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Sheffield United Season Preview for 2019/20 With Odds and Predictions
After spending years in the third tier of English soccer, Sheffield United is now back to the Premier League after more than ten years.
The club’s rapid rise in the past couple of years culminated in a second place in the Championship and the automatic promotion last season. But can Sheffield United survive in the EPL?
Many believe the side will go down immediately, but you never know. In today’s preview, I will analyze the squad of Sheffield United and share my thoughts on what needs to be done in the summer.
Of course, I will also take a look at the betting odds offered by the best soccer betting sites on the web and share my predictions for the 2019-2020 campaign.
Sheffield United 2018-19 Season Review
Sheffield United was in the English League One for years before making it to the Championship in 2017. The team was among the shock contenders for a playoff spot in the first campaign, but a weak second part of the season brought an end to Sheffield United’s hopes.
The supporters were hoping that the experience would lift the side, and this is exactly what happened last year. Most people thought Sheffield United would be in the hunt for the playoffs, but the team went one step further. The second place and the automatic promotion to the English Premier League capped an excellent season.
If we exclude a mediocre period in October and November, Sheffield United was one of the most consistent teams in the Championship.
The backbone of the side was the strong defense. Sheffield United conceded only 41 goals, which was the joint-best record in the division.
That didn’t harm the team’s offensive display, as the team managed to score plenty of goals. The main man in the attack was Billy Sharp, who scored 24 goals in 42 games in the Championship.
His partnership with David McGoldrick was nothing short of exceptional, but both men are on the wrong end of 30. I wonder how they will cope with the English Premier League, but more about that later.
Before I get there, I would like to dig a bit deeper into the system of Sheffield United. The manager Chris Wilder uses a 3-5-2 that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. The wing-backs are rushing forward, but you will also see some of the outside center-backs engaging in the offensive part of the game.
At the same time, the inside midfielders are working their socks off to both provide cover and move the ball quickly. Most teams in the Championship didn’t cope with Sheffield United’s unique system, so the manager deserves a lot of credit for that.
Despite the solid performance in the second tier of English soccer, Sheffield United didn’t impress in the domestic cups. The side was knocked out in the first round of both the FA and the League Cup, but I don’t think the supporters really care.
What Sheffield United Needs This Summer
The overall impression is that Sheffield United is one of the few remaining teams with a British core. Most of the squad is from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The majority of guys have played in the lower tiers of English soccer throughout their careers, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the elite.
As it stands, Sheffield United is the main favorite for relegation from the English Premier League if you ask the bookmakers and the media. I’m inclined to agree with such an assessment, but I’m not 100% sure.
I will start with the positives, and that’s the confidence of the team and the desire of every single player to work hard. A lot of the guys in the current squad have never tasted the English Premier League and will be eager to prove themselves.
In a way, we could expect the same determination that Cardiff City showed last year. Even if Sheffield United goes down, it won’t be without a fight.
On top of that, the club certainly uses a system that could surprise many teams in the EPL. I don’t expect Wilder to change that dramatically, so it’ll be interesting to see how his ideas work on the highest level.
One of the problems, though, is the lack of quality. This team needs a couple of good players, mostly in the midfield and the attack.
If Sheffield United decides to buy local guys with experience in the English Premier League, the prices are usually abysmal. That might not be the smartest approach, and there are two better ways to improve.
One of them would be to look abroad. I don’t know if Sheffield United has the scouting network to find gems like Wolverhampton and Norwich City did.
The other strategy is to look for underrated players in the lower leagues of English soccer. There is one club that has been doing that with great success, and that’s Bournemouth. Eddie Howe and the whole structure are designed to look for players that will fit the manager’s plans in the Championship and League One.
I think that’s the best approach for Sheffield United, and I expect to see exactly that. The club will buy at least a couple of players with the hope that they could adapt to the system of Chris Wilder.
Their performance will most likely decide the fate of Sheffield United in the 2019-2020 English Premier League season.
Sheffield United Betting Odds for 2019-2020
It’s time to move on to the betting odds related to Sheffield United for the 2019-2020 season.
There’s only one outright market related to Sheffield United that makes sense. 888sport offers the odds you see above for the potential relegation of the team.
The bookmaker obviously expects the side to go down, and that’s what most other betting sites suggest. Let’s try to think about it for a while.
On the bright side, Sheffield United relies on a strong defense. Not letting in too many goals is usually crucial for newly promoted sides. That helps them earn points at home and survive in the English Premier League.
I believe that Brighton from last season and Burnley from a couple of years ago are good examples. I can certainly see something similar with Sheffield United.
On the other hand, many teams that rely on unproven British players tend to fail in their first season. Cardiff City’s performance in 2018-2019 was exactly that.
It all leads to the summer transfers of the club. If the manager and the board find a couple of good midfielders and at least one solid striker, we could see a decent season from Sheffield United.
I’m inclined to believe that’s realistic enough, so the price of 2.05 for Sheffield United to stay in the English Premier League would be my betting pick.
Other Domestic Competitions
Sheffield United failed to impress in the FA Cup and the League Cup last year, and I expect more of the same in the next one.
Newcomers to the English Premier League always focus on their survival, so there’s no point in even looking at the prices for Sheffield United to claim one of the other domestic tournaments.
I will be rooting for Sheffield United in the English Premier League this season, as I like what I see from the club. It has a unique path, including a manager with audacious ideas and players who are hungry to show they can play good soccer.
If Sheffield United’s bold strategy works in the EPL, maybe other teams will try to look for other ways to succeed and not simply try to splash as much cash as possible.
What do you think about the team? Do you believe we will see another Wolverhampton, or is Sheffield United doomed to fail? Let me know in the comments below.