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Sheffield United might have fluked their way into their position after all

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

It’s no secret that Chris Wilder and Sheffield United have been doing well this season.

With Wilder being recommended for the Manchester United & Arsenal jobs and the players getting praise from opposition managers, they’ve become one of the feel-good stories of the season.

And according to former Premier League defender Stephen Warnock, it hasn’t come their way by chance.

Although the numbers will show that it’s not really all been down to what Wilder and the players have been doing, some of it falls on their opponents.

What’s he said?

Speaking on Sky Sports News (11am onwards, 11/11), Warnock claimed that Sheffield United are in the position they are now because they deserve to be there.

“It’s not a fluke that they’re getting results it’s a well-oiled system that he’s got, the players believe in what they’re doing and that’s one of the big key factors in a team that performs well. It’s believing what the manager puts out on the pitch. They look at ease away from home as much as they do at home.”

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Six of one, half a dozen of the other

Some credit does have to go to Wilder and his men for the way have done so far this season.

They’ve put together arguably one of the better starts to a season by any promoted team but there should still be a little bit of scepticism when it comes to where they are, because they have been incredibly lucky so far this season.

As this table from Experimental361 shows, whilst they may have one of the best defensive records in the league, having only conceded nine times in 13 games, part of that comes from the sheer wastefulness of the teams they’ve been playing.

Where will Sheff Utd finish this season?

Europe

Europe

Top Half

Top Half

Bottom Half

Bottom Half

Relegated

Relegated

The table shows that the Blades have been the joint biggest beneficiaries, along with Crystal Palace of missed chances, with 4.5 ‘expected goals’ being wasted by their opponents meaning they should actually be 13th in the table rather than fifth.

It would be a miracle if they manage to keep hold of that sort of luck all season, sooner or later they may get found out, like when they play top scorers Manchester City on 29th December (who have scored more goals than they should based off expected goals), then we’ll really get to see if it’s all down to what they have done rather than what the opponents haven’t.

Article title: Sheffield United might have fluked their way into their position after all

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