Sheffield United is presently placed at the bottom of the Premier League table. The club is yet to win a match this season and has lost 7 out of their 8 games. Sheffield United placed 9th in the Premier League last year, barely missing out on a European spot. Chris Wilder took the world by storm by his team's fast play and attacking football. What has changed this season? And why isn’t Sheffield performing? Let’s find out
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The 2019-20 season
Sheffield United was a newly promoted club to the Premier League in the 2019-20 season. Not much was expected of Chris Wilder’s side and they were thought to be just physical, direct and uncomplicated. However, the football that they played that season was neat, attractive and extremely exciting.
The Bramall Lane side placed 9th in the Premier League in the 2019-20 season, with being in contention for a European spot for most of the season.
The 2020-21 season
Sheffield United’s start to the 2020-21 campaign has been nothing short of a complete disaster. They are currently sitting at the bottom of the premier league table having lost 7 of their 8 games and drawing the one.
Their one point at this stage of the Premier League is the joint lowest tally in Premier League history, alongside Manchester City(1995-96), Southampton(1998-99), Sheffield Wednesday(1990-00) and Sunderland(2013-14). Out of these four teams two of them were relegated at the end of the season.
In their last game against Chelsea, Sheffield United were in in the lead only for the second time this season. However, the match ended 4-1 in favour of Chelsea, causing heaps of concerns at the Bramall Lane club.
Here are some of the reasons for their disastrous campaign so far
Ø Tough Fixtures- Sheffield United has had some tough games at the beginning of the season. Chris Wilder’s side has already faced four of the recognized “big six” of the Premier League namely Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, losing to all of them.
Last year in the 2019-20 season, Sheffield United had played only two of the recognized “big six” teams by matchday 9, namely Chelsea and Liverpool.
This season Chris Wilder’s side also has faced Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United, which although is a newly relegated side but is an extremely inform team.
Ø Injuries to key players-Following their bad luck with some tough fixtures, Sheffield United have also been hampered with some major injuries to some key players.
Key midfielder John Fleck and defender Jack O’Connel have suffered some serious injuries that could see them miss the rest of the season. The midfielder-defender duo were regular first-team starters in the 2019-20 season.
Sheffield United’s joint top scorer in the 2019-20 season Lys Mousset has not made an appearance this season due to injuries.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who was key to last year’s success, has returned back to Manchester United, following his loan spell at Sheffield.
New signings Rhian Brewster and Oliver Burke are also yet to feature this season.
Comparisons between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 season
Last year, Sheffield United had picked up 9 points from their first 8 games in which they scored seven and conceded seven. This year they have conceded 14 goals so far and scored only 4.
Sheffield United performed exceptionally well against the recognized “big six” teams last season by taking 12 points as a whole from Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham and a point from Manchester United at home.
This season Chris Wilder’s side has already lost to the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.
The Bramall Lane side has only led for 42 minutes in the 2020-21 season so far and has already dropped 6 points from winning positions. In the entire 2019-20 season, they had dropped just 9 points from a winning position.
Sheffield United has been far from their ruthless best this season and will hope to regain their form and their key players in time, before it becomes too late