Sheffield United have finally turned it on.
During the post-lockdown run of fixtures, we’re seeing some weird and wonderful results, but nobody expected the Blades to suffer so badly.
Chris Wilder hasn’t been able to summon the same level of performances that saw Sheffield United pushing for a European place, even after 100 days to reset his player’s minds and legs.
They were shocked by Newcastle United, drew against Aston Villa and then faced a run of difficult games against Arsenal and Manchester United before playing Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night.
But Wilder finally pulled his team through it and claimed a vital three points.
Their 3-1 win against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs was a surprise, but only because of Sheffield’s poor recent form. Mourinho’s sides are always liable to a spectacular collapse and this one puts the Blades in with an outside chance of some Europa League football at the very least.
January signing Sander Berge put them ahead, VAR chalked off a Tottenham goal, Lys Mousset proved that perhaps Bournemouth and Eddie Howe isn’t the place we thought it was by continuing his excellent debut season for Sheffield by scoring the second before Ollie McBurnie got the third.
Harry Kane pulled one back at the very end, but it was too late.
The win puts Sheffield in seventh place, five behind Wolves and one ahead of Arsenal. Wilder must engineer wins over Burnley and then hope for at least a point against Wolves if he’s going to keep the Gunners from blowing his door down.
A good win like this can put teams back on track and it can send a message to the rest of the pack. We might have thought that Sheffield were down and out, that their surprise good start had reverted back to normality and that they’d continue to slid down into mid-table.
United have finally turned it on, and it makes the rest of the campaign extremely interesting.