The thing about reaching rock bottom is that there’s only one way to get up from there, at least. That’s probably what Chris Wilder would tell himself anyway, after the loss of Sheffield United once again, this time by Burnley’s fellow warriors. In the 32nd minute, Ben Mee opened the scoring and they could not gather a response despite Wilder’s charges of dominating possession.
The 1-0 loss means that from their opening 16 games, the Blades will reach 2021 with only two Premier League points. It also means that, since 1902, they have been the first top-flight to fail to win a single game in a season before New Year’s Day.
Bolton Wanderers were the only team to struggle to chalk up a win before the turn of the year. It won’t surprise you to hear that last season the Trotters ended up finishing stone dead, a fate that certainly awaits Sheffield United this term if things don’t change sharply.
Oliver Burke was also doomed to an unenviable fate by the Blades’ loss to Burnley. The Scotsman has played an amazing 25 matches since signing for West Brom in 2017 without tasting a Premier League win. This is one more match at the start of his Tottenham career than long-standing, but unexpected, record holder Gareth Bale went without a victory.
At least Burke has some hope that his tortuous wait will be brought to an end in 2021. Before they host Newcastle with an FA Cup tie at Bristol Rovers sandwiched in between, the Blades kick off the new year with a ride to Crystal Palace.
Wilder will probably be desperate to earn some valuable points from this sprint, as things get a little tricky, to say the least afterward. Rounding off Sheffield United’s January fixtures with the Blades, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City are unlikely to have much joy against either of them. Then again, maybe they will.