Sheffield United are back in the Premier League for only their second top-flight season since 1994 and hope to fare better than in 2006-07 when they headed straight back down.
Much credit must go to their manager Chris Wilder, who has taken the Blades from League One to the Premier League in only three seasons, and captain Billy Sharp, the most prolific goalscorer in the Football League in the 21st century.
Sheffield United finished second to Norwich in the Championship by five points but had six to spare over third place. The key to their success was solid defending – their total of 41 goals conceded in 46 matches was the same as Middlesbrough’s but nine fewer than any other club.
At the other end of the pitch, besides the 21-goal haul of Billy Sharp, there were also 15 for David McGoldrick, while John Fleck and on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson also had campaigns they could be proud of.
Chris Wilder may be a new name to some but he is no rookie manager – the 51-year-old has served his time working his way up at clubs such as Alfreton Town, Halifax Town, Oxford United and Northampton Town, enjoying promotion with three of those four.
A boyhood Sheffield United fan and a player for them in two separate spells, Wilder had his longest stint as a right-back with Rotherham United and was rewarded for his work in leading the Blades to the Premier League with a new three-year contract this summer.
The New Arrivals
Clearly aware that they needed to strengthen their squad, Sheffield United have broken their transfer record three times this summer – on, in order, Luke Freeman, Callum Robinson and Lys Mousset. And at the time of writing, they looked set to do so for a fourth time on another striker, Oli McBurnie of Swansea City.
But there have been other interesting additions too, namely former England defender Phil Jagielka, Nottingham Forest midfielder Ben Osborn and a wild-card in ex-Manchester United prospect Ravel Morrison, who is trying to get his career back on track after spells in Italy, Mexico and Sweden.
Dean Henderson on England Under-21 duty (PA Images)
The Key Man
For a team that is likely to be under intense pressure throughout the season, the goalkeeping position is a critical one – and Sheffield United were eager to get Dean Henderson back on loan from Manchester United.
The England Under-21 shot-stopper is viewed as a potential long-term successor to David De Gea at Old Trafford and he excelled in the Championship last term.
Can Wilder’s innovative overlapping approach work in the Premier League?
When we say overlapping, we do not mean the full-backs – rather two of the three centre-backs in a 3-5-2 formation who burst forward and take up the wide attacking positions usually occupied by the wing-backs, who then tuck inside them.
It’s hard to think of any other Premier League team that has implemented such a system and it may be difficult for some sides to deal with. But it’s not like it’s a brand new thing and there is plenty of evidence available to research and study.
Which lower-league stalwarts can make the step up to the top tier?
A fascinating one will be Oliver Norwood, the Northern Ireland midfielder who has now been promoted from the Championship with different clubs in three of the last four seasons but remarkably has yet to play a Premier League match.
David McGoldrick is another whose efficacy in the top flight is of interest, while John Egan has looked an accomplished defender in the second tier and has the potential to impress.
Unless they already possess, or go out and buy, proven Premier League quality, it will be hard for promoted teams to stay up – and we think Sheffield United fall firmly into that category.
Although they have broken their transfer record several times this summer, the bar was not set particularly high on that front and it has mostly been Championship players or Premier League back-ups that Chris Wilder has brought in.
Unlike Aston Villa, who have essentially bought a whole new team and much of it high quality, Sheffield United are relying on players who need to make a big step up to be truly competitive. It could be a long, hard season for them.
18+ only. Min deposit £/€/$10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £/€/$10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets are credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes are not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days, wins are capped at £/€/$500 • To withdraw bonus/related wins, you must wager the bonus amount up to 40 times its value within 14 days • Casino Bonus expires after 60 days • Casino Bonus can be used on selected games in casino only • Restrictions apply to withdrawals, payment methods & countries & full T&Cs apply
18+ only. New customers only. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days once credited (ex. E/Ws & Multiples stakes not returned. Full terms and conditions apply.
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 2 X £10 BET TOKENS. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS EXCLUDE VIRTUALS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG
New Customers Only. Sign up using the bonus code 'Matchbook30'. Place your first bet, if it loses, we will refund your first bet stake as a free bet. The first bet must be placed within 7 days of registration and at odds of 1.8 or more. The max refund is a single £30 free bet and will be applied to your account with 82 hours of qualifying bet settlement. 18+ only. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.
