Welcome to the first of a two-part preview of Sheffield United. In the first article I will look at goal keepers, defense and the FPL communities darling John Lundstram. Part two will focus on the midfield and forwards.
First before we get started it’s great to be back in the Premier League after 12 long years away. All Blades fans have Chris Wilder to thank for marching the Blades from the mediocracy of league 1 to the Premier League in just 3 seasons on a shoestring budget. I can’t wait for the world to see overlapping center backs ?. Anyway, let’s get into FPL assets:
Sheffield United GK and Defender Depth Chart:
Dean Henderson – 4.5M
Dean Henderson finally signed back on loan from Man Utd this week, it was touch and go for a while. Dean was a huge reason why the Blades gained promotion last season, only conceding 38 goals in 46 games and keeping a league best 21 clean sheets. The England U21 international has a lot of confidence, charisma and abundance of talent. Like all young goalkeepers he made a few mistakes along the way a missed time back pass against Leeds and a crazy 10 mins at the end of the Villa game where he was arguably at fault for 2 of the goals but he bounced right back and it didn’t affect his confidence.
Simon Moore – 4.5M
Simon is a great backup GK, he played a huge part in our promotion season from League 1, he didn’t play any minutes last season due to Dean Henderson being so good. I don’t understand why FPL priced him at 4.5M, it’s a shame he isn’t 4M so you could pair him up with Dean Henderson.
FPL Verdict: The lack of 4.5M GKs has been a concern for FPL managers, so its great that Dean Henderson comes in at 4.5M. One concern that FPL managers should have when selecting Dean for their FPL teams, he is ineligible to play against Manchester United in GW13 and GW31. Since we currently don’t have a 4M starting GK and Simon Moore is 4.5M instead of 4M you will have to have another 4.5M GK to pair with Dean or transfer him out for GW13 and GW 31.
Enda Stevens LWB – 5M
Enda Stevens is arguably the best defensive option for FPL from the promoted teams and unfortunately the FPL folks agree, pricing him has the only 5M defender from the promoted teams. Enda had an amazing season and was vital part of the Blades promotion. He played in 45 games, he scored 4 goals and created 6 assists and kept 20 clean sheets. He would have had a staggering 185 FPL points last season not including bonus points, which put him head and shoulders above all the other defenders in the championship last season. 5M is a very difficult price for defenders especially with everyone trying to save every 0.5M where they can, so Stevens will likely be priced too high for most managers this season.
Jack O’Connell LCB – 4.5M
If you listened to my #30in30 Pod with Suj and James you will know Jack O’Connell is my favorite Blades player. His overlapping down the wing and averaging an unbelievable 11km a game as a CB last season. He made 41 appearances, scoring 3 goals, creating 3 assists and kept 17 clean sheets. I believe Jack will play for England one day and wouldn’t be surprised if he is the breakout star next season. Jack is the best FPL value for the Blades in my opinion, he is a threat from set pieces and could get assists from open play as he overlaps Enda Stevens putting crosses in at the byline.
John Egan CB – 4.5M
Egan is the central defender of the 3 and is the one that stays back which limits his FPL value. He is a threat from set pieces but only scored one goal last season, he missed a handful of great chances, hopefully he can convert a few more this season. I don’t see Egan as an FPL option with O’Connell and Basham the same price and they have a much higher attacking threat.
Chris Basham RCB – 4.5M
Chris Basham scored 4 goals, created 1 assist in 39 appearances keeping 17 clean sheets last season. He is the RCB and overlaps Baldock down the right wing, he runs like a dinosaur on roller skates, you aren’t quite sure how is goes past defenders but he does. Basham can also play defensive CM on occasions, he has been a vital part of the team since Widler took over. He did have 11 yellow cards last season which is concerning, Jagielka will be competing for starts at RCB with Basham which is another concern and I believe O’Connell to be the better option at the same price.
Phil Jagielka RCB/CB – 4.5M
Jagielka is back with the Blades after 12 years at Everton, Jags last played with the Blades when we were last in the Premier League. He is now 37 years old and coming to the end of his career, his experience at this level will be vital to the Blades. I can see Jagielka pushing for starts at RCB with Basham and he can also cover for Egan at CB. Jagielka doesn’t have any FPL value, since he doesn’t currently have a starting spot on the team.
George Baldock RWB– 4.5M & Kieran Freeman RWB– 4.5M
George Baldock is currently the 1st choice RWB for the Blades but we do have a battle for RWB with Kieran Freeman who is having a very strong pre reason and looks fitter than ever. Baldock’s the better defender but Freeman is better going forward. I don’t see either being FPL options this season, also wouldn’t be surprised if Blades bring in another player to compete for RWB.
Richard Stearman – 4M
Stearman is the backup CB for John Egan but I could see Jagielka playing CB in front of Stearman. No FPL value here.
John Lundstram – 4M
The man the myth the legend that is John Lundstram, he has been talked about a lot in the FPL community over the last two weeks due to getting a ton of minutes in preseason in midfield. Lundstram only played 407 minutes last season, making 5 starts early in the season and only 5 substitute appearances in the second half of the season. Wilder went with Basham in midfield in front of Lundstram on many occasions last season and we have already signed Luke Freeman and Ben Osborn in center midfield and Wilder is also looking for another defensive center midfielder before the transfer deadline. I know the FPL community are desperate for a 4M starting defender for their bench but unfortunately John Lundstram will be a late game defensive replacement at best this season for the Blades. Sorry to burst the John Lundstram bubble but FPL managers will need to look elsewhere for bench fodders.
Enda Stevens is the best FPL assister from the Blades defense but the 5M price tag might be too much for FPL managers, so with that said Jack O’Connell is my pick from the Blades defense at 4.5M. He is the first name on the team sheet when fit, he has attacking threat from set pieces and open play as he overlaps Stevens down the wing. I really like O’Connell and Diop (West Ham) rotation at 4.5m a piece, they have favorable fixtures between them and it’s definitely something I am considering to start the season. I would not expect much from Lundstram if you decide he’s going to be your £4M bench fodder