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Sheffield United v Arsenal: how United have been doing this season

By Bulldog Drummond

It is interesting to note that while Arsenal play in five competitions at the moment (League, League Cup, FA Cup, Europa League and Football League Trophy), Sheffield United along with other teams in a similar position only have three: the League, FA Cup and League Cup thus putting less strain on their squad.

Here are their results thus far

10 Aug 2019 AFC Bournemouth v Sheffield United D 1-1 Premier League
18 Aug 2019 Sheffield United v Crystal Palace W 1-0 Premier League
24 Aug 2019 Sheffield United v Leicester City L 1-2 Premier League
27 Aug 2019 Sheffield United v Blackburn Rovers W 2-1 League Cup
31 Aug 2019 Chelsea v Sheffield United D 2-2 Premier League
14 Sep 2019 Sheffield United v Southampton L 0-1 Premier League
21 Sep 2019 Everton v Sheffield United W 0-2 Premier League
25 Sep 2019 Sheffield United v Sunderland L 0-1 League Cup
28 Sep 2019 Sheffield United v Liverpool L 0-1 Premier League
05 Oct 2019 Watford v Sheffield United D 0-0 Premier League

10 games thus far and just three wins, one of those being against Blackburn Rovers of the Championship.  They then lost at home to Sunderland of League One in the next round of the league cup – meaning it is league games only until January.

In the Premier League they have won at home against Palace and away against Everton.  Everton have been struggling all season so that result is not too unexpected, but Palace have been doing well of late so that may seem a trifle more surprising.  However Palace failed to score in either of their first two games including this match and a draw against Everton.

Sheffield United came up by being second in the Championship last season…

1 Norwich City 46 27 13 6 93 57 36 94
2 Sheffield United 46 26 11 9 78 41 37 89
3 Leeds United 46 25 8 13 73 50 23 83
4 West Bromwich Albion 46 23 11 12 87 62 25 80
5 Aston Villa 46 20 16 10 82 61 21 76

and the position of the three promoted teams after eight games in the Prem (13th, 15th and 19th) shows how tough the transition can be.

Thus far, then, Sheffield United have won at home against Palace and lost to Leicester, Southampton and Liverpool.   However the Liverpool defeat was by only 0-1 which suggests that the club knows how to play defensive football at home.   We can expect a packed double row of defenders, as befits a club that at home has scored two and conceded four, in four matches.  Arsenal away have scored five and conceded six.

But the signs are we might have Lacazette back, along with much if not all of what should become our regular defence for the rest of the season.

However although they may well adjust for this match, we must also remember that last season Sheffield United were the best performing home team in the Championship with 15 wins, four draws and four defeats, another sign that this is where they are expecting to be picking up the points that will keep them up, or even in mid-table.

But we should also remember that their promotion last season came after a promotion from League One to the Championship in 2017, which is obviously two promotions in three seasons.  Prior to 2017/18 they had spent six seasons in League One.

So it is quite a rise, and although last season they did knock in 78 goals, they also conceded 41.  Better than Arsenal (73 scored 51 conceded) but achieved obviously against lesser opposition (along with a defeat to Barnet at home in the FA Cup).

Their highest score this season is two goals (against Chelsea, Leicester and Everton) so they can attack and get at defences and of that we must be very aware.  Let’s hope for our fulsome defence to return and be on form.

Finally, here’s a list of their transfers through last summer

Verrips, Michael KV Mechelen Transfer Free
Bešić, Muhamed Everton Loan Season loan
McBurnie, Ollie Swansea City Transfer £20m Reported fee
Osborn, Ben Nottingham Forest Transfer Undisclosed
Henderson, Dean Manchester United Loan Season loan
Mousset, Lys AFC Bournemouth Transfer £10m Reported fee
Morrison, Ravel Östersunds FK Transfer Free
Robinson, Callum Preston North End Transfer Undisclosed
Jagielka, Phil Everton Transfer Free
Freeman, Luke Queens Park Rangers Transfer Undisclosed

Three days after this game we play Vitoria in the Europa, and I suspect that youngsters will be given a run out for that game, while the Sheffield U match looks more like a war of attrition against two banks of defenders across the pitch, so I’d expect the strongest possible Arsenal team being played for this match.

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