Sheffield United will be looking to maintain their unlikely pursuit of a top-four finish when they welcome Premier League strugglers Brighton to South Yorkshire.
The promoted club have been a revelation this season under Chris Wilder and find themselves just two points outside the Champions League qualification places — although that could now be extended to fifth depending on Manchester City’s appeal against their current European ban.
At the opposite end of the table, the Seagulls are currently scrapping it out to avoid relegation, with Graham Potter’s side just three points adrift the drop zone.
Bramall Lane has thus far proven a difficult venue for away teams, but can Brighton clinch some much-needed points this weekend? Or will Wilder rally the troops and keep their European dreams alive? Read on for Sheff Utd vs Brighton preview, predictions, team news and more.
When is Sheff Utd vs Brighton and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Bramall Lane
Date: Saturday, 22 February 2020
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): N/A
Online & live stream options: Readers based in the US can try Fubo TV, who are currently offering a free trial deal.
Last five meetings: Sheff Utd vs Brighton
21 December 2019: Brighton 0-1 Sheff Utd (Premier League)
21 January 2006: Sheff Utd 3-1 Brighton (Championship)
13 September 2005: Brighton 0-1 Sheff Utd (Championship)
15 January 2005: Sheff Utd 1-2 Brighton (Championship)
02 October 2004: Brighton 1-1 Sheff Utd (Championship)
Aggregate Score: Sheff Utd (WWWLD) 7-4 Brighton (LLLWD)
Ones to watch
Sheff Utd: Sander Berge
Sheff Utd formed quite the coherent XI before January, with the midfield trident of Oliver Norwood, John Lundstram and John Fleck proving a fine blend of industry, creativity and dynamism. But, Wilder sought to boost his options in the middle of the park last month and pulled off quite the coup with the signing of Berge.
The towering Norwegian has brought a new level of depth, precision and aggression to Sheff Utd and he could yet prove the difference between an excellent season and a sensational one. He’s started the previous two outings, and the Blades have secured back-to-back wins. Against a side as fluid as Brighton, Berge’s midfield influence will be key to breaking up Potter’s patterns of play.
Key stat: In Sheff Utd’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth, Berge completed more successful take-ons than any player on the pitch (three).
Brighton: Aaron Mooy
One of the reasons Wilder’s side have been so impressive this season is because of the rhythm in which his midfield-three can operate, but one player who won’t give the likes of Berge any breathing room is Mooy.
The Australian is tenacity incarnate, consistently closing down with terrier-like will, while never shying away from getting his kit muddy. But, to say Mooy was just a scrapper would be unjust, as the midfielder boasts a slick passing range as well. The combination of doggedness and invention from Mooy is likely to prove the difference between points and another disheartening defeat for Brighton this weekend.
Key stat: Only Pascal Gross (52) and Leandro Trossard (31) have created more chances than Mooy (26) for Brighton in the Premier League this season.
Confirmed Sheff Utd line-up
Chris Wilder names an unchanged side to face Brighton this afternoon.
McBurnie and Sharp start up top. Come on you Blades!#SUFC 🔴
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) February 22, 2020
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Confirmed Brighton line-up
🔢 Here’s how we line up for today’s game with @SheffieldUnited.
— Brighton & Hove Albion ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC) February 22, 2020
Although Brighton find themselves languishing precariously at the wrong end of the table, they have impressed at times under Potter’s tuition and could cause the hosts one or two problems this weekend.
Sheff Utd have been excellent and a defeat at home is hard to envisage, but Brighton are fighting for their lives and could sneak an invaluable away point here.