Sheffield United vs Burnley – Preview

This Saturday, eyes at the bottom of the table will be on Bramall Lane as 19th-placed Burnley make the trip to face 20th-placed Sheffield United in a crucial battle at the bottom of the Premier League table.

With only four points separating the two struggling teams as the season reaches its climax, this match is shaping up to be a pivotal moment in their fight for survival.

Despite their precarious position, Sheffield United still hold a glimmer of hope, with a game in hand and a desire for revenge following December’s events at Turf Moor. The hard-earned points against Bournemouth, Fulham, and Chelsea have provided some respite for Chris Wilder’s men, but last weekend’s painful defeat against Brentford served as a stark reminder of the challenges ahead.

Meanwhile, Burnley’s recent form has been marred by missed opportunities and defensive lapses. Arijanet Muric’s costly error against Brighton, allowing Sander Berge’s backpass to slip under his studs and into the net, highlighted their vulnerability. Muric’s frustration was compounded by his previous mistake against Everton, further emphasising Burnley’s defensive frailties.

Additionally, Burnley’s defensive solidity has been called into question, with the team still searching for their first clean sheet of 2024.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for both teams as they enter this crucial fixture. For Sheffield United, a victory could reignite hopes of a miraculous escape from relegation, while Burnley will be desperate to distance themselves from the bottom of the table.

Burnley beat Sheffield United 5-0 at Turf Moor back in December.

Team news

The Blades will be without Rhys Norrington-Davies, Max Lowe, John Egan, George Baldock, Tom Davies, and Chris Basham. Rhian Brewster and Daniel Jebbison have returned to training, per Chris Wilder, but remain some way off competing.

Vincent Kompany will be without Nathan Redmond, Aaron Ramsey, Luca Koleosho, Ameen Al-Dakhil, and Jordan Beyer. But he will welcome back Dara O’Shea after serving a match suspension.

Players to watch

The top scorer between these two sides in the Premier League is United’s number nine Oli McBurnie. McBurnie has scored in the last two games at Bramall Lane, and he’ll fancy his chances against the Clarets on Saturday.

Last season when this fixture was played out the Blades completely bullied Burnley, and McBurnie was the main culprit, scoring twice and claiming an assist in a 5-2 win. I envisage a similar game plan from United this time around.

For Burnley, the main danger man is without a doubt David Fofana. The Chelsea loanee has scored four goals and provided an assist in 11 Premier League appearances.

His electric pace and sharp-shooting instincts will make him a handful for United’s defence on Saturday afternoon.

Key stats

Sheffield United have been dominant at home against Burnley, with just one loss in their last 20 home league games and winning both Premier League encounters at Bramall Lane.

However, in the Premier League matches between newly promoted teams this season, the home team has only won once, which was in the reverse fixture of this game where Burnley triumphed 5-0.

Sheffield United’s defence has struggled, conceding 84 goals in 32 Premier League games this season, the most at this stage since Ipswich in 1963/64. It’s also their highest conceding season since 1954/55.

Burnley have struggled to hold onto leads, dropping 24 points from winning positions this season, second only to Brentford who lost 30 points. Meanwhile, Sheffield United has also let slip 17 points when winning, with only their 1993/94 season seeing more points lost in this scenario.

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