We are back! Almost as soon as last season ended – a new one begins, and for Sheffield United and Wolves it starts off with a tough match. Both managers are always keen to press forward but every game is a tough game in the Premier League – so expect no complacency here.
It’s well known that Chris Wilder is a big fan of Nuno Espirito Santo and vice versa – maybe being successful with promoted clubs has given them a unique bond – we’ll never know.
What we do know is both squads have seen exciting reinforcements and considering how close their games were last season, we can probably expect more of the same.
Sheffield United have been savvy in the market, the most high profile additions being goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to replace Dean Henderson and the promising double signing of fullbacks Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle from Derby County. Ethan Ampadu has also been brought in on loan from Chelsea after the Welshman enjoyed a decent spell at Champions League semi-finalists RB Leipzig.
Wolves were very slow to get going in the market with many fans wondering if the threadbare squad would be supplemented for the upcoming season. The sale of Matt Doherty to Spurs could have a huge impact and with no replacement signed yet, that could be an area Sheffield United target.
They have however brought in some fantastic players, smashing their club record on 18-year-old striker Fabio Silva from Porto. The Portuguese contingent increased with the signing of 20-year-old attacking midfielder Vitor Ferreira ( AKA Vitinha) from the same club and the experienced Fernando Marçal from another Champions League semi-finalist in Lyon.
With both sides competing well last season and having strengthened, you can expect a close fought but entertaining game.
Nuno has made it no secret over the past week that he wants his team to dominate and score more in matches, so we may see the progression into a new style of play in this match.
However, Nuno is a coach that implements his ideas over an extended period of time, so don’t expect any drastic changes.
Chris Wilder will likely stick to the system, which brought him great success and plaudits during the last campaign. Both managers will aim to nullify each other and press each backline.
With the two sides being comfortable in possession and fluid in transition, we can expect to see a game tightly fought and decided on clinical counter-attacks. The first half will probably a tight affair but we could expect to see a more expansive second.
Both sides have shown great levels of fitness (in particular Wolves) so this one could go down to the wire, similarly to their last encounter which Sheffield United won in the last minute.
If Wolves’ front three is on form we could see them edge the game. Daniel Podence, Diogo Jota and Adama Traore all offer a great threat, and with Traore likely to play RWB we could see them hold a huge threat going forward. All three, alongside Raul Jimenez, could ask serious questions of the Sheffield United backline.
Sheffield United caused this Wolves team problems with their energy and physicality last time and you could see them doing so again. This current Wolves squad still lacks a real physical presence in midfield. The midfield battle will prove crucial in a game that will rely on recycling possession and quick transition play.
Both sides will be confident in making a positive start to the season and you can easily see it being a close fought contest.
Match Prediction: Sheff Utd 1-1 Wolves