One of the outstanding teams in the Premier League this season has been Sheffield United. However Chris Wilder’s side finished in 9th place, and a quick glance at their final league position would suggest that the Blades did well enough but did not exceed any expectations.
That of course would be unfair on the Blades who really turned out some terrific results and found good consistency, alas even this effort in such a tough league was not enough. Manager Chris Wilder would be right to be very frustrated that his side haven’t even reached the Europa League after all of their efforts.
In a sense he should be proud once the dust has settled on the league season given that United may have been some people’s tip to go down or be involved in a relegation dog fight. That never looked like happening though.
It was United’s first season back in the Premier League in 12 years and for that they have really made their mark this season. Stand out results included beating Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and being involved in a 3-3 classic with Manchester United. Even when they played Liverpool earlier in the season who were flying at that stage they only lost the game 1-0. They also reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup before being knocked out by Arsenal with that game finishing 2-1.
Perhaps one problem has been goals, and the club ended the season without a prolific goalscorer. Both Lys Mossett and Oli McBurnie were the clubs top goalscorers with 6 goals each.
The most frustrating part of the campaign will be the Blades last 3 games though. They lost all three and had they won them they would have actually finished in 5th place ahead of Leicester. What will be somewhat annoying to the club is that all 3 games could have been won on another day.
The terrible run started after they had just beaten Chelsea 3-0, which was a fantastic result for the club. But then they followed that up with a 2-0 defeat at Leicester. Even then two wins in their last two games would have assured them of European football for next season. But the Blades then lost at home to Everton 1-0. This was seen as a shock result given how poor Everton have been since the restart. They ended the campaign by losing 3-1 at Southampton and the ghost was certainly given up by that time.
The Blades ended the season poorly but on reflection they have had a good season. They won 14 games and conceded less goals than Chelsea, Leicester, Wolves, Tottenham and Arsenal to name a few.
Perhaps European football would have been a distraction for next season anyway, and of course how many times have we seen teams newly promoted have a good first season and then lose it all the next? As long as they keep Wilder in the dug out one would think that United will be fine, but they will rue these last 3 games for much of the summer one would expect.
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