Sheffield United vs Nottingham Forest – Preview

Already relegated Sheffield United host relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.

A 5-1 defeat to Newcastle United last weekend was the final nail in the coffin for the Blades as far as their Premier League stay was concerned. Sheffield United started the game on the front foot, opening the scoring when Gustavo Hamer’s excellent delivery was met by Anel Ahmedhodzic. And Chris Wilder’s side had two or three more golden opportunities to score before the Magpies restored parity through Alexander Isak.

In the second half, a span of 18 minutes or so saw the Blades go from 1-1 to 5-1 down as the traditional collapsing of the defence manifested once more.

While for Nottingham Forest, they showed a tremendous fighting spirit and lots of quality in their 2-0 home loss to last season’s treble winners Manchester City. The Reds outperformed Pep Guardiola’s side in terms of shots taken and even on the expected goals total, but goals from Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland proved to be enough on the day.

Now Forest are lurking dangerously above the drop zone with only a point separating them and Luton Town, while Burnley are just two points behind the Reds.

A Luton Town win over Everton on Friday night, a Burnley win over Newcastle, and a victory for the Blades would see Nuno Espirito Santo’s men drop to 19th place at the weekend, with two games remaining.

Team news

Sheffield United recently learnt that Oli McBurnie will miss the rest of the season, however The Star now reports that United’s number nine could feature in the final game of the season. Meanwhile Jack Robinson returned as a substitute last weekend. James McAtee is a doubt as he is still feeling the affects of his injury from the Manchester United game.

Nottingham Forest potentially have Willy Boly, Neco Williams, Murillo and Nicolas Dominguez out for this game. Last season’s stand out Taiwo Awoniyi has been dealing with a thigh issue for most of the campaign.

Players to watch

Cameron Archer ran the Newcastle United defenders all over the place in the firs half last weekend, and in truth he could have had at least a couple of goals to his name before the half time interval. The away side like to play a quick game so the game will definitely be stretched on Saturday, and that’s where Archer can come to life with his electric pace and movement.

Nottingham Forest’s main danger man for this game could well be Chris Wood. The Blades have struggled all season long to defend corners and crosses into the box; they’ve conceded 16 goals from set pieces this season. And Wood is coming off a game where he should’ve had two goals against Manchester City.

Wood notched against the Blades at the City Ground with an outstanding header to win the game late on. Lightening could strike twice.

Key stats

Nottingham Forest aim to secure their first league double over Sheffield United since the 2003/04 season.

Meanwhile, Sheffield United are perilously close to an unwanted milestone, being just three goals away from joining a select group in Premier League history by conceding 100 goals in a single campaign. This dubious feat has only been achieved twice before in top-flight football.

Despite Forest’s recent struggles against newly promoted teams (one win in 19 games against promoted opponents), they found success earlier in the season against Sheffield United, offering a glimmer of hope for this encounter.

Sheffield United’s defensive woes at home have been pronounced this season, with the team conceding 51 goals across 17 Premier League fixtures. This statistic places them in a precarious position in English top-flight history, trailing only behind Aston Villa’s record of 56 goals conceded at home in a single campaign, set back in 1935/36.

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