Russia 2018 June 14 - July 15, 2018

World Cup

Wolverhampton-Sheffield United Preview

An unlikely European crunch match is set for Bramall Lane on Wednesday when promoted Sheffield United host Wolverhampton.

These two clubs have been the class of promoted sides in the last two seasons, with Wolves (13-13-7) qualifying for Europa League in 2018-19 and currently in sixth place looking for Champions League action this time. Sheffield United (12-12-9) are gamely traversing that path, entering this match four points behind in ninth.

"For me, they were always a Premier League club in waiting with everything what happened off the pitch there," Blades boss Chris Wilder said of Wolves during his Monday press conference. "I don't go along with them being a newly promoted side, I don't know if you recognise the players they had in their group in the Championship.

"And that's not disrespectful because they still have to go and get the results. Their manager has done brilliant. It's a combination of a lot of things."

With Manchester City's appeal of their two-year ban from European competition expected to be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday, both clubs could soon get a better idea of what it will take to be playing on the continent next season.

Wolves looked to be completely in control of their own destiny, claiming the maximum nine points without conceding in their first three matches of Project Restart. But a rejuvenated Arsenal squad dealt them a 2-0 defeat at Molineux on Saturday, just the second loss for Nuno Espirito Santo's side in the last 12 league contests (6-4-2).

"There was a lot of things that didn't happen," Nuno explained to the team's official website. "We should do better, but this is the game of football, the result happen, it's a consequence of how we do things. It wasn't one of the best games, but the work was there, let's go for the next one."

Wolves have dropped back-to-back league matches on just two occasions this season, the most recent occurrence coming at the end of the congested holiday fixture list. Wolverhampton have been a formidable road squad this term, entering this match unbeaten in their last five outside Molineux (4-1-0) while taking 27 of a possible 48 points (7-6-3).

Leading goal-scorer Raul Jimenez will look to avoid a third straight match without bulging the net. The Mexico international has potted 15 goals in league play and 24 in all competitions when including the early qualifying rounds of the Europa League.

Sheffield United appear to have righted themselves following back-to-back 3-0 losses to Newcastle United and Manchester United, claiming four points in their last two contests. The Blades followed up a convincing win over Tottenham with a 1-1 draw at Burnley on Sunday, nicking the point on John Egan's goal on 80 minutes.

Already dealing with an injury-hit squad, Wilder confirmed he is not a fan of the two biggest changes that came with Project Restart, the mid-half water break and the additional two substitutions allowed for each team.

"If you look, there aren't that many people having a drink," Wilder groused during his Monday presser. "It's not two halves, it's four quarters and that's another change we have to get used to. Most people, ourselves included admittedly, are just using it to have a word with our players.

"We were told before the game when Arsenal came here recently that we weren't allowed to coach in the break. But then I saw Mikel (Arteta, the Arsenal manager) doing it, gathering his troops around and thought 'Well, that's obviously all gone straight out of the window.' It's obvious to everybody what's going off."

He also used the time with the media to throw support for his players on the offensive end, which has not always been their forte. Wilder noted the Blades have been awarded exactly one penalty this season, while the two Manchester clubs have attempted 22 kicks from the spot.

The teams played to a cagey 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture at Molineux, with Matt Doherty's goal on 64 minutes for Wolves canceling out a second-minute strike from Sheffield's Lys Mousset.

The clubs have split four previous matches at Bramall Lane toiling in the Championship and League One dating back to the 2007-08 season.

Updated July 7, 2020

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2020 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFROM is strictly prohibited.