Crystal Palace and Sheffield United meet in dire form and in need of points
Crystal Palace to win 1-0
In what is the busiest period of the English football calendar, both Crystal Palace and Sheffield United are slumping to one poor result after another.
Sheffield United are still without a win this season, an incredible run of poor form stretching 16 matches and giving them the lowest points total at this stage of a campaign. Their only exception to the regular defeats over the past five matches is a draw against Brighton which did little to improve their position.
Remarkably, the club have stuck with manager Chris Wilder, likely believing that no other manager is any better equipped to save them from the drop.
Crystal Palace are slowly but surely sinking towards the relegation zone themselves, following a torrid run of form containing just one win from their past eight matches.
The Eagles have the better players, but talent counts for little when a team is playing with such low confidence.
Form Guide (all comps): DDLLD
Reasons to be cheerful:
Picking up just enough points to stay comfortable
Only Leeds have scored more goals in the bottom half
Reasons to be fearful:
Home form is worse than results of their travels
Sheffield United have been stubborn of late
Crystal Palace will be favourites to get back to winning ways here, as most teams are when facing Sheffield United this season.
The Eagles are scoring plenty of goals – their 20 is only being Leeds in the bottom half of the table. They are also conceding plenty, with only Leeds and West Brom shipping more in their own net.
Palace have picked up some impressive points, even during their poor form of late. Their draws against Leicester and West Ham showed quality, but not as consistently as their manager Roy Hodgson would like.
If they are on song, Palace’s attackers could run through Sheffield United’s defence, which is why they are favourites here.
Star Man – Wilf Zaha
His goal against Leicester took his tally to eight for the season and continues to pop up with crucial goals for Palace.
Form Guide (all comps): LLDLL
Reasons to be cheerful
Have only conceded on goal per game recently
Are able to create chances in matches
Reasons to be fearful
Have not kept a clean sheet all season
11 adrift of safety is too big a mountain to climb
Sheffield United continue to battle in every match, but unfortunately for their fans, to no avail.
With just two points on the board, and now sitting 11 adrift of safety, there is very little hope of The Blades mounting a comeback this season, even if it is just 16 games old.
Their one positive has been a fully fit squad to choose from of late, though that came into question as two of their players tested positive for coronavirus in midweek, while Oli McBurnie is tough and go with a knock.
Sheffield United, though it sounds odd, must continue to play in the same way against Palace this weekend. United haven’t been beaten by more than a single goal in four matches, so are continuing to keep things tight.
They just need to hope that Palace’s attackers have an off day.
Star Man – David McGoldrick
Is still fighting hard at the top of the pitch, but with little support or service behind him.
Crystal Palace favourites but only on paper
Sheffield United could frustrate them for long periods
One goal in it
Sheffield United’s matches this season, at least most of them, have shown us that they very rarely get rolled over with a big thrashing.
They can keep things tight in games and this match will surely be no exception.
Palace have the players to take all three points, but they’ll have to earn them here.
Crystal Palace to win 1-0