18+ only. New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £50* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you five times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. BeGambleAware.org. *or currency equivalent.
18+ only. Wager the bonus amount 5x within 7 days on Sports to release your Bonus. Bonus equal to 200% of qualifying deposit - up to £200. Bonus credited in real money without wagering requirements. Deposit with bonus code: SPORST-200. Wager the bonus amount 5x on sports using real money. Each qualifying bet must have 3+ selections at odds of 1.35+ per selection. Once wagering is complete, a 200% cash reward up to £200 will be released. T&Cs apply.
T&Cs apply: £10 min. deposit required. 1 x £10 qualifying bet required. Qualifying bet must be place on selection with min. odds of 1.8 (4/5). 4 x £5 free bets will be credited once the qualifying bet has been settled. 1 x free bet valued for any football match result market. 1 x free bet valid on any football correct score market. 1 x free bet valid on any horse racing market. 1 x free bet valid on any Tennis market. Free bets valid for 7 days once credited.
Up to £50 money back as cash if any of your first 5x£10 football bets lose
18+ only. Place 5x£10 Sportsbook bets on any Football market at minimum odds of 2.0 (Evs) between the 18th and 31st January, and get money back as Cash if it loses. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10 (up to £50 in total). Only deposits made via Cards will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply
Get a £20 free bet when you place £50 worth of bets. Repeat up to 5 times.
18+ only. New customers place £50 worth of bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100. Min odds 1.2 (1/5). Multiple bets included. Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
£30 Matched Free Bet if your first Football Acca loses
18+ only. *New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. BeGambleAware.org, Full terms apply.
18+, UK only. Deposit and place a minimum £10 cash bet at single or accumulated odds of 1/1 or greater and we will give you 1 x £5 in free bets plus an extra 3 x £5 Free Bets the following day. Applies to first cash bet only. Free bets credited as 4 x £5 bets to use on 3x Any sport & 1x Virtuals. Cashed Out, Void or Draw No Bet wagers do not qualify for this promotion. 1 x £5 Free Bets are credited upon qualifying first bet settlement, other free bets credited by midday the day after your first bet settles. 7-day free bet expiry. Available once per customer. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion. Full T&C's apply.
18+ only. New Players Only. Minimum stake $/€/£ 10, minimum odds1.5, stake not returned.1X wagering the winnings from the free bet. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Free bet is valid for 7 Days from issue. Max conversion: $/€/£ 200. Excluded Skrill deposits. Withdrawal requests voids all active/pending bonuses. Full Terms Apply
New Customers Only 18+. Play Safe. T&Cs Apply. begambleaware.org
18+. Play Safe. Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below. #ad
18+ only. Full T&C’s Apply. New customers on mobile only. 7 days to claim and stake £10 minimum bet at odds of 1.5 or greater to qualify. Free, void, cashed out or partially cashed out bets do not qualify. Max 3 x £10 Free Bets credited when you opt in by clicking the claim button on my offers page. Once the offer is claimed, place your qualifying bet, after the qualifying bet is settled, you will receive your free bets. Free bets must be used on 4 or more selections and are non-withdrawable and stake not returned with winnings. 7 day expiry.
18+ only. New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Money back as a bonus up to £40 if your first bet loses
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first sports bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&C's.
18+ only. New players only. Opt-in required. Minimum $/€/£10 qualifying bets. No cash-outs allowed. Free bet is a one-time stake of $/€/£ 30, minimum odds of 1.5, stake is not returned, maximum Conversion $/€/£ 20 , 10X wagering the winnings, valid for 7 Days from issue. Full Terms apply.
18+ only. £25 Free Bet + 20 Free Spins. Deposit and bet on any Sportsbook markets of your choice (horse racing, football, tennis, darts etc) at odds of evens (2.00) or greater. 2. To activate your Sportsbook 50% Back as a Free Bet up to £25 and 10 Free Spins, simply deposit and bet on any Sportsbook markets of your choice (horse racing, football, tennis, darts etc) at minimum odds of evens (2.00) or greater. Full T&Cs apply.
Share this with your friends
Sheffield United Tips & Betting Specials 2019/2020
Having being widely backed for relegation can the Blades upset the odds this term? Get our Sheffield United betting tips and the latest Sheff Utd betting specials here.