On 7th May 2022, the fifth-placed Sheffield United take on champions Fulham in the final matchday of the 2021-22 EFL Championship. The previous meeting between these two teams saw Sheffield United triumph 1-0 at Craven Cottage back in December 2021. Coming into this game, Sheffield United won away at QPR 3-1, and Fulham thrashed Luton Town 7-0.
Sheffield United come into this important game having won away at QPR 3-1. Iliman Ndiaye, Jack Robinson and Conor Hourihane got on the scoresheet for the Blades. This win leaves Sheffield United with a record of 20 wins, 12 draws and 13 losses to their name. This clash is crucial for the Blades as a win over the Cottagers will see them seal the promotion playoff spot. Draw or lose, and their fate could be out of their hands. According to xG, Sheffield United were expected to net 66 goals so far this season, but they have scored seven fewer.
Oliver Norwood is Sheffield United’s most successful threat creator in this season’s EFL Championship from open play as well as set-pieces. However, it is Morgan Gibbs-White who leads the Blades in assists provided this season (as per FBREF). This season, most of Sheffield United’s threat has come from both the wings, more so from the right.
Seen in the above visual is Sheffield United’s shot map in this season’s EFL Championship, excluding the penalties. They have missed quite a few big chances which had an xG value of 0.5 or greater this season that may have cost them wins or saved them from defeats. The Blades may have missed at least three or four chances from inside the opposition’s six-yard box. Had they taken those, they could have probably sealed their playoff spot by now.
Fulham come into this match having crushed Luton Town 7-0 at the Craven Cottage. As a result, the Cottagers have clinched the title on the penultimate matchday. They have also scored a record 106 goals this season, an astonishing 11 more than expected, as seen above in the xG metric. Having sealed the EFL Championship crown, Fulham may look at resting key players and trying out fringe players for this game.
Above are the attacking performances of Fulham in this season’s EFL Championship. This has probably been one of the greatest seasons for any team in the second division of English Football. Fulham rank first in the following categories: Goals scored, xG, successful dribbles %, total shots, and touches in the opposition box. They also rank third in shots on target% and total dribbles.
This match is the weekend’s ‘game to watch’ in the EFL Championship. With automatic promotion places and relegation decided, the play-off battle will be the most anticipated thing to watch out for.