Sheffield United Continue to Thrive in Premier League
The story of Sheffield United is one that has been spoken about a lot already this season.
Had Liverpool not been so dominant, and teams like Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal not attracted so much drama, we could well have been talking about them a lot more.
The Blades are in with a genuine chance of European football next season, and that could be the Champions League with Manchester City being banned from the competition. This means the team in 5th is likely to get their place, could United do it?
They are by no means the favourites to do that, but you certainly wouldn’t bet against this team to continue what has been a remarkable campaign so far.
Start of Season Expectations
Before a ball was kicked, Sheffield United were favourites to go straight back down into the Championship. The South Yorkshire side had made some signings, but nowhere near enough for most people.
They started well, built on that and never stopped. The Blades are still going strong now, over two thirds of the way through the season.
Those making predictions for Sheffield United to be relegated straight back to the Championship have had no choice but to change those.
Things look bright, and European football is the aim between now and the end of the season. Even if they fall short with that, it is impossible to say anything but good things about what has happened at the club this season.
The Key to Success
The best way to describe the success Sheffield United have had is to compare them to another side promoted last season, Aston Villa.
The biggest mistake Villa made was the amount of new players brought in. This completely disrupted the harmony in their squad, and that can be seen by how much Villa are struggling.
United kept things simple, they trusted the players that won them promotion. To this group they added a sprinkling of talent that would help them, and that approach has put them where they are today.
The natural instinct for anyone promoted to the Premier League is to spend money. Sheffield United have shown that you don’t need to do that to flourish, and there is still room in the game for team spirit to help clubs be successful
Can United Make the Champions League
Assuming Manchester City don’t play in Europe next season, it is likely the team in 5th will play in the Champions League.
With the Europa League also a possibility, there is a good chance that we will be seeing some kind of European football at Brammall Lane next season.
The news of City being banned makes the betting markets for a top 5 and top 6 finish have come to life. We have a tight race on, with Chelsea the current favourites for a top five finish at 1/4, and Manchester United in behind them at 5/6.
This means the bookmakers feel that these two will be the two teams to finish 5th and 6th in the standings. Tottenham are behind them at 7/4 in the race, though they have big injury concerns at the moment that could halt their charge.
Sheffield United are priced up at 7/1 to finish in the top 5 and 4/1 to finish in the top 6. That shows how close the bookmakers think they are to getting European football next season, both outcomes would give them that.
You can view some of the top online bookies in the UK to see what odds they are offering on these markets. As the season progresses, all bookmakers will want to get involved in this, especially with the Premier League title race being over so early.
How Does the Future Look for The Blades?
While this season has been somewhat of a fairy tale for United, next season is going to be a huge challenge for them. This will be even more so if they happen to start next season slowly, and struggle to put points on the board early.
Things have gone well this season, and the team have been allowed the chance to build confidence and ride on that wave. We haven’t really seen them being tested in terms of being on a bad run to see how they handle it.
It would be a surprise if they went through their second Premier League season without that, and then we would get to see how much character was in their dressing room.
That isn’t to say things are going to go badly for United next season at all, they could have another good season.
They haven’t spent much, but what they have spent has been done very well, a trend they will be hoping to continue in the summer as they build for the 2020/21 season.