Doherty, Lee Evans, Leon Clarke and in particular David Edwards proved to be a masterstroke.

The Welshman scored the decisive second with an uncharacteristically lethal finish, after making a more familiar lung-busting run to distract the goalkeeper for the first.

Edwards and Doherty aside, it wasn’t as if our surprise replacements were particularly impressive, but they combined to negate a feisty, mobile Sheffield United side which lacked nothing in quality.

Bramall lane

Goals change games alright, and having weathered an early storm when the hosts could easily have led (take a bow Carl Ikeme), James Henry burst into life at the other end of the pitch and whipped in a cross-shot that found its way into the far corner.

Undeterred, the Blades carried on as if nothing happened, with Jose Baxter catching the eye and causing no end of problems around a swarm of busy teammates.

Thankfully we held on until half-time and like Walsall at the Banks’s, we burst into life at the start of second half to catch the hosts cold.

Jacobs pinged a glorious crossfield ball to that man James Henry, who teased and tormented his opposing defender in customary swagger before crossing for the onrushing David Edwards, who dispatched clinically from close range, to the delight of us jubilant fans behind the goal.

Like the first goal, its debilitating effect was huge, as the Blades began to do unexpected things that we hadn’t seen all game…

…They made mistakes.

Lots of them, as they gave the ball away regularly, made the wrong choices and generally became ragged.

It was a testament to our purple performers that they arrived at such a stage, with stout defending, pick-pocket possession and a bullish appetite for a good old scrap all playing their part.

As this Wolves team continues to raise smiles on so many previously brow-beaten faces, a win at a previously impenetrable Sheffield United shouldn’t have been in doubt.

Whatever the sum of its parts, you sense that nothing – including a wet and wild Bramall Lane – is insurmountable.

Sheffield United Vs Wolves Preview

A difficult week ends with a difficult trip to Brammall Lane.

Wolves Sheff Utd

It’s never been a place where I’ve felt particularly confident about Wolves’ prospects and after coming unstuck in midweek, it’s now an even bigger examination of our promotion credentials.

We all hoped the team would continue to cruise towards a Championship return, but things rarely pan out that way in football.

10 games remain and I reckon 20 points must be the target. Hitting that well established 2 points a game average will take us to 97 points, which should be enough to see us home.

Sheffield United

Sheff Utd logoWhilst Wolves were racking up nine wins in a row, United managed seven of their own, whilst also booking a place in the last four of the FA Cup.

What looked like being a disastrous season for the Blades then, could yet turn out to be one of their best in recent memory.

The play-offs look a tough ask, but aren’t out of the question, whilst Hull City must also be considered beatable opponents at Wembley next month. Good luck to them I say.

Nigel Clough has done an excellent job of turning things around in such a short period of time and with 9 wins, 5 draws and just 3 defeats at Brammall Lane all season, they’re tough opposition on their own patch.

Their 2-0 defeat at Molineux earlier in the season was a closer game than the final scoreline suggested. They could easily have been up in that match before Wolves eventually wrestled it away.

Wolves

Kenny Jackett accused his side of not adapting to the conditions on Tuesday, but those that went suggested trying to adapt to the conditions was the problem. Too much long ball and not enough of the passing that’s taken us to where we are.

Wolves team for Sheffield Utd

Of course it won’t always be easy for Wolves to move the ball around effectively on slower, uneven pitches, but they’ve got to try. The moment we start playing long diagonals, we level the playing field and it becomes a scrap.

I’m hoping to see Wolves get back to what they do best tomorrow, which is getting on the ball and controlling the play with some possession.

Kevin McDonald can expect a hot reception on his return, so it will be interesting to see how he responds. I have a suspicion Kenny might hand Leon Clarke a start tomorrow, but would prefer to see the established first XI assuming all are fit and ready.

The odds

Despite recent hiccups, Wolves are favourites to win this one at 5/4. Sheffield Utd are 11/5 and the draw is 23/10.

We know from bitter recent experience that former players have a habit of scoring against their old clubs, so if you back Macca to get the opener tomorrow, he’s available at 11/1.

All odds here.

The gaffer

Predictions

Another defeat means another straightforward update for the PL table.

Three people foresaw the defeat in midweek so well done to woodywolf who picked up a single point and both Steve Howl and Jazzwolf who got the scoreline spot on to double up.

I’m expecting a very tough game tomorrow and the possibility of a bad week getting worse isn’t too hard to envisage.

But I still back this Wolves team because on their day they’re better than anyone else in League One. It’s just up to them to prove it.

