Premier League

Southampton-Sheffield United Preview

Whilst the early days of Sheffield United's return to the Premier League have gone relatively well, Southampton might also be finding their form within the top-flight.

The Saints look to go unbeaten in a third consecutive league match when they visit Bramall Lane to visit Sheffield on Saturday.

Southampton (1-1-2) opened the 2019-20 campaign with losses at Burnley and at home to league-leaders Liverpool. However, they have followed with a 2-0 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion and a 1-1 draw at home versus Manchester United on Aug. 31. Those results helped provide some confidence for the Saints heading into the international break.

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, was extremely proud of his side as they remained competitive with United despite playing with 10 men from the 73rd minute on.

"It's important we showed this character," Hasenhuttl told Southampton's official website. "This is part of our willingness and this is important for the future. It's a big step and a good signal."

Perhaps the only major snag coming out of the break for the Saints is the continued absence of key midfielder Nathan Redmond, who remains out due to an ankle problem. However, Moussa Djenepo, who has one of Southampton's four goals this season, forward Michael Obafemi and defender Ryan Bertrand all appear to be fit again and could feature this weekend.

"Everybody is back from their international games without injuries, so that's good news," Hasenhuttl said. "The bad news is that Nathan is still not available, but he is making progress."

Sheffield (1-2-1), meanwhile, have not looked the part of a promoted side who tends to be intimated during their early weeks in the Premier League. The Blades rallied to draw Bournemouth in their opener, then beat Crystal Palace at home the next week.

After falling 2-1 at home to a Leicester City side that's currently in the top four of the league, Sheffield bounced back to earn an impressive point with a 2-2 draw at Chelsea right before the break.

Trailing 2-0 at half-time, the Saints pulled one back on Callum Robinson's goal in the 46th minute. The Blades then benefited from Kurt Zouma's own goal that equalised the match on 89 minutes and stunned the Stamford Bridge supporters.

"I think it's been a great start for us," manager Chris Wilder told Sheffield United's official website. "I was looking for consistent performances and we're being as competitive as we can."

Those types of results are what have the Blades feeling confident coming out of the break and believing they can stay among the top-half of the Premier League table - they currently sit 10th - and that the perception of Sheffield United as more of a threat than pushover should be the norm.

"I think a lot of teams need to worry about us instead of the other way around," said midfielder John Lundstram, who has one of Sheffield's five goals on the season.

Whilst these clubs last met within the Premier League ranks in March 1994, Sheffield United won the most recent meeting with Southampton, 1-0, during League Cup play in December 2014.

Updated September 12, 2019

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