Sheffield United vs West Ham United

Bramall Lane is the venue as Sheffield United and West Ham United go head-to-head in contrasting Premier League circumstances.

Unless 2024 brings a dramatic change in fortunes, Sheffield United shall compete in the Championship next season, at least according to the history. Since no side in Premier League history to accumulate only nine points after the opening 20 matchdays has avoided relegation, the ‘Blades’ commence the new calendar year in a near-impossible situation. But it can hardly be worse than the tail-end of 2023, which had seen them put together four consecutive league games without a win (D1, L3). In fact, Chris Wilder’s men have only registered two Premier League victories this season (D3, L15) while conceding a league-high 49 goals. Maybe a 4-0 thumping of lower-league Gillingham in the FA Cup third round could inspire some confidence around the beleaguered United camp.

On the other hand, West Ham’s bid to secure their first top-four finish in the Premier League era gained momentum toward the end of 2023, with David Moyes’ side racking up three straight league wins before a goalless home draw against Brighton last time out. With a game in hand, the ‘Hammers’ trail fourth-placed Aston Villa by nine points, highlighting the importance of extending a three-match winning streak against Sheffield United. Each of those three wins yielded a clean sheet, which fits the recent theme of four consecutive shutouts in the Premier League. A shocking FA Cup exit to second-tier Bristol City wasn’t the ideal way to start the new calendar year, but West Ham should still take this trip in high spirits.

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