The Premier League is set for a restart on Wednesday, June 17 with Arsenal taking a trip to play Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium while Villa Park hosts the encounter between Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
Ahead of their clash against Villa, Sheffield have a lot of concerns to be wary of, and one of them is Jack Grealish.
Grealish has stepped up massively for Dean Smith’s team though his performances have done little to the club’s position on the league table.
The frequent change of position on the pitch by Grealish has helped in some games this season. He has been in the team as a No. 8, 10 or mostly as the left-winger. But where should the Blades be looking at in each position to make him ineffective?
Threat as a No. 8
The Aston Villa skipper can operate from a much deeper role and though he may not be too dangerous in front of goal from that position, but may break defensive lines with his passing.
Sheffield’s midfield would have to pile more pressure on Grealish and give him little space to distribute his passes when deployed as a central midfielder. Closing him down early when he is on the ball could be ideal to overcoming his threats from the midfield position and gives him little chance to cause havoc.
Threat as No. 10
Should Grealish come in a more advanced role in midfield, which is likely to happen due to the availability of John McGinn, Sheffield would have to avoid fouling him too often. The England international draws a whopping 4.9 fouls per game which shows his quality on the ball.
His quick feet sometimes allow him to skip past opponents with ease that would require you take him down to get the ball. This even pose more danger as he also has good set-piece abilities especially in dangerous areas.
Chris Wilder’s side would have to avoid kicking him and target taking the ball away from him.
Threat as a left-winger
This should be the most concerned role for the Blades going into the game. The 24-year-old has started 11 of his 26 Premier League appearances on the left side, which has also seen him produce most of 13 goal contribution for Villa.
From that same side he could cause a problem for Sheffield’s right wing-back. Grealish tops the list of chances created by English midfielders from open play in the Premier League.
Man-marking him may not be the ideal solution to breaking down his threat from the left flank, but it would be necessary to keep him under close watch from this position.
For Sheffield United to make Jack Grealish ineffective in this game, the need to adhere to closing him down early on the ball, avoiding committing fouls in dangerous positions close to their 18-yard-box and keep him away from their final third of the pitch. This should make Grealish have a bad game on Wednesday.