Two Premier League sides that are still undefeated in 2024 will clash at Bramall Lane this Saturday as Sheffield United and Brighton & Hove Albion meet in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Sheffield United cruised to a 4-0 victory over Gillingham in their inaugural match of this year’s tournament, while Brighton & Hove Albion also secured a comfortable win in the third round, defeating Stoke City 4-2 on the road.
In their FA Cup journey to face League Two playoff hopefuls Gillingham, Sheffield United found themselves with a golden opportunity to secure their most dominant victory of the season. On January 6, Chris Wilder’s squad seized the moment, netting four goals without conceding a single one against their fourth-tier opponents
Having reached the semi-finals last season and the quarter-finals in both 2019/20 and 2020/21, Sheffield United have a track record that suggests another deep cup run is plausible, despite their challenges in the Premier League. Their recent encounter with West Ham United marked only the sixth occasion this season that they managed to avoid defeat in the top flight.
It’s unlikely that a repeat of Sheffield United’s challenging match against West Ham will occur, especially considering Brighton’s recent offensive performances in the Premier League. Roberto De Zerbi’s squad failed to score for the second time in three matches when they hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Amex Stadium on Monday.
Wolves managed to hold out for a 0-0 draw on the South Coast, ending Brighton’s impressive 22-game scoring streak at home, which dated back to their 1-0 Premier League loss to Fulham in February.
Sheffield United are beginning to look a lot more healthier as we come to the end of January. With the recent recovery of Rhys Norrington-Davies and Rhian Brewster, Tom Davies is now nearing full fitness, along with Max Lowe. George Baldock is “a couple of weeks away”, Chris Wilder stated in his pre-match press conference. While Oli Arblaster is back training again after the injury he sustained during his loan with Port Vale.
Anis Slimane and Yasser Larouci could be available after heading back to Sheffield following their AFCON disappointment.
For the Seagulls, they will likely be without Joel Veltman, Kaoru Mitoma and Solly March for the visit to Bramall Lane.
Brighton’s record against Sheffield United stands at seven winless encounters (D3 L4, all in the league) since their last victory, a 2-1 triumph at Bramall Lane in January 2005 during a Championship match.
Sheffield United has advanced from each of their last four FA Cup fourth-round ties since their defeat to Preston in a replay during the 2014-15 season.
Under Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton has been prolific in the FA Cup, averaging 2.8 goals per game (17 in six games), with three instances of scoring at least four goals in a single match out of six under the Italian’s management. The Seagulls have won all three away games in the FA Cup since his tenure began, matching their longest away winning streak in the competition, last achieved in December 1932.
Pascal Gross has been influential in Brighton’s FA Cup outings, contributing to five goals in his last six appearances (one goal, four assists), including two assists in the third-round victory against Stoke City.