After 17 Championship matches this season, Sheffield United are in a predicament that they didn’t want nor expect to be in as they sit in 17th position in the table.
The Blades were expected to be one of the teams that at this point would be flying high along with the likes of Fulham, West Brom and Bournemouth.
But whilst those three have done exactly what you would have thought and started their seasons well, Slavisa Jokanovic has had a nightmare in the Steel City.
August was torrid, September was a little better, October was a mixed bag and November so far after two matches hasn’t seen a win, with United going into the most recent international break off the back of a 3-1 loss to Blackburn Rovers.
Quiz: Have Sheffield United ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?
The games don’t get any easier as Coventry City visit Bramall Lane this lunchtime and Jokanovic will have a lot to ponder – let’s look at TWO dilemmas the Serb could be thinking about ahead of the clash with the Sky Blues.
A formation change?
Sheffield United fans have gotten used to seeing their side in a 3-5-2 under Chris Wilder for a number of years and that even remained when he departed with caretaker Paul Heckingbottom using a similar system.
It looked like Slav may use this as well with the current crop of players clearly used to playing in that style, but after a couple of league matches he soon altered it to his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation and it’s produced mixed results.
And that begs the question – is a return to a back three with wing-backs needed?
It hasn’t been utilised since the end of August and it may be time to shuffle the pack once again especially if Ben Davies is ready to return as he could play with both John Egan and Chris Basham at the back, but then there would be a selection headache for Jokanovic elsewhere.
The striker conundrum
United’s surplus of strikers is still causing selection issues for Jokanovic, even though most Championship managers would love to have five forwards who have the ability to score 20 goals at this level a season.
Billy Sharp was the lone man against Blackburn and Rhian Brewster played on the wide right and he finally delivered a league goal for the Blades well over a year after signing.
You’d expect the ex-Liverpool man to continue in that winger position if Jokanovic sticks to the 4-2-3-1 but it’s a case of who is the central striker.
Oli McBurnie and Lys Mousset will be gunning for starts but the latter may have to isolate, whilst David McGoldrick will likely be knocking on the door for an appearance from the first minute.