At the beginning of the Premier League season my buddy Marc Leder and I were breaking down our picks for what we thought may happen during the season. When it came to picking the 3 teams to be relegated, we had mixed selections but the one team which we both picked to go down was Sheffield United, we just didn’t think they stood a chance. The first couple of games were a real surprise as the Blades looked in really good shape and very well disciplined. As we have seen time and time again however, those first few games for a newly promoted club are always filled with energy and excitement because the players are so happy to be playing in the best league around. The season is long however, and it surely wouldn’t be long before United slipped up. That has not happened however, and here is exactly why the Blades may get Champions League football, in what would be a miraculous season.
Something which has surprised us all more than anything else has been the defensive record which Sheffield United have so far this season, boasting the second in the league only behind Liverpool, who of course are absolutely dominating. The Blades have only conceded 24 goals this year, which is less than a goal a game, and they have kept 10 clean sheets within that, an absolutely absurd statistic for a newly promoted side.
It is almost nailed on that Jurgen Klopp will win the manager of the season award, becasue what Liverpool have done this year has been simply spectacular. If however the title race had been a bit tighter there is no doubt at all that Chris Wilder would be the man getting that accolade at the end of the season. Wilder has a team of relative nobodies that he has put together and trained to a ridiculously high standard. Wilder has a team of players who will give their hearts and their should for him and who clearly listen to every word he says. Wilder will be looking at they league table and thinking that his team actually deserve to be there, and he would be right.
Manchester City have opened up a huge opportunity for Sheffield United this year after UEFA punished them for breaching financial fair play rules and have punished them to 2 years of no Champions League football. What this means for the Premier League is that if the ban holds up, the 5th place finisher in the league will grab that Champions League spot. Previously Sheffield United fans will have been hoping that they could somehow get top 4, but now they only need to finish in the top 5 and they will be listening to that famous Champions League music next year and Bramhall Lane.
This would be a truly remarkable achievement from a remarkable manager and team, do you think that they’ll do it?