Burnley 1 Sheffield United 1
Chris Wilder sees Burnley as role models and, if there is something unglamorous about that, an ability to chisel out points can be invaluable at this level. Sheffield United were losing before the manager's resourcefulness helped produce an equaliser that kept his side above Burnley and halted Sean Dyche's accidental European charge.
Both sides' resources have been stretched and both managers have turned adversity into opportunity. Ben Osborn had to wait 11 months for his first league start for the Blades but, with two-thirds of his usual midfield injured, Wilder belatedly turned to one of last summer's signings this week and he helped fashion John Egan's leveller. The other contributor was Billy Sharp, introduced as Wilder abandoned his trademark 3-5-2 to bring on a third striker.
After Thursday’s triumph over Tottenham, Wilder got further evidence of his side’s powers of recovery following their difficult start to the summer. Once again he could not field a full complement of substitutes. Unusually Burnley could, though Dyche has only actually brought on six replacements in four games since the restart.
Perhaps, in the final reckoning, the losses of Ben Mee and Jack Cork cost them eighth place but, with 22 points from 11 games, they have shown an ability to prosper when short-staffed. The left-back, Erik Pieters, spent the second half on the right wing and almost delivered an injury-time winner.
Certainly James Tarkowski rose to the responsibility. Lacking his usual sidekick, as a thigh problem ended Mee's run of 70 consecutive league starts, he assumed both the captain's armband and Mee's Monday mantle as a scorer.
Perhaps Burnley were adjusting to Mee's loss in the opening seconds, when David McGoldrick found Oli McBurnie in territory the captain would usually patrol, but Nick Pope was required to make a smart stop.
Burnley's goal predicatably came from a set-piece, but they had almost struck with a lovely slick move to belie their reputation for direct football. Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez and Pieters combined before Matej Vydra shot wastefully wide.
McNeil and Rodriguez were involved again when the deadlock was broken. The former whipped in a free kick and the striker applied a glancing header before a sliding Tarkowski eluded McBurnie to apply the finishing touch.
Burnley had the chances to seal victory. Rodriguez shot wide from 20 yards and had a dipping volley parried by Dean Henderson, though McNeil ought to have done better with the rebound.
Sander Berge and McBurnie had both diverted first-half efforts over the bar, while United were aggrieved Pieters was not penalised when he handled in the box, but Wilder responded to Burnley's defiance by changing shape. It reaped a reward. Sharp flicked on Osborn's cross and Egan supplied a thumping finish for his first Premier League goal. A point apiece for a mutual admiration society. - Guardian