Before the season began, many Premier League pundits mistakenly believed that Sheffield United would follow in the footsteps of many other newly-promoted sides by embracing an old-fashioned and conservative tactical approach to survival.Now, they are discovering Chris Wilder and his players have arrived in the top flight with a new and daring game plan.The Blades line up in what looks like an orthodox 3-5-2 formation but, at regular intervals during the game, Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham, the centre-backs stationed either side of John Egan at the heart of the defence, will overlap their wing-backs, overloading opponents in areas where they least expect it. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Along with fellow newcomers Norwich City, Sheffield United decided to stick with much the same squad that got them promoted. As a result, many of the experts predicted an immediate return to the Championship for the Blades, feeling they wouldn’t have sufficient quality to compete with England’s elite.However, early predictions are now being revised, with United and their innovative tactics having yielded four points from a possible nine.Unsurprisingly, midfielder Oliver Norwood, who has been skippering the side with Billy Sharp on the bench, is increasingly confident that he and his team-mates can alter the perception of how a promoted side should look – and play.”As the season goes on, we might get more credit from pundits when they realise we don’t kick people off the pitch,” the 28-year-old tells Goal. “We can play.”That was evident against Bournemouth away (a 1-1 draw at Dean Court on the opening weekend) and against Crystal Palace (a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane on matchday two), when we were the better side by a long way.”As the weeks go by, I think people will realise that we are a team that plays a unique brand of attacking football.”I think some teams will find it challenging to play against us. There are not many teams that have outside centre-backs overlapping the wing-backs. Midfield players get into the box. Our No.10 drops in and we have our striker running in behind.”Last season, it was certainly difficult to stop. We play against each other with [this system] in training and we work on it every single day. We want to make teams worry about us.”Against Palace, we knew Wilfried Zaha would be a big threat on the break, so we didn’t just go gung ho. We don’t just hope for the best.”There’s a madness to it, but there’s also a system. It takes a lot of hours on the training ground, hard work and attention to detail. We didn’t get caught on the counter-attack last season. This is the way we want to play.”We want to stick to our beliefs and what has worked for us. We are going to have difficult days. We understand that. We are not going to come in the Premier League and say we want to win it. We aren’t stupid.”We won’t go to the Etihad and turn Man City over, but we also won’t roll over and allow people’s expectations to dictate what we do.”We can’t abandon the way we play as quickly as that. That’s what brought us success; we are successful in playing a unique system.”It’s also unusual in the Premier League era to come across a club with an English manager and a squad made up almost exclusively of players from Britain and Ireland. There’s also the fact that so many of Wilder’s panel have not played at the highest level before. Only the 37-year-old Phil Jagielka, who was signed on a free transfer from Everton this summer, has significant Premier League experience.In general, the team is made up of players who dropped out of Premier League academies before going on to star in the Championship. Chris Basham was dropped by Newcastle United as a youngster, John Lundstrom let go by Everton, Kean Bryan moved on by Man City, while Charlton Athletic released Luke Freeman for being too small.Like new recruit Ravel Morrison, Norwood failed to make the grade at Manchester United. He has never let his frustration get the better of him, though. Indeed, Norwood was part of two previously promoted squads, Brighton and Fulham, but is only now getting his taste of the big time.”The Fulham one was the toughest one, the Brighton one I accepted,” Norwood explains. “I felt really part of the group at Fulham. I thought I played a big role in getting them promoted. So, your head drops. I have nothing against Fulham but I wanted to prove them wrong.”It is part of football. They thought they would go onto bigger and better things. It didn’t work out that way. Now I am with Sheffield United, so it was a blessing in disguise. From the first day I arrived, it has been perfect for me.”The manager had been trying to get me for several seasons and he said I was perfect for the way he wants to play. I established myself in the team and now I get to play Premier League football with Sheffield United. There is no better feeling than that.”The team spirit at the club is massive. The gaffer and captain Billy Sharp drive that. Both grew up as Sheffield United fans. You know what is expected of you. We have a squad mainly made up of British and Irish players.”We are all on the same page, we have been through the academy system in England. We have had setbacks and knocks, so we are determined to prove ourselves as Premier League players.”It has taken some of us longer than others to get there. We don’t want to let this opportunity pass us by.”The Manchester United-owned goalkeeper Dean Henderson is certainly keen to impress this season. The England Under-21 international played a pivotal role in Sheffield United’s promotion last season but went back to Old Trafford during the summer to sign a contract extension with the Red Devils.However, because David de Gea ended up staying in Manchester, despite speculation surrounding the Spaniard’s future, Henderson was allowed to return to Bramall Lane, much to Norwood’s delight.”He is a top talent, a top English talent. He is destined for big things,” he claims. “He is unfortunate as many believe David de Gea to be the best goalkeeper in the world. But I think he can be at Manchester United for many years.