Formation change helps Sheffield United shut out Coventry City - tactical analysis

Sheffield United's switch to a back three against Coventry City on Saturday afternoon helped them keep their first clean sheet in eight Championship games.

The Blades had conceded at least once in their last eight league outings but successfully shut out the Sky Blues as they picked up a point from the 0-0 draw at Bramall Lane.

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Chris Basham, John Egan and Ben Davies were deployed in a central defensive trio as United saw the game out without conceding against a side who have scored the seventh most goals in the second tier this season.

The visitors had more shots on target than the Blades but none which really troubled goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, who was standing in for the injured Robin Olsen.

The Sky Blues' did not use the width of the pitch very well, which made it easier for the home centre-backs to diffuse attacks.

The only real scare for the home side came when Viktor Gyokeres tried to get on the end of a through ball midway through the first half but was fouled by Egan who went into the referee's book.

Towards the end of the first half, Coventry tried to play around the centre-back trio with Todd Kane providing some dangerous crosses but they were well dealt with by the Blades.

CLEAN SHEET: For Ben Davies and his Sheffield United teammates. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

At the other end, United struggled to find any sort of rhythm as only a few players were willing to put their foot on the ball and drive forward.

Coventry also went with a back three and the Blades tried to exploit that by working the ball out wide on the right on a number of occasions but little came of it.

They did create their best opportunity with a move down the right-hand side as Morgan Gibbs-White crossed for David McGoldrick but he could not keep his shot down as he hammered the ball over the bar.

Gibbs-White also came close himself late on but his deflected shot was well kept out by former United goalkeeper Simon Moore.

COMFORTABLE: Not a lot troubled Blades goalkeeper Wes Foderingham. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Slaviša Jokanović admitted there were positive and negative elements to his side's performance. Whatever formation he opts with for Tuesday's trip to Reading, he now has a better idea of how his team defends with a back three.

PLAYER RATINGS -How Sheffield United players fared in their 0-0 draw with Coventry City.