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A brief review of Sheffield United’s previous season in the PL: The agonising relegation tale from the past

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A brief review of Sheffield United’s last season in the top-flight:- the agonising relegation tale of the 2006-07 campaign

The excitement amongst the fans at Bramall Lane is expected to rocket sky-high as Sheffield Unitedget their preparations underway for the upcoming 2019-20 season of the Premier League.

Indeed, the club’s long exile from the top-flight has finally come to an end and Premier League football is set to return to South Yorkshire for the first time since 2006-07.

Sheffield United, of course, are a big club with a lot of heritage and the fans have every reason to rejoice their club’s resurrection in recent times. The Blades were tottering in League One just a few years back but former player Chris Wilder took charge and turned the club’s fortunes around with two promotions in the space of just three years.

However, now that they are in the Premier League, it is high time for them to put the disappointment of all those lacklustre years behind them. Two emphatic promotion-winning campaigns over the past three years have given them a solid platform from where they should look to kick on and move forward with a view to thriving in the top-flight for years to come.

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The Blades are yet to set the ball rolling in the transfer window this summer and, while that might sound a bit disappointing, the club hierarchy is working hard behind the scenes to get some deals done before the deadline. Keeping all those talks aside, let us take a walk down the memory lane and relive Sheffield United’s season in the top-flight last time.

Well, that might not sound like a good idea to the fans at Bramall Lane given that the Blades finished at the wrong end of a relegation dogfight in the 2006-07 season of the Premier League.

Sheffield’s stay in the top-flight proved to be nothing more than a passing shower at that time, however, it wasn’t the most humiliating of relegations after all.

As a matter of fact, they were in with a chance of staying up until the last day of the season, only for things to go wrong at the very last moment.

Nevertheless, the 2006-07 campaign proved to be quite an eventful one for the Blades and it is definitely worth taking a brief look back at what actually happened twelve years ago. 

The 2006-07 season

After many disappointments in the previous campaigns, Sheffield United finally secured a return to the top-flight under the stewardship of Neil Warnock, with Neil Shipperley’s 11 goals helping the Blades finish as runners-up in the 2005-06 season of the Championship.

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Transfers

With expectations crossing all limits upon securing promotion, Sheffield United opted for a squad overhaul prior to the start of the Premier League season.

The Blades brought in as many as 14 new players in the summer and winter transfer windows combined, which came at the expense of several of those who had played a key role in the promotion-winning campaign. 

The likes of Neil Shipperley, David Unsworth, Steve Kabba, Paul Ifill, Ade Akinbiyi, Ian Ross and Geoff Horsfield were sold. Others like Brian Deane and Gary Flitcroft hung up their boots, while Bruce Dyer and Kyle Nix were released.

Sheffield not only added some quality domestic players like David Sommeil, Claude Davis, Rob Hulse, Matthew Kilgallon and Jon Stead but they also resorted to playing low-cost gambles on Christian Nade, Mamadou Seck, Luton Shelton and Ahmed Fathy, with all of them arriving from foreign leagues.

Warnock was tasked with getting all these new players together and extracting the best out of them to steer the club to safety.

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As it happened

Sheffield United kicked off their Premier League campaign in an impressive manner, earning a vital point with a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at home on the opening day.

They subsequently slumped to defeats at the hands of Spurs, Fulham, Reading and Arsenal in four of their next five games before registering their first win of the season against Middlesbrough at home towards the end of September.

Boosted by their first win, the Blades pinched another vital point with a 0-0 draw against Man City away from home and subsequently suffered defeats against Everton and Chelsea before returning to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United. In doing so, they registered their first away win of the season.

Sheffield lost to Manchester United and West Ham early in November but a sudden upturn of form starting from late November to the end of December meant that the Blades managed to somehow stay clear of the drop zone.

Warnock guided his team to victories over Watford, Charlton and Wigan prior to the Christmas period before finishing the year off in style with an incredible 1-0 win against Arsenal at home.

It wasn’t a particularly good start to 2007 for the Blades though, with the club only managing to accumulate a solitary point from their first three Premier League outings.

However, a 2-0 home victory over Fulham towards the end of January followed by a 2-1 decapitulation of Spurs once again helped them get their campaign back in the right direction.

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The agony of relegation on the basis of goal difference

That, however, proved to be a temporary relief for Warnock, as Sheffield lost four out of their next five games to set the alarm bells ringing once again.

The Blades answered their critics in an emphatic manner with a 3-0 victory over West Ham, however, after suffering defeats at the hands of Man United and Aston Villa, Sheffield went into the final day of the season against Wigan Athletic knowing that a draw would be enough to ensure another season of top-flight football.

Despite being sucked into an unwanted relegation battle, Sheffield had their fate in their own hands heading into the last game at home against Wigan. With the scores tied at 1-1, it looked as if the Blades were going to steer themselves to safety quite comfortably.

However, in a twist of fate, David Unsworth, the man who had started the season at Bramall Lane and later joined Wigan on a free transfer in January 2007, came off the bench as a substitute and scored the goal that sent Sheffield United down to the Championship.

