While Sheffield United certainly have an uphill battle to retain their Premier League status for next season, the Blades can take hope from their goalscoring form at the start of 2024.
Chris Wilder has started to see improvements in the final third – Sheffield United have scored 10 goals over their four games in all competitions in January.
Progress Being Made Up Top
A lack of goals was an issue for United under former boss Paul Heckingbottom. The club decided it was time for a change in the dugout in early December as they battle to avoid the drop. United have work to do, as they are 3/10 in the betting on football with Paddy Power to finish the season bottom of the table. Heckingbottom enjoyed great success during his time at Bramall Lane and the promotion season from the second tier will be well remembered. However, Heckingbottom couldn’t keep up the momentum in the step up to the Premier League and it was the end of the road for the former Leeds United boss, with his old club at Elland Road 8/13 in the Championship promotion odds to go up this season.
Fixing the lack of goals was one of the main issues for Heckingbottom’s successor Wilder to address on his return to Bramall Lane for a second spell at the club. The results in January certainly showed signs of improvement on the goalscoring front, with 10 goals scored over the month in four outings. Granted one of those games was one the Daily Mail covered away at League Two Gillingham in the FA Cup, but scoring goals breeds confidence and that could be vital approaching the business end of the Premier League campaign.
McBurnie Experience Could Prove Crucial
Scoring a 90th-minute penalty in a valuable 2-2 draw with West Ham United in January as reported by the BBC, Oli McBurnie held his nerve to secure what could be a crucial point against the Hammers. That was the Scotland international’s fourth Premier League goal of the season and, after the first 22 games of the league campaign, made him the club’s top goalscorer this term. Four goals in his first 13 Premier League appearances of the season, including nine starts, is not a poor return for a striker playing in a side battling for their top-flight status at the bottom end of the table.
McBurnie has plenty of Premier League experience and that could be vital over the coming months, especially with the lack of top-flight games amongst other attackers in the United squad. The former Swansea City star also contributed two assists in those first 13 appearances, which further adds to his potential value for Wilder going forward. While there is certainly work to be done with tightening things up at the back for United, the goals starting to come at the other end should give the Blades confidence they can cause opposition defences problems going forward.
Sheffield United have a mighty challenge on their hands to avoid a swift return to the Championship for next season. However, with goals flowing during the first month of 2024, there are foundations to be built on which could see the Blades battle their way out of the bottom three by the end of the season.
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