Sheffield United have outperformed all expectations, but this week’s game against Fulham is a different test entirely.
Fulham are the in-form team in the Championship with 26 points in their last ten games as well as being unbeaten in their last 13 league games. The last meeting between the two teams was a thrilling 5-4 victory for Fulham back in November.
This will be a key indicator to see whether Chris Wilder has learned from that match as well as whether they can tame such an explosive, free-scoring side. Fulham do have a surge of momentum behind them as well as complete confidence in their abilities which is helping inspire their good form, but the Blades will have to deal with teams of this level of ability if they reach the play-offs.
Fulham will dominate possession with their short passing, expansive possession style, so United will have to be patient due to chances being few and far between. They will also have to be focused because one defensive mistake or lapse of concentration could allow the Cottagers the opening they crave.
Ryan Sessegnon, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tom Cairney provide a range of threats which they will have to nullify if they want to come away with a result.
Therefore, this game serves as a test of what level they are currently at as well as how their season is likely to end.
A loss in this game would concede the advantage to the other teams around them fighting for the play-off spots such as Bristol City and Middlesbrough. United currently have a game in hand on them both due to their fixture being cancelled at the weekend.
Only four of their remaining 12 games are against sides in the bottom half, so they have plenty of tough matches ahead. A result in this one could give them the confidence to start a run of form.
They need to have some consistency because they have only won three of their last six games. Continuing the season in such a haphazard manner means that they would be at risk of giving points to their rivals in the six-pointers they have remaining against Middlesbrough, Preston and Bristol City.
Blades fans… do you agree? Let us know below!