Thursday, October 21

West Brom-Sheffield United Preview – Sports Illustrated


Sam Allardyce wants to change the mindset at West Brom to avoid losing more expensive points in his bid for survival.

The Baggies face a vital stretch to the season, visiting Sheffield United on Tuesday after facing Fulham at the weekend.

Allardyce’s team led 2-1 at Fulham but conceded the equalizer with 14 minutes remaining, a damaging draw as the teams just above the relegation zone won.

West Brom has still won just once since Allardyce took office and must improve soon, although their head coach isn’t overly concerned about results elsewhere.

“It doesn’t matter what they do or don’t do,” Allardyce said. “We need 38 (points), historically that will be enough.

“Very soon we have to be the ones who win and they the ones who are losing.”

He added: “We had a great chance to win against Fulham, it’s our fault we didn’t. We just had to defend properly, we had gotten ahead of ourselves.

“I keep telling you about the change of mentality in football, it depends on what the score is at that moment. Are we winning 2-1? Let’s defend correctly, not just as a four but as an XI.”

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder is equally keen not to put too much emphasis on how his rivals fare at the bottom.

The Blades lost 1-0 at Manchester City at the weekend, slowing their momentum after a surprising win against Manchester United.

“We all look at the other results and when they beat us, I’m sure the teams above us will be delighted,” he said.

“We are only human, we cannot escape that, but we cannot beat ourselves because of what has happened in other clubs. We need a result; that is what we can control and hopefully we can achieve it.”

PLAYERS TO SEE

Sheffield United – Billy Sharp

Sheffield United is belatedly picking up results and Captain Sharp has played a key role. He has scored three goals in his last four home games in all competitions, more than the two he had scored in his previous 19 at Bramall Lane.

West Brom – Matheus Pereira

West Brom has defensive problems, but Pereira is having a great impact in attack. He has been directly involved in five of his seven league goals with Allardyce, scoring four and assisting one.

OPTA KEY FACTS

– Sheffield United have lost three of their last four league games against West Brom (G1), as many as it had in their last 12 against them (G6 D3).

– West Brom is looking to complete the league double over Sheffield United for the first time since the 1997-98 second-division campaign, winning 4-2 at Bramall Lane that season.

– The Blades have never lost a Premier League home game in February, winning four and drawing two of their six games. Only Bournemouth (eight in September) and Brighton (seven in October) have played more home games in a specific month without losing in the competition.

– Sheffield United have lost eight games 1-0 in the Premier League this season; At this stage in a season in the top flight (after 21 games), this is the most combined 1-0 losses by any team, tying Ipswich Town in 1985-86.

– West Brom has delivered 50 goals in 21 Premier League games this season, the second fastest a team has conceded 50 goals in a Premier League season behind only Barnsley in 1997-98, who conceded 50 in their first few 19 matches.




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