Sheffield United Proving that Yorkshire Football Belongs in the Premier League
Although Sheffield United were widely written off as being the team most likely to get relegated from the Premier League this season, the Blades have made a cracking start to their campaign. With one win and two draws from their opening four games, Chris Wilder’s team are in the top half of the Premier League and could be set for their biggest season yet.
It’s a fantastic sight for the Bramall Lane faithful, as Sheffield United are now ahead of clubs like Chelsea and Newcastle United. But do the Blades have what it takes to continue this strong run of form?
In the upcoming weeks, Sheffield United will have to play against the likes of Southampton and Everton before a hugely appetising home game against Liverpool on 28 September. Although Chris Wilder’s team are still massively underrated, these matches should give the Premier League a big wake up call.
The Blades started the season with a well-fought 1-1 draw away to Bournemouth. This was a very emotional match as it marked the first time that Sheffield United had played Premier League football in over a decade. But the Blades showed great spirit against Bournemouth and the fact that Sheffield United mainstay Billy Sharp scored the equaliser was a massive moment.
This result was quickly followed up by an excellent 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Although Palace boast quality players like Wilfried Zaha, Chris Wilder’s team showed plenty of discipline and kept Roy Hodgson’s team at bay. When John Lundstram scored just after the stroke of halftime it led to massive celebrations in Bramall Lane and showed that the Blades were well and truly back in business.
Such a result was hugely relieving to Sheffield United fans. Most of the preseason was spent with doubts about how the Blades would compete in top-flight football. Many of the betting sites featured on openodds.com had tipped Sheffield United as being the team being the favourites to get sent down to the Championship next season. But Chris Wilder has shown that the Blades have the determination and talent to stay up in the Premier League.
However, things came unstuck when Leicester City came to Bramall Lane the following week. Blades fans had to suffer the sight of longtime Sheffield Wednesday fan Jamie Vardy scoring the opening goal for the Foxes in the first half and his outrageous celebrations made things much worse.
Although Oliver McBurnie quickly proved his worth with a nice equalising goal after half-time, when Harvey Barnes hit an unstoppable half-volley to put Leicester ahead, it signalled that the Blades might still have a few things to work on.
But Sheffield United’s biggest challenge came when they travelled to Stamford Bridge to take on the mighty Chelsea at the end of August. Frank Lampard’s team quickly looked like they were in danger of destroying the Blades, and Tammy Abraham’s two goals before half-time left Chris Wilder’s team looking second-class.
“Things might be changing”
However, Chris Wilder must have given his side a vicious half-time talking-to, as the Blades emerged into the second half looking like a completely different team. Callum Robinson hit the back of the net just a minute after the break, and Sheffield United put Chelsea under huge amounts of pressure for the remainder of the match.
Eventually a pass from Robinson was deflected into the back of the net by the hapless Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma in the final minute of the match and Sheffield United went home with a well-deserved point. This was followed up by a handy 2-1 home victory in the Football League Cup over Blackburn Rovers and it showed that the Blades could be in line for a very memorable season.
What’s remarkable is the fact that Sheffield United are the only team from Yorkshire currently in the Premier League. While other Yorkshire teams like Huddersfield Town, Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday have played in the Premier League, all of these teams have struggled in the Championship over the past few seasons.
But it looks like things might be changing for Yorkshire’s biggest football clubs. Leeds United will be hugely unlucky if they fail to get automatic promotion to the Premier League again this year. While Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday have struggled with form, both of these teams are just too big to stay out the Premier League for long. All of which paints a bright future for Yorkshire’s top football clubs.