Sheffield United host Southampton on Saturday looking to continue their impressive start to life in the Premier League.
Chris Wilder’s men were woefully underestimated heading into the new campaign but have kicked it off with five points from four games so far, including an impressive 2-2 draw away to Chelsea last time out.
Southampton are just a point behind the Blades but also drew against one of the Premier League’s supposed “Big Six” in their last game, holding Manchester United 1-1 at home.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s steady improvement of the Saints squad is there for all to see but they’ll need to be on their guard at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
Read on for Sheffield United v Southampton preview, predictions, TV info and team news.
When is Sheffield United vs Southampton and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Bramall Lane
Date: Saturday, 14 September 2019
Kick-off: 3 PM BST
TV coverage (UK): N/A
Last five meetings: Sheffield United vs Southampton
16 Dec 2014: Sheffield United 1-0 Southampton (League Cup)
03 February 2009: Southampton 1-2 Sheffield United (Championship)
21 October 2008: Sheffield United 0-0 Southampton (Championship)
04 May 2008: Southampton 3-2 Sheffield United (Championship)
29 September 2007: Sheffield United 1-2 Southampton (Championship)
Aggregate Score: Sheffield United (WWDLL) 6-6 Southampton (LLDWW)
Ones to watch
Sheffield United: Oliver McBurnie
There are serious concerns around the fitness of David McGoldrick after he was forced to pull out of the Republic of Ireland’s squad for their friendly with Bulgaria on Tuesday, so the goalscoring mantle for Sheffield United is likely to pass onto club record-signing Oliver McBurnie.
The Scotland international is already off the mark this season but has been dropped in it by Sheffield United’s media team after a video emerged of him criticising his national team setup with teammate John Fleck. In turn, he’s faced the wrath of Scotland fans and come under real scrutiny.
McBurnie scored 22 Championship goals for Swansea last season and obviously has an eye for goal, but he’ll be well and truly placed under the microscope this weekend after a tough few days.
Key stat: McBurnie has won 10.12 aerial duels per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, the highest number of any Sheffield United player to feature in more than one match.
Southampton: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Controlling possession and stifling Sheffield United’s movement will be key if Hasenhuttl’s side are to silence Bramall Lane and leave with a result on Saturday. If that is to happen, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg simply must perform.
The former Bayern Munich man is by far Southampton’s most accomplished footballer, with his blend of expert passing, relentless energy and tough tackling making him one of the most well-rounded midfielders outside the top six.
Just as it did last season, most of Southampton’s good play has gone through him this term and he’ll need to be the one dominating the ball and dictating the game again this weekend.
Key stat: Højbjerg has completed more passes (139) than any other Southampton player in the Premier League this season, while no teammate has had more touches of the ball (239) than him.
David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson both withdrew from the Republic of Ireland squad recently through injury and are major doubts for the Blades this weekend. John Fleck has also missed the last three games with a hamstring injury but is nearing his return.
Predicted XI: Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Freeman, Stevens; McBurnie, Sharp.
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Southampton will be without defender Kevin Danso after his sending off against Manchester United, while Nathan Redmond is still injured but Ryan Bertrand should be ready to step back into the action. Danny Ings and Che Adams could start again after impressing so far.
Predicted XI: Gunn; Cedric, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Romeu, Højbjerg; Ward-Prowse, Boufal; Adams, Ings.
Sheffield United have made an extremely positive start to life in the Premier League and will be high on confidence heading into Saturday’s game.
Southampton have plenty of talent, though, and an extremely intelligent manager in Hasenhuttl. Backing them to stifle the Blades with an energetic and professional performance wouldn’t be a bad bet.
Scoreline prediction: Sheffield United 2-2 Southampton