Match Preview: Sheffield United vs Swindon Town

Form Guide…

6th placed Swindon have gone four League One games without a victory. Town have lost the two previous games 0-1 at Doncaster Rovers on Easter Monday and 0-2 versus MK Dons in midweek. Town are currently 19th in the form guide with one win, two draws and three defeats.

On their travels, Swindon are 6th in the away form guide following those two defeats with three wins and three defeats in six games.

Sheffield United are 5th and two points ahead of Swindon. The Blades were defeated 0-2 at home to Crawley Town in midweek, their first defeat after three games unbeaten which was enough for Danny Wilson to be given his marching orders. United are 11th in the League One form guide with one win, three draws and two defeats.

United are without a win as hosts in three games and sit 22nd in the form guide with one win, three draws and two defeats. Head-to-Head…

In all League, FA Cup and Football League competitions, Town have faced Sheffield United on 28 occasions, winning 9, drawing 8 and suffering 11 defeats, scoring 38 goals and conceding 42.

At Bramall Lane, Swindon have won 2, drawn 2 and defeated 9 times, scoring 14 and conceding 26.

Town haven’t beaten the Blades in their previous seven meetings.

Swindon beat Sheffield United in their first two trips to South Yorkshire –  a 3-2 win in the FA Cup in January 1908 and a 2-1 win in Division Two in February 1970. That means Town have gone 11 games without a victory at Bramall Lane.

Town’s last visit was a 2-2 draw in May 2000, Swindon’s last match played in the second tier of English Football, which was also Colin Todd’s first game in-charge before his slapdash summer spending spree…

Sheffield United have never failed to score against Swindon at Bramall Lane. The Blades have scored 2 or more goals in 11 of the 13 meetings in Sheffield.

A memorable game for Swindon against the Blades was our first game in the Premier League, which ended in defeat…

The Stats…

Defence Attack
Blades (Hosts) r STFC (Away) r Blades (Hosts) r STFC (Away) r
Shots Against Per Game 9.5 9 8.7 1 Shots For Per Game 12.2 10 12 1
% Shots Against on Target 44.7% 5 53.8% 18 % Shots For on Target 49.6% 12 59% 3
% Save Rate 77.7% 10 80.8% 3 % Strike Rate 11.1% 15 10.8% 17
Corners Against Per Game 4.7 12 5 5 Corners Won Per Game 6.1 9 7.3 1
Possession Conceded 45% 3 47.9% 3 Possession Won 55% 3 52.1% 3
R = rank: The ranking shown for each measure indicates the efficiency of the sides against the rest of the division as either hosts or the away side | 1 equals the best and 24 is the worst |

Despite controlling the game by winning an average of 55% possession as hosts, Sheffield United have yet to turn this dominance into an advantage.

Relative to the rest of the division and the amount of possession won, the Blades are inefficient in both defensive and attacking areas as hosts. This weakness is slightly more apparent in the attacking measures where the number of chances, and ultimately their strike rate, hasn’t matched the time on the ball. For any home fan this would be frustrating to watch, particular as the Blades have gone four games without scoring at Bramall Lane.

So Swindon shouldn’t necessarily worry about allowing the Blades time to dictate the game as the swift counter attack and a fluid system – which should suit Kevin MacDonald well – should be the method to get the most out of the match.

However, a counter needs strikers capable of converting limited chances and the problem in recent weeks has been a lack of goals for Town, resulting in the away strike rate dropping to 10.8% (ranked 17th).

SCORED 1-15 16-30 31-45 45+ 46-60 61-75 76-90 90+
Blades (as hosts) 6 4 2 0 6 4 2 3
STFC (away) 2 4 6 0 5 3 5 2

The Blades haven’t scored more than once in their previous six games. In that period, United have scored only twice, including failing to score in their previous four home games.

Two goals for Swindon towards the end of the win at Yeovil has bumped up the tally late-on, but the periods either side of half time remain when the attack has been at it’s most potent – if only we could score at the moment…

CONCEDED 1-15 16-30 31-45 45+ 46-60 61-75 76-90 90+
Blades (as hosts) 3 1 3 0 4 2 5 1
STFC (away) 4 5 2 0 1 2 4 1

United have been strongest in defence in the first half at Bramall Lane. Prior to conceding twice against Crawley Town, the Blades went four home games without conceding.

Meanwhile Swindon travel and have typically conceded within the opening 30 minutes. However in Town’s three previous defeats at Brentford, Doncaster and MK Dons the goals have been conceded in the second half.

My prediction…

I really think Town can get something out of this game at Sheffield United following the departure of Danny Wilson. A win is essential as, looking over the shoulder at Tranmere, Walsall and MK Dons, these play-off chasers are looking strong to fight for the opportunity at promotion.

Sheffield United 0 Swindon Town 1

Come on You Reds!

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