Chris Wilder gives instructions from the sidelines during a Sheffield United game.

Sheffield United: Our guide to the opposition

Thursday 21 November 2019 22:26

Manchester United will face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane for the first time in 13 years this Sunday, when we travel to South Yorkshire for our Premier League clash.

The Reds head into the game in good form and have won five of the last six fixtures in all competitions. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows his side will have a tough test against the Blades, who are unbeaten in their last five outings.

Here’s everything you need to know about Chris Wilder's men ahead of the action…
Dean Henderson will be ineligible to play for the Blades this Sunday.

In-form goalkeeper Dean Henderson is ineligible to feature against his parent club this weekend, meaning Wilder will have to choose between Simon Moore or Michael Verrips to replace the on-loan Red.

Another player who could miss the clash is defender John Egan. The former Brentford man was replaced at half-time in the Republic of Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Denmark on Monday and is an injury concern for Sunday.
The Reds will be looking to continue our recent attacking performances when we travel to Bramall Lane this weekend. Before the international break, United overcame Brighton & Hove Albion with an impressive 3-1 victory that, in truth, could have been even more convincing had we converted more of our 11 shots on target. On the road, Ole’s men have won three of the last four games in all competitions; however, we were beaten in our most recent Premier League away game - a 1-0 loss to Bournemouth at the beginning of the month.
As for the hosts, Sheffield United currently sit fifth in the Premier League table, higher than the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur as well as ourselves. Despite their superb form so far this year, all three of the Blades’ league defeats have come at Bramall Lane, against Leicester City, Southampton and Liverpool. Last time out, Wilder’s men held Spurs to a 1-1 draw in their maiden trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and despite their indifferent home form, Sheffield United beat Burnley 3-0 in their most recent clash in South Yorkshire.
Since the Premier League’s inception, we have only met Sheffield United six times in the league and have won five of those clashes. The Reds’ only defeat actually came in our first-ever match in the newly renamed top flight, back in August 1992, when a Brian Deane brace cancelled out Mark Hughes’s second-half strike.

Our last league meeting with the Blades was in 2007, and goals from Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney ensured we ran out as deserved 2-0 winners. The clubs have, however, locked horns in the FA Cup more recently than that, and Rooney’s late penalty in 2016 ensured we beat the Yorkshire outfit 1-0 in the third round, our first victory en route to winning the trophy for a 12th time. At Bramall Lane, the Reds have won on our last four visits, while we've beaten Sunday’s opponents in the last seven meetings home or away.
Wayne Rooney's penalty separated the sides when we last met.
Chris Wilder’s reputation in the game has continued to grow since the beginning of the season, and he has been lauded by pundits and fellow coaches for his expansive style of play. The Blades have, in the main, operated with a free-flowing 3-5-2 shape and Wilder even encourages his centre-backs to bomb up the pitch in search of goals.

The 52-year-old, who has previously managed Oxford United and Northampton Town, was appointed Sheffield United boss in 2016 and led his hometown club to the League One title in his first season, before guiding them to promotion from the Championship two years later.

After 12 games of the current Premier League season, Wilder has guided the Blades to fifth place in the table, having earned 17 points so far.
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While all parts of Sheffield United’s well-drilled side have impressed in the opening months of the season, perhaps the most effective area has been their organised defence. Having conceded just nine goals in 12 matches, only Leicester have a better defensive record so far this year, while no goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets in 2019/20 than Dean Henderson.

Playing in front of the on-loan United man, centre-back Chris Basham has been one of the Blades’ standout performers, while George Baldock’s marauding runs from wing-back have proved difficult for opposition sides to deal with. In the attacking areas, John Lundstrum and Lys Mousset are their most potent offensive outlets, with three goals apiece so far this campaign.

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