West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United will both aim to secure their first Premier League win of the season when the pair meet at The Hawthorns on Saturday night.
Whilst many would have expected newly-promoted West Brom to struggle upon their return to the top flight, few would have predicted the slow start that Sheffield United have made in the Premier League this season.
Chris Wilder’s Blades were a revelation in the Premier League last season, finishing eighth having won promotion from the Championship in their previous campaign. However, United have been a shadow of the side that surprised many last term, with just one point to their name after nine games.
In fact, only two sides have previously picked up one or less points after nine games of a Premier League season – and both Manchester City (95/96) and Sheffield Wednesday (99/00) went on to be relegated.
Wilder will be desperate to get a first league win of the season against the Baggies on Saturday, and if the Blades do secure three points, it’ll see the Sheffield United boss rack up his 100th win as manager of the club.
However, defeat will see Sheffield United become only the third club to have one or less points after ten games of a top-flight season. Ironically, West Brom were the last club to suffer such a poor start after ten games in 85/86, whereas Manchester United had no points on the board after ten games of the 30/31 First Division season.
A big problem for the Blades this season has been scoring goals. Their total of four goals is the lowest such haul in the Premier League this season, although they’ll be encouraged that three of these goals have came away from Bramall Lane. This weekend, they also come against the league’s most porous defence, with West Brom conceding 18 goals already this season.
Baggies boss Slaven Bilic will have a similar pre-match team talk with his side. West Brom have scored just one goal in their last six Premier League games, but will be buoyed by the fact that Sheffield United are the only side yet to keep a clean sheet in the league this season.
Surprisingly, this is the first ever Premier League meeting between West Brom and Sheffield United, and a draw on Saturday night will see two Premier League sides go the opening ten games without a win for just the third time ever.
Sheffield United do have a good record at The Hawthorns though, with three wins in their last five visits to West Brom. However, their former striker Callum Robinson could come back to haunt the Blades, as the only player to have scored more than once for the Baggies so far this season.