While the Premier League table does not make great viewing for Sheffield United after the first 12 games of the campaign, there is certainly cause for hope the Blades can retain their top-flight status for next season.
Looking at some of the encounters the South Yorkshire outfit have had with the top teams already this season, United have shown they are capable of mixing it with the best in the Premier League.
Blades Gave City A Scare
Many were expecting Manchester City to run riot as last season’s treble winners headed to Bramall Lane in August. Those looking at Champions League bets will find City at 2/1 to retain the European crown this season and examining their squad, they should have won comfortably at the home of the Blades. However, leading by just a single goal, United stuck in the 85th minute to level the scores. City then showed why they feature in so many football tips to retain the Premier League title this season. With the crowd in full voice, Rodri struck an 88th-minute winner to silence the home faithful and see the champions leave with the spoils.
It was certainly a tough lesson for manager Paul Heckingbottom and his side, as they came so close to taking two points off Pep Guardiola’s star-studded side. The Blades showed they could be resilient for much of the game and seemingly had no fear of taking on a City side that dominated domestically and on the continent last season. It was a performance that should give United hope of causing more upsets down the line this term.
Blades Came Close In The Capital
United were also left wondering about what might have been after they suffered an agonising 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in September. Gustavo Hamer had given the Yorkshiremen a 1-0 lead in the 73rd minute and it looked like the Blades were set to cause the shock of the weekend. However, once again it was to be late heartbreak for Heckingbottom’s men as two quickfire goals saw the game turn on its head.
It was another bitter defeat for United to take but another example of how close they have come to causing an upset against one of the big boys. Tottenham were unbeaten and flying at that stage of the season and the Blades pushed the Lilywhites all the way on their own patch. Again playing without fear, United were resilient until the final moments when the momentum of the game shifted in Spurs’ favour. It was another painful lesson but one that United can learn from as they head into the new year. The relegation dogfight went down to the final day in the Premier League last season and a similar scenario might well be on the cards this term.
United have shown against City and Spurs that they can compete with some of the best sides in the Premier League and other teams should certainly not take any encounter with the Blades for granted this season.
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