Sheffield United had a hugely successful return to the Premier League, finishing the season in the top half despite widely being tipped for relegation. Chris Wilder was rightly regarded as a candidate for the manager of the year award – his innovative, exciting, defensively sound and hugely effective team was one of the success stories of 2019/20.
If there was to be any criticism of his team, it was that they stuck to their gameplan – effective as it was – without showing that they or Wilder could or would adapt to suit their opponents or a specific set of circumstances. During 2019/20 United lined up in a 3-5-2 formation – which became a conservative 5-3-2 when out of possession (below) – in every one of their Premier League games. They were the only team to use the same formation 38 times, and of the 11 outfield players across all 20 clubs to start every single match, three played for Wilder.