Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sheffield United: Preview and Prediction

Wolverhampton Wanderers will look to return to the top half of the Premier League table when they host Sheffield United at the Molineux on Sunday.

Gameweek 26 of the 2023/24 Premier League season will continue on Sunday, with the day bringing us only one match. That fixture will have Wolverhampton Wanderers welcoming Sheffield United to the Molineux.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have come leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Gary O’Neil. The Black Country outfit seemed in trouble when Julen Lopetegui left the club ahead of the 2023/24 season. But O’Neil has galvanised the squad and set them up well for a top-half finish heading into the business end of the campaign.

As for Sheffield United, they have been dreadful thus far this season. The Blades are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, with Chris Wilder failing to inspire a turnaround in fortunes since replacing Paul Heckingbottom at the helm at Bramall Lane. They have won only one of their last nine games dating back to early December, and they are the favourites to suffer relegation.

The reverse fixture saw Sheffield United eke out a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, with Oliver Norwood scoring a late winner. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Gary O’Neil does not have a new injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Sheffield United on Sunday, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager will be bereft of the services of only one first-team player.

Matheus Cunha is the only absentee for the home side, with the Brazilian striker recovering from a hamstring injury. He will not return to action until after the international break next month. Otherwise, O’Neil has a fully-fit squad at his disposal this weekend.

Jose Sa will take his usual spot between the sticks, with Wolverhampton Wanderers lining up in a 3-4-3 formation in front of him against Sheffield United. The central defensive unit should feature Craig Dawson, Toti Gomes, and captain Max Kilman.

As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past Joao Gomes and Mario Lemina in the middle of the park. Nelson Semedo and Rayan Ait-Nouri should be the two wing-backs, with the duo contributing on both ends of the pitch. Pedro Neto, Pablo Sarabia, and Hwang Hee-chan should complete the numbers in the final third, with the latter leading the line.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Sa; Kilman, Toti, Dawson; Semedo, Lemina, Gomes, Ait-Nouri; Neto, Hwang, Sarabia

Sheffield United

Unlike his counterpart in the Wolverhampton Wanderers dugout, Chris Wilder has a new roster issue to deal with ahead of the trip to the Molineux. The Sheffield United manager will be without six first-team players on Sunday.

Mason Holgate is the latest absentee, with the 27-year-old starting his three-match suspension after seeing red against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend. Holgate has joined John Egan (ankle), Rhys Norrington-Davies (thigh), Chris Basham (ankle), Max Lowe (ankle), and Daniel Jebbison (illness) on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Wilder has been coy on providing any team news updates. But George Baldock (knock), Cameron Archer (calf), and Ben Brereton Diaz (hamstring) are closing in on returning to action. Sheffield United should line up in a 3-5-2 formation against Wolverhampton Wanderers, with Ivo Grbic taking his spot between the sticks.

Auston Trusty, Anel Ahmedhodzic, and Jack Robinson should form the central defensive unit. Jayden Bogle and Yasser Larouci will likely take their spots as the wing-backs. As for the midfield unit, Vinicius Souza, Gustavo Hamer, and Tom Davies should shore up things in the middle of the park. Finally, James McAtee and Archer should take charge of the proceedings in the attack.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Grbic; Trusty, Ahmedhodzic, Robinson; Bogle, Souza, Davies, Hamer, Larouci; McAtee, Archer

Key Stats

  • Sheffield United won the reverse fixture 2-1 in November thanks to Oliver Norwood’s penalty in the tenth minute of added time. They can complete a league double over Wolves for the first time since 1989/90 in the second tier. The Blades last won home and away against the Black Country outfit in a top-flight season in 1961/62.
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers have suffered successive home league losses, having previously been unbeaten in eight matches at the Molineux. But their tally of 10 league victories this season is only one short of their total for 2022/23.
  • Sheffield United’s tally of 13 points is four fewer than any other team has had after 25 games of a Premier League season and gone on to avoid relegation. The Blades beat Luton in their most recent league away game and can register consecutive top-flight victories on their travels for the first time since December 2019 in Chris Wilder’s first spell as manager.
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers are the only team not to have scored a Premier League goal from outside the penalty area this season. They have had 101 attempts on goal from that range.
  • Sheffield United have conceded 65 league goals this season, the most by a team after 25 matches of a top-flight campaign since 1963/64 when Ipswich let in 70.

Player to Watch

Pedro Neto

Embed from Getty Images

With Matheus Cunha on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury, the onus will be on Pedro Neto and Hwang Hee-chan to deliver the goods in the final third. And we focus this section on the former, who ran the show for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the early stages of the 2023/24 season.

The 23-year-old has not missed a beat since returning from his long injury layoff, hitting the ground running in the last few weeks. Neto has provided nine assists in the Premier League this season, equalling the club record held by Adama Traore in 2019/20. He will look to add to that tally on Sunday and set up a crucial victory for his side.


Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 Sheffield United

Gary O’Neil and his charges would have been disappointed with their performance in the reverse fixture, considering Sheffield United’s travails in the 2023/24 season. The Blades have won only two other games apart from that match, which adds to the dismay surrounding that result.

But a repeat act might not be on the cards, even though Wolverhampton Wanderers have suffered a defeat in their last two home games. Instead, with a spot in the top ten up for grabs, the hosts will run through Sheffield United. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for O’Neil’s men, with James McAtee grabbing a consolation goal.

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