At the beginning of the season it wouldn’t have been a surprise to have seen Sheffield United who had just been newly promoted to the Premier League from the Championship to be amongst the favourites to be relegated. But the Blades have started the season well and are proving critics, fans and pundits wrong.
Currently the club are in 6th place, if they finished in that position expect them to react like they have won the league and that would be richly deserved not mentioning it would be good enough to claim a place in the Europa League. So just how have Sheffield United been able to prove the doubters wrong this season?
The bulk of the side remain the same from the Championship and that was the call to arms from manager Chris Wilder who didn’t want to give the club a huge face lift just because they had been promoted to the Premier League. He has recognised that the players that got them here needed to stay as merit and has only tweaked the club slightly. For example in has come John Fleck from Coventry, Ollie Norwood for just £2m from Fulham, John Lundstram, who cost £700,000 from Oxford, and David McGoldrick, the latter also being a free. Paul Mitchell has come in for the backroom staff and gelled well within the set-up too.
Training has excelled under Wilder too where he has picked out one day in specific to run his players around. What the end result is better fitness and that seems to have showed later on in tough and physical games.
All of this hard work and careful recruitment is paying dividends and the clubs recent form has been superb. They have gone their last 4 matches without defeat, the last one coming against Liverpool at the end of September and even that match only ended 1-0 with a lot of pundits pointing out that United were always in the game and that could have ended in a draw.
The recent win over Arsenal by 1-0 just underlines how hard this team have focused to keep clean sheets. They have conceded just once in their last four games and last weekend they overwhelmed Burnley winning 3-0. And that is the point right there, they are upsetting teams you would expect them to drop points against and for now are beating teams that they should be. Next weekend they will play under fire Tottenham and that should be a fascinating game. How longer can the club keep their good form up? Right now they are looking at 60 points for the season which would be a fantastic achievement.
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