Post Match Thoughts – Sheffield United
When the odious Raheem Sterling scored his undeserved, deflected 97th winner for, the increasingly dislikeable, Man City as we left the pub, we should have known it was going to be one of those days. However, I don’t think anyone could have predicted one of the most car crash away performances Derby have put on for some time.
Here’s how it went down.
With a large and lively away support, the team in good shape and all round good vibes abounding, the stage was set for a great afternoon and a strong finish to the first part of the season. When the normally reliable Carson gifted the first goal to Sharp (he could have hit that to anyone of their 10 other players and they probably wouldn’t have scored.) the whole atmosphere changed immediately. The Blades fans were up, their players became a foot taller and a yard faster and the away end went silent.
The main topic pre-match was the surprise retention of Russell, after his injury last week, over Lawrence. After contributing pretty much nothing for the half, his ludicrous OG topped off his performance and gifted a 2 goal lead to the Blades who did not create a single chance in open play during the first period. Madness.
Derby had lots of the ball in the first half but the old hesitancy and lack of confidence in the final third let us down time and again. Vydra in particular did some really good things but then just didn’t commit the final man or take a shot when he could have. Rowett should invite Marco Gabbiadini to Moor Farm who could definitely help Vyds a lot more than Kevin Phillips.
No subs at half time was another surprising decision by the manager. In my view, missing an opportunity to get on the front foot from minute 1 and get the fans back behind the team. When the changes did come 12 minutes in the die had already been cast for the second half. Derby running into brick walls and United players running around making tackles and blocks like it was a cup final and their fans loving every minute of it. The away end remaining silent. Awful.
Tom Lawrence looked dangerous and sharp as soon as he came on, merely adding to the bemusement of why he didn’t start. He was inches from scoring an absolute worldy out of nothing and was constantly involved doing some good work with Wizzer. He now needs to be a fixture in the team.
Weirdly, despite conceding the three daftest goals you will ever see, our defence actually played well (although I’m absolutely not having Ollsson over Fozzy at all). What we are crying out for is some mobility and aggression alongside Huddlestone. That’s not Bradley Johnson and I don’t think its George Thorne either. This is the key piece now for me, more than “different attacking options”.
Sheffield United are really poor. They have an ace marksman in Sharp for sure but nothing else apart from team spirit, endeavour and great fans. Fair play to them, but for Derby to lose so meekly to a team like this I am sure was as worrying for GR as it was for us.
You can’t legislate for gifting two crazy goals as we did, but the inability to roll up our sleeves and “have a go” and the associated negativity in the away end was everything that is currently wrong with our team. We joked all summer at the cricket about “having all of winter to be miserable at football”, I just didn’t think it would start so early!
I don’t think this result will change our mindset before the transfer window closes (on this showing we should get Coutts back!) and I would be amazed if we saw any headloss signings. However GR certainly has plenty to ponder in these next two weeks before the next round of games.
Keep the faith, Come on you Rams,