The Tale of the Tape:
Since the restart, Sheffield United have had a real roller-coaster of a time in the Premier League. They were 7th in the League when it was stopped for Coronavirus, but began terribly, losing 3 of their first 4 matches, before their barnstorming win over Tottenham Hotspur. In that game they dominated, showing why they deserved to be in the race for European football. Then, came a poor draw with Burnley, which means they find themselves now languishing in 9th place.
Wolves, on the other hand, began by reeling off 3 wins in a row on their restart, before being consummately beaten by Arsenal. They now lie in 6th place in the Premier League, 4 points ahead of their opponents Sheffield United.
Gimme the Deets:
Teams: Sheffield United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Date: Wednesday 8th July 2020
KO Time: 18:00 GMT
Stadium: Bramall Lane
Managers: Chris Wilder and Nuno Espirito Santo
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Where can I watch: Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Ultra HD, Sky Sports Premier League (UK), Sky Sport HD 2 (DE)
For Sheffield United, John Lundstram, John Fleck and Luke Freeman are all confirmed to be out. Jack O’Connell could make his return to the starting lineup, as he saw 10 minutes of playing time last time out in that aforementioned Burnley game. Jack Robinson could, however, continue to keep his place in the team.
On the Wolves side of things, Pedro Neto picked up an injury against Arsenal and will therefore be a doubt for their visit to Bramall Lane. Daniel Podence has tested negative for Coronavirus since returning home from Portugal, passing two tests for the virus, so could also return to action.
European Hopes Fading?
Sheffield United were hot contenders to take a place in the Europa League, or perhaps even a Champions League place, when the Premier League was suspended. Since then though, apart from that win against Spurs, they haven’t shown anything near the quality that they produced before the break.
This has led them to be in 9th place and the match tonight against Wolves will be absolutely crucial to their hopes of qualification. Should they lose, it would leave them 7 points off their conquerors and perhaps at least 3 points off all of the teams currently occupying European places. With Chelsea and Leicester City to follow, the pressure is on Chris Wilder and his boys to keep up the pace and start a run for points.
Happy With Europa League?
If Nuno Espirito Santo’s men win tonight, they would be level on points with 5th-placed Manchester United, albeit with them having a game in hand. It would be a fantastic achievement for Wolves and a step beyond what they achieved last season even. If they can keep with the pace for the rest of the season and keep fan hopes alive for Champions League, I’m sure they will pat themselves on the back at the season’s end.
Although I don’t believe they will qualify for the Champions League, I do think that they can secure themselves an automatic Europa League group stage place. This would be a positive that they could take away from this season and also lessen their playing time next year. Could they then challenge for a Champions League place in 2020-21?