Fulham vs Sheffield United – preview

Sheffield United are the only team yet to win in the Premier League, but they are still three points from safety, heading into Saturday’s match at Fulham.

The Blades have fallen apart ever since the stoppage time collapse against Tottenham Hotspur and have since conceded ten goals without reply. But they play an inconsistent Fulham side at Craven Cottage, with the home side only scoring once on home soil this season having played Brentford, Luton Town and Chelsea.

The only two away goals United have registered were both wonder-goals by summer recruit Gustavo Hamer.

Team news

Paul Heckingbottom revealed in his pre-match press conference that John Egan will be out for a while. Tom Davies is another injury doubt for the trip to Fulham.

The hosts will be without defender Tosin Adarabioyo, meanwhile Adama Traoré and Kenny Tete are doubts.

Difference makers

You may be surprised to hear this but this is a game where Sheffield United are arguably even in terms of the midfield battle and match-ups. And I think that’s where the game will be won or lost.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Eberechi Eze of Crystal Palace clashes with Joao Palhinha of Fulham during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Fulham FC at Selhurst Park on September 23, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

João Palhinha was absolutely fantastic last term for Fulham, standing out as the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League. And that almost granted him a move to European giants Bayern Munich, unfortunately for him that deal fell through on deadline day.

Since then, the Portuguese international has remained focused on Fulham and resumed playing for the club after extending his current deal.

Palhinha does everything. From screen the defence, breaking up attacks to being involved in the final third. He’s usually at the heart of all the good things Marco Silva’s side does.

He’s averaging four successful tackles per game, seven duels won along with 1.2 interceptions. He is starting attacks from deep using his long passing range, registering three successful long passes per game. Palhinha also has a keen eye for goal with 1.2 shots per game [FBref].

Because I’ve mentioned Palhinha, I have to mention Vinícius Souza. Whoever comes out on top between these two, that will play a big part in who’s midfield has the biggest impact.

Souza is averaging 3.1 successful tackles per game, 6.4 duels won along with 1.3 interceptions. He has been the most accurate passer of the ball out of all the regular starters who record 15 or more passing attempts with an 85% completion rate [FBref].

That midfield battle between the Portuguese international Palhinha and the Brazilian Souza I’m sure will be a great one.


Fulham have experienced a decline in scoring, with just five goals in their seven Premier League matches this season (0.7 per game). By this same stage last season, they had scored 12 goals (1.7 per game), maintaining an average of 1.4 goals per game throughout the entire season last term [FBref].

In contrast, Sheffield United has encountered defensive problems, facing a staggering 156 shots in the Premier League this season (22.3 per game), surpassing all other teams. Notably, they stand as the sole team on record (since 2003-04) to face more than 20 shots per game across a Premier League campaign [FBref]. By those numbers, it’s no shock they have conceded 19 goals already.


Fulham and Sheffield United have struggled for goals this season with these two sides and Bournemouth being the lowest scorers in the division with five goals.

That would indicate a low scoring game with a lack of creativity on display, but both defences have a mistake in them as shown already this season. Silva’s team have committed three errors which have led to goals, and have given away three penalties [SofaScore].

The Blades have made one error which has led to a goal, and two more errors leading to shots on target [SofaScore].





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