Sheffield United Season Review – From Relegation Favourites to Chasing Europe

At the start of the season, Sheffield United were odds on to get relegated from the Premier League. However, what we saw from The Blades was nothing short of remarkable.

Not only did they not get relegated, but they would also go on to achieve their best-ever position in Premier League history, finishing ninth. They would be in the battle for Europe for most of the season and, even though they came up short, they showed confidence and promise throughout the season.

Sheffield United – From Relegation Candidates to Chasing Europe

Numerous Record Transfers

Coming into the season as relegation favourites, The Blades knew that signings had to be made. They would go onto make ten signings in the summer and then added to that during the January transfer window.

To bolster their squad, they broke their record transfer fee on five occasions over the season. Luke Freeman, Callum Robinson, Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie joined the club for record fees over the summer. It was then smashed again in January as Sander Berge joined the club for a club-record fee of £19.35 million.

Although Robinson would spend the second half of the season out on loan at West Bromwich Albion, he played a crucial part in the first half of the season, playing in 17 league games for The Blades. Meanwhile, Mousset and McBurnie would finish as joint top scorers with six goals each. Mousset would also get the joint amount of assists, getting four throughout the season.

These signings, as well as the loan signing of Dean Henderson from Manchester United, were crucial in Sheffield United’s unexpected rise up the table.

In March, the season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the season eventually restarted in June, The Blades struggled for results.

Inconsistent After the Restart

When the Premier League restarted, people were excited to see whether or not they could keep with the top six. It turned out that they couldn’t.

They dropped points in seven of their last ten Premier League games. Wins against Tottenham, Wolves and Chelsea gave The Blades hope of a top-six finish, disappointing performances meant they couldn’t stay in the mix.

They would have also felt that luck didn’t go their way with injuries and they would have also felt hard done by in their opening game after the restart. A 0-0 draw against Aston Villa was the outcome, but Oliver Norwood‘s free-kick went over the line. A rare failure from Hawkeye meant that it wasn’t detected and the goal was not given.

However, they can’t blame luck for the way they finished the season. In their last three games, they lost all three which put to bed any chance of a European place.

Sheffield United Highlight Of The Season

Sheffield United 1 – 0 Wolves – July 8, 2020

There were quite a few highlights for The Blades this season. Some honourable mentions include their 3-0 win and 2-2 draw against Chelsea, with the latter being their first game against the ‘top six’ since their return to the Premier League.

However, at the time, their 1-0 win against Wolves was massive in their bid for European football. The drama in that game also helped this become their highlight of the season. Both teams were fighting for Europe, with little separating them. As the game looked like it was heading towards a bore 0-0 draw, John Egan headed home a corner in the 93rd minute to take all three points.

At the time it looked like The Blades were heading towards a European place, however, their poor end to the season meant they would only finish ninth.

Player Of The Season

This was a hard choice, with many of the players making a case for player of the season. However, one player who has stood out the most is Dean Henderson. The goalkeeper’s performances this season has seen him make a case to be a starter at his parent club Manchester United next season, with talk increasing after a season full of errors for David de Gea.

The goalkeeper has single-handedly kept his team in games this season and won many points for The Blades. After being with them in the Championship, it was a no brainer to bring him back for this season and the familiarity he had with the team probably helped his confidence in the Sheffield United goal.

Overall

Despite their end of season form, you can’t take anything away from this record-breaking season for Sheffield United. They would have almost certainly taken ninth in their first season back in the Premier League.

They will now be looking towards next season to see if they can build on their ninth-place finish.

A special mention needs to go out to manager Chris Wilder. A big argument for Manager of the Year, Wilder has revolutionised this Sheffield United team. The boyhood Blades fan has made his way up the football pyramid, having taken Oxford United up from the Conference in 2010, and he didn’t look lost in his first season in the Premier League.

Two promotions in his first three seasons in charge at the club showed that he had the potential to manage in the top flight. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see ‘bigger’ clubs come after him if he was to ever leave the club.

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