Wed 10 January 2024 | 14:55

Sheffield United’s Race for Survival

The Blades have had a torrid time on their return to the top flight. They won just twice in 2023, ending the calendar year rooted to the bottom of the Premier League. However, there is still hope for Sheffield United and the race for survival is well and truly on.

2023-24 Season So Far

A poor first half of the campaign has left Sheffield United favorite in the

Premier League betting

odds to finish bottom of the table, priced at 4/9 ahead of relegation rivals Burnley (4/1) and Luton (9/2). The huge issues at Bramall Lane this season are reflected in the

Premier League relegation odds

, where they are priced at an astonishing 1/40 to slip back down into the Championship.

Fans would have undoubtedly been brimming with confidence following their automatic promotion, with 91 points a mammoth achievement in what is often considered Europe’s most competitive division. However, they came crashing back down to earth, losing nine of their opening 10 Premier League outings, including an embarrassing 8-0 drubbing on home soil at the hands of Newcastle.

The Blades enjoyed what can only be considered a minor upturn in form, claiming four points from a possible six in back-to-back games against Wolves and Brighton. Just three weeks later, Paul Heckingbottom’s managerial fate was sealed as his side went down 5-0 at Turf Moor in a crucial relegation six-pointer against Vincent Kompany’s Burnley.

Change in Leadership

In came an old face.

Chris Wilder returned

to the club on an 18-month contract having endured a successful five-year spell with the club from 2016-2021. During this tenure, he guided United from League One to the Premier League with a 46.7% win percentage from 227 matches. His job this time around? Survival at all costs.

There have been highs and lows since Wilder returned to the club, but certainly more highs than during Heckingbottom’s brief Premier League spell. The Blades claimed all three points against a well-drilled Brentford outfit, before picking up a point in a spirited pre-Christmas performance against the league’s then-best home side, Aston Villa.

It took Wilder just four games to get within a point of Heckingbottom’s 14-match tally. So, while there is plenty of work to do, players and fans alike will be hopeful they can put together a run of results worthy of keeping them in the promised land.

The Relegation Run-In

Wilder has one incredibly tricky six-match spell to navigate. It kicks off with a visit from last season’s runners-up Arsenal and culminates with a

clash against Chelsea

at Bramall Lane five weeks later. They will also travel to Old Trafford and Anfield during this time, while also aiming to snatch points against Bournemouth and Fulham.

Sheffield United’s last three games of the season may then still prove absolutely pivotal. They host Nottingham Forest at home on 4th May and then travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton on 11th May. These are two sides that could well be scrapping for survival alongside the Blades.

The season finishes with a visit from Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham. Their future might be wrapped up by that point, but it’s never wise to write Chris Wilder off.

source: SportMob

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