Saturday, the 9th of April 2022, will see a big clash as the sixth-placed Sheffield United take on the second-placed Bournemouth in the EFL Championship. The reverse fixture saw the Cherries win 2-1 back in October 2021, with goals from Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing. Coming into this game, Sheffield United won 1-0 against QPR, and Bournemouth suffered a 0-2 defeat at West Brom.
Sheffield United come into this encounter after winning their previous game 1-0 at home against QPR. Oliver Norwood scored the only goal of the game. This victory now means Sheffield United have a record of 18 wins, 10 draws, and 12 losses. xG predicted the Blades to score 57 goals until this point, but in reality, Sheffield United have scored only 53 goals.
This slight underperformance in the attack can be seen in the above shot map. The Blades have missed a few big chances in and around the opposition’s six-yard box. Had they taken those chances, they could have had a better record. Sheffield United’s top two goalscorers, Billy Sharp and Morgan Gibbs-White, have outperformed their xG output this season by scoring 14 and nine goals, respectively.
Oliver Norwood is Sheffield United’s most successful threat creator this season from open play as well as set-pieces. In second place is Morgan Gibbs-White. In addition to being the top goalscorer for the team, Billy Sharp is also the leader in assists this season.
Bournemouth suffered a 0-2 loss to West Brom away from home, coming into this game. This loss gives Bournemouth a record of 21 wins, nine draws, and eight losses at the time of writing. The Cherries’ goal difference is +27 (62 goals scored and 35 goals conceded). Bournemouth have actually overperformed at the back this season, as they were expected to concede 41 goals. For stretches, they also held the best defensive record in the league, but that now belongs to Fulham.
Shown in the above chart are the performances of Bournemouth relative to the rest of the league. Bournemouth rank number one in shots on target%, attacking actions success%, and interceptions padj (possession adjusted) per 90. Despite scoring the second-most goals, the Cherries do not rank in the top quintile for goals per game and xG per game.
This match is one to keep an eye on in this weekend’s football. Sheffield United will look to close the gap between themselves and the rest of the top six, whereas Bournemouth will want to extend the gap. Both teams would want to win this crucial encounter.