Everton vs Sheffield United – Preview

As the Premier League season nears its conclusion, Everton and Sheffield United find themselves towards the bottom end of the table – the Blades are already relegated, while Everton are safe barring any additional points deductions.

Everton, after enduring a tumultuous season marred by points deductions and relegation fears, now find themselves comfortably secure in the Premier League for another year. But, recent talk of  administration scares will be keeping fans awake at night.

Meanwhile, Sheffield United, languishing at the bottom of the standings, have already accepted their fate of returning to the Championship.

For Everton, the journey to safety has been fraught with challenges and uncertainties. However, recent performances have showcased a resurgence under the stewardship of Sean Dyche. The Toffees have secured victories in four of their last six outings, a feat that seemed improbable not long ago. Despite a setback against Chelsea and a draw with Luton, Everton’s resilience has shone through, especially considering the weight of their off-field problems.

On the other hand, Sheffield United’s journey has been marked by injury struggles and setbacks, culminating in their relegation to the Championship. Despite their fate being sealed, the Blades have continued to battle with pride and determination over the last couple of weeks. However, their defensive frailties have been glaring, epitomised by their record-breaking concession of goals. Matching Swindon Town’s infamous tally from the 1993/94 season, Sheffield United’s concession of 100 goals is a statistic they would prefer to forget.

Team news

The Toffees will be without Vitaliy Mykolenko, Nathan Patterson and Dele Alli for their final home game of the Premier League campaign.

The Blades have as many as ten players set to miss this game including: Oli McBurnie, Rhys Norrington-Davies, John Egan, Max Lowe, George Baldock and Chris Basham. Additionally, Mason Holgate will be ineligible to play against his parent club, and Anel Ahmedhodzic will be suspended for the final away trip.

Meanwhile, youngster Daniel Jebbison returned to action for the development team earlier in the week so could be on the bench at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Players to watch

Former Sheffield United academy star Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be a tough man to keep out for the Premier League’s worst defence. The 27-year-old has scored four goals in his last five games, included a header in Everton’s 2-0 win against Liverpool.

Ben Brereton-Diaz can once again cause problems for the opposition this weekend, he’s likely to face off with veteran Seamus Coleman down United’s left. The Chilean is averaging a goal every 158 minutes. Two goals in his last three games but in truth that could have been more after squandering chances at Newcastle and against his boyhood club Nottingham Forest last time out.

Key stats

Everton’s historical record against Sheffield United at Goodison Park paints a challenging picture, having lost five of their last seven home league encounters, including the most recent two.

Their victories over the Blades on home turf are rare, with exceptions noted in a 4-2 win back in August 1993 and a 2-0 triumph in October 2006.

Conversely, Sheffield United have found success on Everton’s turf, boasting more Premier League away wins against them than any other opponent, with three victories. Moreover, their four wins overall against Everton in the competition stand as their joint-most versus any single side, equalling their tally against Chelsea.

Everton’s goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, has displayed his prowess with 12 clean sheets in the Premier League this season, marking his second-highest total in a single campaign, behind his impressive record of 14 clean sheets in 2018/19.

Despite his recent arrival in January, Ben Brereton-Diaz has emerged as Sheffield United’s leading scorer in the Premier League this season, notching six goals. His striking rate, averaging a goal every 158 minutes, stands as the second-best among Blades players who have played a minimum of 500 minutes in a single season, trailing only Nathan Blake’s record in 1993/94, who managed a goal every 145 minutes.

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