If you watched Sheffield United’s season play out in a fictional film you’d say it were unrealistic, it’d never happen in real life, it’s just a fantasy.
Well, the unthinkable has come to pass. With less than 10 games to go, the Premier League returnees are within touching distance of European football, just three years after sitting in League One.
Boss Chris Wilder will be desperate for his men to hit the ground running when the top flight resumes, and we’ve got everything you need to know about Sheffield United’s 2019/20 campaign so far.
We also caught up with former Blades star Danny Webber to review their season so far and to see where he thinks the team could end up in July after the final batch of Premier League fixtures.
Check out your complete guide to Sheffield United’s 2019/20 season ahead of the Premier League restart.
Sheffield United in 2019/20
Manager: Chris Wilder
Top scorer: Lys Mousset (5)
Most assists: Lys Mousset (4)
Check out our full list of Sheffield United fixtures 2019/20.
Just, wow. This writer needs to swallow a humble pie or seven after tipping the Blades to finish bottom of the Premier League table at the start of the season.
Sheffield United have obliterated all expectations going into the season with a squad mainly built from former Championship and even League 1 players.
Chris Wilder’s innovative tactics – complete with overlapping centre-backs – have caught the eye while they have remained resolute at the back. They’re not high-scorers, but they don’t concede many either. They simply get the job done.
Should Manchester City’s European football ban be upheld and their place rolled over to fifth in the Premier League, the Blades could be facing the biggest nine-game stretch in their entire history.
Danny Webber says…
Q: What do you make of Sheffield United’s season so far?
DW: People thought that Chris Wilder’s tactics would unravel in the Premier League, but at the beginning of the season I tipped them to to do very well. I didn’t expect them to do as well as they are, I didn’t see them being anywhere near relegation, but knowing the characters involved, you know, Chris and everything, there was no way he was going to come up into the Premier League and not make a fist of it. He’s done that and then made sure his men have the courage to to go and express themselves as well. So far they’ve been fantastic, a bit of a revelation.
Q: Which players have impressed you most?
DW: The collective of course, but Enda Stephens has done really well in left-back, John Fleck in the middle of the park and Ollie Norwood as well. I’m glad to see Norwood getting in and doing so well. Around the team though everybody’s played their part. Even the strikers, as much as they’ve not scored a lot of goals, they’ve all played their part. The unsung hero probably – Didsy they call him, I think – McGoldrick, he’s not scored a lot of goals but he’s played a big part in the way the team has functioned. Those boys have impressed me – alongside the whole team really, everyone’s really stepped up and wanted to play their part.
Q: Which players have disappointed? Who has a point to prove?
DW: No, I actually don’t think any. Everybody to a man has stood up and been counted and even if someone’s put in the odd shaky performance they come back again strong and that’s testament to why they are where they are in the league. If you go back to the Man Utd game where they drew 3-3 they were flying, United obviously got three quick goals and when that happens to most teams it’s a test – you would be forgiven for folding in that moment but they didn’t. Across the board resilience is there, the character’s there, so there’s not a single person I could look at and think ‘he’s underperformed’. I think everybody at different times has played their part.
Q: What effect will lockdown have on the team?
DW: They want to finish the job they started. However, I always touch on – I’ve said it a few times here – mentality. Chris Wilder, there’s no way he’s going to let these lads just let the season fizzle out because you know, they’ve been safe for a while now, knowing full well that they’re at the top. He’ll say to the lads ‘listen, go and do everything you can to get yourself as high up the table as possible. You’ve had a break, you’ve got no excuses’. They’ve got laser focus, and the only thing that’ll be disappointing for them will be playing home games at Bramall Lane with no fans because at Bramall Lane the fans are brilliant and it becomes a bit of a fortress for them. That’ll be the only change in dynamic really.
Q: Where will Sheffield United finish in the Premier League this season?
DW: I think they’ll be very much in and around where they are now within two or three places. I firmly expect them to continue where they are. I’d say no less than eighth. I say that because the likes of Tottenham have got all their players back, Man Utd have got all their players back, and everybody’s had a bit of a rest. No less than eighth but it wouldn’t surprise me if they finished a bit higher.
[Finishing in the top five] would be almost on a par with Leicester winning the league. It would be that kind of monumental achievement, in your first season back in the Premier League after so many years, to manage to get Champions League football. But I think even if they made the Europa League, they’d be absolutely delighted right now. Quietly I think they’ll just be looking to chalk off the games one by one and they’d like to think that they will be in the shake-up come the last couple of games of the season.
Looking for all the remaining Premier League matches and how to watch them? Check out our Premier League fixtures guide.