Sheffield United news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.
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Okay, time to focus on the Blades…
2019-20 finish: 9th (14W-12D-12L, 54 points)
Head coach: Chris Wilder
2019-20 PL top scorer: Oli McBurnie, Lys Mousset (6 PL goals each)
Location: Sheffield, Yorkshire
ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Sheffield United: Can they finish?
Overlapping center backs and Steel City grit saw the Blades stun the Premier League as they comfortably finished in the top 10 last season. Led by manager of the season nominee, Chris Wilder, who was one of four managers nominated for PL Manager of the Season, Wilder signed a new 4.5-year contract in January (until summer of 2024, with club option for another year). But scoring goals is their big problem, as they scored just 39 goals last season (T-5th fewest in Premier League) and their leading goalscorers last season had 6 goals each. They are solid defensively but struggle to finish off the few key chances they create each game.
Sheffield United news: The current situation
Sheffield United were perhaps the biggest surprise of last season. One of the favorites to be relegated, they instead finished ninth, and at times were right in the thick of the race for European qualification and even in the top four hunt. Are Chris Wilder’s side for real? Or will last season prove to be a fluke? Many believe it is the latter and the Blades will be embroiled in a relegation battle this season. A few offseason additions have boosted their squad numbers but scoring goals will be a problem.
Key Sheffield United news, season objectives
- Who will score the goals to keep them on track: This is the big problem. At the end of last season the goals dried up and that meant the wins did too. David McGoldrick, Oli McBurnie and Lys Mousset all battle hard but they will not score more than 10 goals per season. The Blades have to have more of a cutting edge if they’re going to maintain their PL status.
- Swap in goal to have a negative impact? Dean Henderson has returned to Manchester United this summer after spending the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United. He kept 13 clean sheets last season (T-3rd most in Premier League) but has gone back to Old Trafford and signed a new contract as he aims to challenge David de Gea for the starting spot. Replacing Henderson is 22-year-old Aaron Ramsdale, who was acquired for $24 million from Bournemouth in August. This is Ramsdale’s second stint at the Blades and the young goalkeeper was one of the only bright spots for Bournemouth last season.
- Have teams figured out the overlapping center backs? It worked so well for most of last season but teams now plan better when they face Sheffield United and shut down their threat out wide. Have Wilder’s side got a Plan B?
- Promotion bubble burst? Sheffield United were the big surprise package last season and were deservedly lauded. Wilder lambasted his side during ‘Project Restart’ though and they finished the season with three wins from their final 10 games. Can they generate the same positivity they had from promotion to the Premier League?
- Wes Foderingham (Rangers)
- Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth)
- Jaydn Bogle (Derby)
- Max Lowe (Derby)
ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Sheffield United in 2020-21
With their 39 goals conceded last season (4th-fewest in Premier League) Sheffield United have a solid foundation to build on and they should be safe from relegation. It will be tough for Chris Wilder’s side to replicate their top 10 finish and he was angry late in the season with their sloppy displays which cost them European qualification.