On Saturday 2nd April 2022, 15th placed Stoke City will host fifth-placed Sheffield United at the Bet365 stadium in the EFL Championship. In the reverse fixture back in October 2021, Sheffield United won 2-1, with goals from Lys Mousset and David McGoldrick. Coming into this game, Stoke won 2-0 against Millwall, and Sheffield United also won 2-0 against Barnsley.
Stoke City come into this game having won 2-0 at home against Millwall with a goal from Jacob Brown and a George Saville own goal. This win leaves Stoke with a record of 13 wins, 10 draws, and 15 losses. Stoke City have conceded 44 goals this season, but xGA predicted them to let in 46 goals – a slight overperformance.
Seen above is the shot map of Stoke from open play. This season, Stoke have rarely taken shots from inside the opposition’s six-yard box. Just outside the six-yard box, there have been more orange and red circles than green circles, meaning Stoke have missed big chances quite frequently.
Mario Vrancic is Stoke City’s most successful threat creator this season. Most of his threat comes from set-pieces, particularly the corners. From open play, it is Tommy Smith who creates the most threat. Both these players have four assists this season, the join-most for the team.
Sheffield United won their last game 2-0 against Barnsley at home with Sander Berge and Morgan Gibbs-White being the goalscorers. This result means Sheffield United now have a record of 17 wins, 10 draws, and 11 losses. Sheffield United have scored 52 goals so far this season, but xG predicted them to net 56 times this season, meaning they have somewhat underachieved going forward.
Sheffield United may have underachieved in the xG metric, but in general, they have performed higher than average in all categories. They have been ranked below the 60th percentile in only one category – goals per 90. They are also the best team in the league in the category of passes into the final third per 90, as shown by the 100th percentile against the category.
This clash is between a team in the mid-table and a team that is hopeful of competing in the promotion play-offs. Sheffield United are the favorites for the game, but Stoke have the potential to upset them as they will have the backing of the home crowd. Stoke will want to win this match to solidify their mid-table status, and Sheffield United will want to keep the pressure on the other promotion rivals by winning this game.