Crystal Palace vs Sheffield United: South London Meets South Yorkshire


Split by only three points and the same number of places in the Premier League, European hopefuls Sheffield United will understand the importance of victory as they head to South London tomorrow.

With neither side in fantastic form, the Eagles, who sit 11th in the Premier League, are five games without a win.

Having taken only seven points from the last possible 18 up for grabs, Roy Hodgson will see the tie at Selhurst Park as a huge opportunity to strengthen their league position.

A must-win for both sides, United know that a positive result could be vital when attempting to finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time ever.

Not since the days of Dave Beasant have the Blades stayed up in the top flight, let alone thrived. Securing five points from the last possible 18 and having scored only three goals in the last six fixtures, Chris Wilder will want improvement.

With no added pressure of a British television audience (the match will not be televised in the UK) it’s simply a battle between the South Yorkshiremen, who have only lost twice away this season, and the Londoners who are slowly getting better when playing the host.

Only the fourth Premier League meeting between the two teams, the third resulted in a United home victory at Bramall Lane in August. Blades midfielder John Lundstram scoring the only goal of the game, it was the first time that those in red and white had won in the Premier League in over ten years.

Straight off the back of FA Cup glory, Wilder’s men may well be in higher spirits than their opposite numbers. Palace hungry to win having lost to Southampton last time out, this promises to be a close match.

Team news

Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojević is set to return to action tomorrow after a three-match suspension.

Sheffield United striker David McGoldrick is pushing for a return after missing the last two games through injury.

Palace will almost certainly be without Christian Benteke for the tie, although along with Patrick van Aanholt and Andros Townsend, he is technically fit to play.

Chris Wilder could potentially hand new signings Jack Rodwell and Jack Robinson a first Premier League start.

It is highly likely that Sheffield United’s new signing Sander Berge will make his  Blades debut in South London.

From the Dugout:

Roy Hodgson:

“I don’t think we’ve improved since we last played Sheffield United. They’ve gone from strength to strength and are a really good team who have played exceptionally well this season. They have proven that they are a team to be reckoned with and a team looking more at UEFA places than even considering relegation.

Our approach will be based on what we know they are very good at and what they do. We know they defend well and get bodies behind the ball quickly. If we’re going to score goals then we need to get balls into the penalty area. I’m looking for the quality that we have in our team to unlock their defence. If we create opportunities then we must take them. The mood in training has been good.

All credit to Chris Wilder and Alan Knill for the work they have done. They identified what they needed, they found the right players and it just goes to show that you can succeed at a football club without spending millions.”

Chris Wilder:

“Any team that goes to Manchester City has to be recognised as a good and well respected side.

We’ve been through a tough period but nothing changes. The attitude and the performance has to remain the same from our players.

It will be a tough trip. Crystal Palace are a team who are in and around us. We feel we can attack and get a result. We’ll have to play well and do things right. Palace are a very talented team and I have huge respect for Roy Hodsgon. A magnificent manager and a great guy, his team will be a tough outfit to go and deal with.

I’m looking forward to going to Selhurst Park and enjoying one of the best atmospheres in the Premier League.”


The teams will meet for only the fourth time in the Premier League tomorrow. Of those fixtures, Crystal Palace have won two, United winning 1-0 at Bramal Lane earlier this season.

The league rivals most recently met in August last year. Chris Wilder’s side taking all three points as John Lundstram found the net in the 47th minute.

There has never been a goalless draw between the two teams in the top flight of English football.

In total, the Eagles have earned ten points from a possible 25 against promoted Premier League sides.

Sheffield United are winless in their last 19 Premier League games in London, last winning when beating Chelsea in 1992.

The Blades have drawn all four of their top flight games in the capital this campaign.




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