“I think he is that good. He came up with massive moments for us. He has not had much to do for us yet this season but I am sure he will.”When that moment comes, I am sure he will come up with the goods. I firmly believe he will be Man Utd’s No.1.”The Blades face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in what will be their first meeting with one of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ since their promotion.It will be a massive examination of the efficacy of their system, particularly as the hosts will be able to call upon the services of N’Golo Kante, a man renowned for ruining the best-laid game plans with his incessant pressing.”I enjoy watching Kante, to be honest,” Norwood confesses. “He does everything. His work-rate off the ball is great but he also has quality on the ball. He has won the World Cup and Premier League. I wouldn’t mind swapping trophy cabinets with him! He is a wonderful footballer.”But Chelsea have an unbelievable amount of talent in the squad overall. They are elite players. It will be difficult, a tough afternoon, but we go there looking to cause an upset.”And why not? Sheffield United are already proving themselves to be as innovative as they are fearless. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Credit: Dempa Jack Akihabara Virtual DateEvery Sunday at 26:50 on Fuji TV, the second series of “Denpa Jack -World Wide Akihabara-” is being broadcast. It’s a show where Dempagumi.inc (a female Japanese idol group) introduce “real Akihabara culture” to the world. In this MATCHA article, we will tell you all about the programme’s contents.In this episode, the girls put together the places they visited together for the programme’s segment on cafes titled “Akihabara Virtual Date”.Tougenkyou (Shangri-La) Credit: Dempa Jack Akihabara Virtual DateHow did you find “Akihabara Virtual Date: Cafe Edition”? When you think of Akihabara cafes, you will immediately associate with “moe” type maid cafes, but there is much more to them than that!If you have the chance to visit Akihabara, please check out the the cafes featured on the show.Cafe Information■Tougenkyou (Shangri-La)Address：Tokyo, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 3-2-7, Ishitsuka Building 1FOpening Hours：Weekdays 17:00~23:00, weekends and holidays 12:00~23:00Official HP：http://tougenkyoumaid.com/■Cat Cafe ~Neko JaLaLa~Address：Tokyo, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 3-5-5 1FOpening Hours：Open every day 11:00~20:00 (last order 19:30)Official HP：http://www.nekojalala.com/■N3331Address：Tokyo, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda, Sudacho, 1-25-4, mAAch ecute Kanda, Manseibashi 2FOpening Hours：Mon-Sat 11:00~23:00 (last order 22:30), Sundays and holidays 11:00~21:00 (last order 20:30)Official HP：http://n3331.com/InformationDempa Jack -World Wide Akihabara- Credit: Dempa Jack Akihabara Virtual DateHere is the cat cafe that was visited with Pinky. In this small cafe with a capacity of 10 people, there are usually more than 15 cats inside, with whom you can interact with freely. It’s a place that’s so therapeutic that you won’t be able to help loving cats. It’s pretty cool that you can search for your favorite cat if you visit several times! Credit: Dempa Jack Akihabara Virtual DateUp first is the maid cafe that was visited on a date with Pinky. It has appeared on the programme’s segment “Akihabara Maid Collection” twice before, so it’s already well known on Dempa Jack.■ You can see other articles about Dempagumi.inc and “Dempa Jack” here. Official HP：http://dempajack.fg-games.co.jp/Official Twitter：@dempajack1019Official YouTube：https://www.youtube.com/user/dempajack/videos Credit: Dempa Jack Akihabara Virtual DateThe place that was visited on a date with Ei-chan is a cafe located inside the commerce establishment “mAAch ecute”, which is reusing the tracks of the now closed Manseibashi Station.The cafe itself is surrounded by the train tracks, and when you are inside, you can watch the passing trains through the glass-sided walls of the cafe. Because of this, it is gathering support from train enthusiasts as “the cafe that’s the closest to trains in the world”. In addition, it operates as a cafe during the day, but at night it becomes a full blown bar offering Japanese rice wine, so it is perfectly suited to those who want to enjoy Japanese rice wine. Credit: Dempa Jack Akihabara Virtual DateThis isn’t a cafe that puts emphasis on the so called “moe” concept. However, its charm lies in that it’s a calming space that you can slip back into the nostalgic retro atmosphere of the Showa period when you visit. When you’re tired of exploring Akihabara, it’s a place that’s perfect to take a break; as well as a maid cafe that’s suitable for work, study or reading. Moreover, as it has free wifi, it’s recommended for people who come to Japan for a holiday.Cat Cafe ~Neko JaLaLa~ Credit: Dempa Jack Akihabara Virtual DateThe time at which the cats are most active is from around 11am til 2pm, and from 6pm til closing time, so if you wanna have lots of fun it’s recommended that you visit in those hours.N3331