2-1 to us.

Up The Wolves

Wolves 2 Sheffield United 0

First rule of Bakary Sako is: you do not doubt Bakary Sako.

Bakary Sako Wolves

The second rule of Bakary Sako is: you DO NOT doubt Bakary Sako.

Five goals, three assists and less than than a quarter of the season played, yet an utterly perplexing number still refuse to obey these simple guidelines.

You all have to admit it though: spectacularly good or eye-wateringly bad, Sako is the star of the show. The headline act. The man you came to see.

An hour of comedy yesterday, followed by a thrilling 30-minute conclusion made this most recent episode worthy of the ticket price alone.

In a game which saw him trip over his own laces, scuff a corner straight out of play and surrender possession more times than Sam Ricketts climbs shoulders, he was still quaffing the Man of the Match champers come 5 o’clock.

And that’s because the two telling contributions were his. A 50 yard gallop and inch perfect cross for Leigh Griffiths and an injury time missile that appropriately added his name to the credits.

I’ve said it before that moments are what make being a football fan worthwhile.

And it’s because of players like Sako who manufacture these moments that you remember what were otherwise drab and entirely forgettable fixtures.

Make no mistake about it, this was League One dross of the very highest order up until the opening goal.

The only thing that made it worth watching was wondering what our number 10 would do the next time he had the ball.

And whether it’s a sky high cross to nobody in particular or a wayward shot from the halfway line, I will always forgive him for trying.

Because if you don’t have players like him, what are you left with?

I’ll tell you: dull, predictable football. A goalkeeper and 10 robots all playing the percentages.

Thanks but no thanks.

I paid for a show.

Highlights

Wolves Vs Sheffield United Preview

You can’t mention Sheffield United to a Wolves fan without entering into a conversation about Cardiff.

Sheffield United

But that unforgettable, wondrous, magical day was the exception to the rule that are no easy games against the Blades.

In fact, over the years they’ve been a barometer against which I’ve judged many a Wolves side.

For instance, it was only after we went to Brammall Lane and won 3-1 in 2008 that I truly believed we could go on and win the league.

Spearheaded by James Beattie, they outplayed us in the return fixture with Wolves lucky to emerge with a 1-1 draw. And thanks to various promotions and relegations since, that was the last time the teams locked horns.

Sheffield Utd

Strange times for the Blades right now. On the one hand, results have been dire and they’re languishing third from bottom of League One.

They’ve lost their last 5 matches and have only managed 5 league goals all season.

Yet new foreign owners and the promise of significant investment suggests happier days are just around the corner.

They’ve already drafted in the likes of Marlon King, Leeds winger Ryan Hall and Stoke midfielder Florent Cuvelier in the hope of steadying the ship.

David Weir will be feeling the heat but no doubt looking at this fixture as an opportunity to start afresh.

Wolves

I think we’ve already scored one significant victory over United this season by poaching Kevin McDonald. He’s easily the most complete central midfielder we have and I think we’re still to see the very best of him. Who he plays alongside tomorrow will be interesting with David Davis suspended. I think the team will be:

Wolves team vs Sheffield Utd

I think Dave Edwards might get the nod in midfield with Kenny Jackett hoping experience can plug the gaping holes. His injury record has been obscene, which is a shame because I think he could be a useful player at this level.

I find it impossible to second guess the manager on who he’ll pick up front. It could be any combination of our first choice three. Jake Cassidy bagged a hat-trick in a behind closed doors friendly against Sheffield United earlier in the week, so maybe even he could force his way in?

Hopefully we’ll play with two wingers and have a really good go at a team that’s struggling to find it’s feet.

The odds

No surprise given the league table that Wolves are favourites for the win at 10/11. A Sheffield United win is available at 7/2. The draw is 13/5.

Marlon King is a fairly generous 13/2 to get the first goal or you can get 4/1 on Leigh Griffiths to make a return to the scoresheet.

Matt Doherty is always a decent first goalscorer bet given that he gets forward for set pieces and isn’t afraid to attack the opposition’s box. At 25/1, it could be worth a flutter.

All odds are available here.

Predictions

61 of you thought we’d beat Shrewsbury last weekend, but only 7 got the 1-0 scoreline correct.

Well done to goldcoastkiddywolf, Yorkshire Wolf, AmberWolf, Wight Wolf, Bullyisagod, dave h and Adrian for doubling up. It’s a single for everyone else.

I wonder if United are as bad as their results suggest? Can they really be that poor?

I’m expecting a close game, but I’ll back us for the win.

2-1.

Up The Wolves.