Sheffield United vs Everton match preview: Blades look to book European football
Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

It is a must-win for Sheffield United as they look to secure their place in the Europa League on their first season back in the top-flight.

Project Restart has delivered a mixed bag of results for United, but their home form has remained particularly consistent as the Yorkshire side have won each of their ties at Bramall Lane. Seeing off fellow European contenders Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Wolves, United have done themselves every favour possible as they now look further down the table to their upcoming opponents.

Their last match fell away from the trend, as goals Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray rescued Leicester City from continued embarrassment and earned the Foxes all three points. The Blades looked sluggish and disorganised – something which Carlo Ancelotti will hope to capitalise on.

Everton have been off the pace since the restart with only two wins to their name – a victory at home over Leicester and one on the road as they visited bottom-of-the-table Norwich City. The Toffees have struggled to find the net behind closed doors, scoring just five times in seven matches.

A poor performance last week saw Ancelotti’s men slump to a 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Aston Villa, relying on Theo Walcott to deliver the goods in the dying minutes of the game with their first (and only) shot on target.

Team news

35-year-old Leon Clarke is a doubt for Sheffield United, with the Englishman missing out on every game since the Premier League’s resumption. Teammate Luke Freeman will not feature as he continues to recover from an injury which has ruled him out of each match in July.

Everton will miss out on Mason Holgate, who suffered an injury early in the draw with Aston Villa despite returning from a previous injury that very same tie. Centre-back partner Yerry Mina is also out of the squad.

Predicted line-ups

Sheffield United: Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Osborn, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick. (3-5-2)

Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Branthwaite, Digne; Iwobi, Davies, Gomes, Bernard; Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison. (4-4-2)

Players to watch

John Egan

Irishman Egan possesses an innate ability to thwart attacks. The 27-year-old has been a major part of the Blades’ defence this term, and has featured in all but a handful of matches in their Premier League campaign.

Egan has also found some form going forward recently, scoring twice in his last four appearances; one to salvage a point away at Burnley and the other an injury-time winner over Wolves.

Alex Iwobi

Iwobi answered his critics with a fabulous showing against Aston Villa. Although he failed to produce a goal, the Nigerian proved himself as a real headache for the Villa defence with his tricky feet and attacking guile.

The 24-year-old also utilised his brilliant delivery to fire cross after cross in to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, but the ball could not find its way to the goal.

Previous meetings

The reverse fixture in September saw United take a comfortable 0-2 victory at Goodison Park. Despite seeing far less of the ball, the Blades took the lead on the stroke of halftime through a Mina own-goal. Lys Mousset doubled the lead in the second half.

You would have to look all the way back to March 2007 to find Everton’s last visit to Bramall Lane – a match in which a penalty from now-Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta secured a point for the Toffees as the game petered out to a 1-1 draw.

Where to watch on TV

The match is being shown live on Amazon Prime Video at 18:00 BST.

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