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Wigan managed to finish outside the bottom three by the virtue of their superior goal difference, while the fans at Bramall Lane could not help but shed tears following a painful end to a rather promising campaign in the top-flight which saw the Blades accumulate a total of 38 points with 10 victories and 8 draws.

Whether or not they deserved to be relegated 12 years back is a topic that is dead and buried, but now that they are back in the Premier League with new hopes and expectations, Sheffield United have to give it their all to make sure they stay alive in the top-flight this time.

Arsenal

[Image] Man United vs Arsenal: Star-studded combined XI featuring 4 Red Devils and 7 Gunners

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Man United vs Arsenal: Combined XI featuring 4 Red Devils and 7 Gunners

After a round of EFL Cup fixtures, Premier League action is set to return this weekend with plenty of thrills and spills and the high-octane clash between Man United and Arsenal on Monday night is undoubtedly going to be one of the main attractions of matchweek 7. 

Both the teams won their EFL Cup fixtures, with Arsenal handing Nottingham Forest a 5-0 drubbing and Man United somehow edging past a lowly Rochdale in the penalty shootout. 

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Arsenal are currently placed 4th in the Premier League standings after a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa last week and the fans will be expecting the Gunners to continue their winning run, while Man United will have their work cut out away from home after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham last week. 

Combined XI

Bernd Leno (GK)

The German has proven his worth between the sticks on numerous occasions with some fine saves this season and he certainly deserves the nod over de Gea, who has been a bit inconsistent. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB)

The youngster has proven himself to be an excellent addition to Man United’s backline and it is a no-brainer that he has fared way better than Maitland-Niles in that position.

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Harry Maguire (CB)

The England international has added a lot of steel to United’s backline following his big-money move from Leicester City earlier in the summer. One of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, he definitely deserves a place ahead of the error-prone David Luiz in the elite combined line-up. 

Sokratis (CB)

The Greek international has hardly been at his best but Victor Lindelof too, has been equally lacklustre and there isn’t really a lot to choose between them so far this term.

Kieran Tierney (LB)

The Scotsman made his first start for the Gunners since his move from Celtic back in August and the fans will be expecting him to play a big part on Monday if he starts.

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Matteo Guendouzi (CDM)

The Frenchman has arguably been Arsenal’s most influential presence in the middle of the park with his excellent all-round game, leapfrogging Fred, Matic, Xhaka and Torreira on the performance charts. 

Scott McTominay (CDM)

The youngster has really come of age for United this term and his combative and energetic displays in the middle of the park have caught the eye amidst a lot of mediocrity from his teammates, including star man Paul Pogba. 

Nicolas Pepe (RW)

The Ivorian is currently on high spirits after bagging his first goal for Arsenal against Aston Villa last week and though he hasn’t done anything spectacular yet, there is hardly a better player from either team in that role. 

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Daniel James (LW)

The former Swansea City starlet has taken the Premier League by storm this season and he will be United’s best bet to find the net on Monday. 

Dani Ceballos (CAM)

The Spaniard has shown a lot of promise in that No.10 role for the Gunners and he definitely deserves the nod ahead of big names like Juan Mata and Mesut Ozil.

To Read More Arsenal News, Click here:- Latest Arsenal News

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)

The Gabonese international has become a nemesis for the defenders in the Premier League and with an impressive tally 6 goals in 6 league outings this season, Arsenal will look up to him to propel them to a victory over rivals United on Monday. 

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Arsenal

[Image] Predicted 4-2-3-1 Man United XI to face Arsenal – Can Maguire keep Aubameyang quiet?

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Predicted Man United XI to face Arsenal in the Premier League

Man United got themselves back to winning ways with a hard-fought penalty shootout victory over Rochdale in the EFL Cup but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are going to have their work cut out when they play host to Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday night.

The Red Devils came under scrutiny after their disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham away from home last week and they will be desperate to come away with a positive result against the Gunners on Monday having won only 2 of their first 6 games in the Premier League so far. 

Unai Emery’s side will head into the game high on confidence after having the final say in the 3-2 thriller against Aston Villa followed by a 5-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup. 

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Team News

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has plenty of injuries to contend with for Monday’s high-octane clash. Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are ruled out with long-term knee injuries but a number of key first-team players are also doubtful to play a part against the Gunners.

Marcus Rashford (groin), Anthony Martial (thigh) and Luke Shaw (thigh) are yet to recover fully from their respective injuries and their availability will be subject to a late fitness test. 

Solskjaer is expected to make multiple changes to the eleven that played against Rochdale on Wednesday night. 

Predicted XI

Formation: 4-2-3-1

David de Gea (GK)

The Spaniard has shown signs of returning to his best after signing a new deal with the club and he is expected to replace Sergio Romero on Monday. 

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Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB)

The former Crystal Palace man has been one of the Red Devils’ shining lights in what has otherwise been a rather disappointing start to the season. 

