Sheffield United: Can Chris Wilder Keep the Blades in the Big Time?

Sheffield United have reappointed former manager Chris Wilder to succeed Paul Heckingbottom on an 18-month contract.

Chris Wilder coach of Sheffield United

After winning promotion from the EFL Championship, Sheffield United’s focus has been on surviving in the notoriously tough English Premier League. The club has had a difficult start, but can the familiar face of Chris Wilder keep the battling Blades in the top tier?

United in a Relegation Scrap

Before a ball was kicked this term, many had Sheffield United down for an instant return to the Championship. They had two seasons in the second division after suffering relegation from the EPL at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

The club from South Yorkshire had a great 2022-23 season under Paul Heckingbottom. They won 28 of 46 Championship matches to finish runner-up to Vincent Kompany’s Burnley.

However, staying in the Premier League will be a tall order. The Blades have struggled in the first half of the 2023-24 campaign, spending all season so far in the bottom three. They failed to win a game in any competition until a much-needed 2-1 home league triumph over >Wolverhampton Wanderers
Having made a slow start, Sheffield United is the favorite for relegation. However, the Blades will keep fighting until the very end. They have some tricky games coming up, and you can bet on every fixture over the hectic holiday period. Looking at the markets for outright and live sports betting, Sheffield is priced at odds of -1200 to drop down to the Championship. Also, United is priced at -163 to finish bottom of the pile.

Wilder Makes a Sensational Return

Wilder left Bramall Lane under somewhat of a dark cloud in March 2021. Sheffield United was struggling at the time, and the club and Wilder decided to part ways by mutual consent.

He had a sensational time in Sheffield from 2016 to 2021, taking United from EFL League One to the Premier League. He was also a popular man at Bramall Lane during his playing days, racking up over 100 league appearances over two stints at the club.

After a bad start to this season, the pressure was starting to mount on Heckingbottom. The dreadful 5-0 loss at Burnley in early December proved to be the final straw. Wilder’s first game was against Liverpool, which the Blades lost 2-0.

Sheffield United then secured just their second EPL win of the campaign in Wilder’s second game, with one goal enough in a narrow victory over Brentford. The Blades showed plenty of grit and determination, which we were so used to seeing in Wilder’s first spell at Bramall Lane.

It remains to be seen just how important those three points against the Bees will be, but Wilder has certainly lifted the spirits around the place. He's known as a legend at the club, and he could be exactly what Sheffield United needs in their fight for survival.

Time is on United’s side, but they must start picking up some positive results over the Christmas season. All are tough matches, but United will be looking for maximum points in the huge Boxing Day clash with fellow strugglers Luton Town. That one truly is a relegation six-pointer, and betting tips will be available.

Wilder and Sheffield United seem like the perfect match, and the 56-year-old has unfinished business with his beloved Blades. Can he defy the odds and keep his side in the Premier League this season?

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