It may be a little too late but Sheffield United may be able to accomplish the greatest escape from relegation from the Premier League since the league was rebranded in 1992. With ten Premier League matches remaining heading into this weekend’s fixture at Leicester, can the Blades master a great escape and ensure top-flight football for the 2021/22 season?
Chris Wilder’s side is currently bottom of the Premier League table, and having lost 2-0 at home to Southampton last weekend are currently twelve points away from safety with ten league games remaining.
Sheffield United have been relegated twice before, in 1994, and 2007 – on both occasions, it came down to the last day but defeats at Chelsea and home to Wigan ensured that the Blades would be playing Championship level football the following season. However, this time around their fate is likely to have been sealed before United play their final game of the season at home to Burnley on 25th May.
That fateful day in 1994! Glyn Hodges scores at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea net a late winner to doom United to relegation
This weekend’s opposition, Leicester City are no strangers to a relegation dog fight. In 2016, after being one of the bottom three clubs for the majority of the season, with eight league games remaining they were rock bottom and seven points from safety following a 4-3 defeat to Tottenham. Miraculously, they won six out of their last eight matches, picking up 19 points and finished fourteenth in the table.
United will take a brief break next weekend due to involvement in the FA Cup at Chelsea, where victory would ensure a place in the semi-final, before returning to Premier League action with the Yorkshire Derby at Leeds United.
Having faced three consecutive games away from Bramall Lane, the Blades will host Arsenal before going back on the road again to Molineux, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers – though this fixture may be moved if the Blades advance in the FA Cup. Brighton at home on 24th April will be followed by double encounters against London sides, Tottenham Hotspur, and Crystal Palace.
Should United still be in contention for Premier League survival, then the remaining three fixtures could be key. The Blades face back-to-back away games at Everton and Newcastle United before ending the season at home to Burnley, where it is hoped that 8-10,000 supporters will be allowed back into Bramall Lane for the first time in over twelve months. The last time that supporters attended the Lane for any fixture was on 7 March 2020 when the Blades beat Norwich City.
The ten remaining Premier League fixtures
14 Mar – Leicester City v Sheffield United (14:00)
03 Apr – Leeds United v Sheffield United (15:00)
10 Apr – Sheffield United v Sheffield United (15:00)
17 Apr – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sheffield United (15:00)
24 Apr – Sheffield United v Brighton & Hove Albion (15:00)
01 May – Tottenham Hotspur v Sheffield United (15:00)
08 May – Sheffield United v Crystal Palace (15:00)
11 May – Everton v Sheffield United (19:45)
15 May – Newcastle United v Sheffield United (15:00)
23 May – Sheffield United v Burnley (16:00)