Victor Lindelof (CB)

The Swedish international has blown hot and cold at the heart of the defence this season and United will need him to put in a better performance against a potent Arsenal attack.

Harry Maguire (CB)

The Englishman is an undisputed starter for United every week and he has to be at his best to keep the free-scoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at bay. 

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Ashley Young (LB)

Luke Shaw is unlikely to make it back to the starting eleven on Monday, meaning that the veteran could get yet another start. 

Scott McTominay (CDM)

The youngster has put in a number of impressive performances at the heart of the midfield this season and Solskjaer should continue to rely on him. 

Paul Pogba (CDM)

His return to fitness before the crunch game against the Gunners is definitely a massive boost for United and the Red Devils will bank on him to come up with something spectacular on Monday. 

Andreas Pereira (RW)

The Brazilian hasn’t done an awful lot but he is likely to find himself amongst the starters once again if Martial and Rashford do not make it back in time. 

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Juan Mata (CAM)

The Spaniard has hardly been at his sparkling best but Jesse Lingard, too, has been a big disappointment and Solskajer might just go with experience in a high-octane clash. 

Daniel James (LW)

The jet-heeled Welsh starlet has arguably been United’s best performer in the Premier League thus far and it will be interesting to see how he goes about things against Arsenal. 

To Read More Man United News, Click Here:- Latest Man United News

Mason Greenwood (ST)

The academy graduate has scored in the Europa League and the EFL Cup in the past week or so and injuries to Rashford and Martial might just open the door for him to get a start in the Premier League.

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Dragon Feeds

No Eriksen, no problem – 3 top-class replacements who Tottenham can consider including these Serie A stars

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3 ideal replacements for Christian Eriksen at Tottenham next summer

Tottenham came out of their miserly habits to spend big this summer but the Lilywhites still have plenty of issues to sort out after an indifferent start to the Premier League campaign. 

The North Londoners grabbed the headlines with big-money deals for Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon earlier in the summer but if the first seven games are anything to go by, Spurs still have plenty of gaps to plug if they are to push on under the stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino and ultimately challenge for the Premier League crown.

Indeed, the arrival of Lo Celso and club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele has strengthened Spurs’ cavalry in the middle of the park but Pochettino is likely to have a few more targets high on his wishlist for the upcoming transfer windows. 

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While a replacement for Kieran Tripper continues to be a nagging issue, the transfer saga involving influential playmaker Christian Eriksen has turned into a big distraction for the club, with the Dane stalling over signing a new deal. 

Eriksen, who is out of contract next summer, continues to be a game-changer for Spurs but the Lilywhites might as well start preparing for life without him next summer. 

It’s pretty evident that he has his heart set on a move to a bigger club to challenge for silverware and reach greater heights and to that end, it is in the best interests of everyone that Spurs let him depart for free next summer or cash in on him in January to fund a move for a replacement.

Talking about a genuine replacement for a player of his calibre, Spurs have got the option to iron out a permanent deal for Lo Celso, who is widely regarded as one of the best all-round midfielders in the modern game.

However, they have the choice to look at other options as well, and here are 3 ideal replacements for the Dane:

1. Paulo Dybala 

The Argentinian stalwart has been forced to take a back seat at Juventus following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer and Spurs should look to go back in the market for the 25-year-old after failing to get a deal over the line in the summer. (h/t Express)

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The left-footed magician has the playmaking abilities and the natural skill set to fill in the void left by Eriksen, while his versatility to operate in multiple roles in the attacking third could be a massive boost to Pochettino’s team dynamics. 

Dybala is one of the best playmaking forwards in the world and Pochettino’s union with his compatriot could transform Spurs into strong title contenders for the upcoming season. 

2. Nicolo Zaniolo 

Spurs were repeatedly linked with a move for the 20-year-old Italian in the summer following his impressive breakthrough season at Roma last term. (h/t Daily Mail)

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The Lilywhites can certainly afford to look at the youngster as a smart long-term investment but unlike Dybala, he is not really a finished article and Pochettino would need to polish him to a considerable extent to transform him into a player capable of making an impact in the highly competitive atmosphere of the Premier League. 

Zaniolo has illustrated the versatility to play everywhere across the midfield, with his good turn of pace, natural finesse and ability to pick out key passes being some of his most impressive attributes. 

The Italian, though, is held in high regard at Roma due to his tremendous potential, and he certainly won’t come cheap. 

3. James Maddison

Perhaps the best like-to-like playmaking replacement for Eriksen, the 22-year-old Englishman has carved out a massive reputation for himself at Leicester City as one of the hottest talents across the nation. 

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He has been linked with Spurs (h/t Express) and it is a no-brainer for the club to go out all in their pursuit of the Leicester City star.

To Read More Spurs News, Click Here:- Latest Spurs News

The youngster not only has the work rate to shoulder the burden of being Spurs’ main man in the middle of the park but he also has the ability to change the whole complexion of the game with his eye for goals and assists. Going by his current form, Maddison would be a dream signing for Tottenham.

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