Tottenham Hotspur-Sheffield United Preview
Moving into the top six spots of the Premier League table remains the most obvious goal for both Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United.
These two sides look to take a step further in that direction when they meet on Thursday night at Bramall Lane.
When looking at the Premier League table, Spurs (12-9-10) sit seventh on 45 points. Sheffield (11-11-9), meanwhile, are one point and two spots back of Tottenham. The key takeaway is that, at the moment, both are on the outside looking in at a top-six finish that likely means a spot in European competition for 2020-21.
So, the urgency to move up into that group is imperative. That said, these sides appear to be headed in the opposite direction in terms of progress since the restart.
For Spurs, they're amidst a 1-2-0 stretch within the league, with last week's 2-0 victory over West Ham United ending an 0-2-2 league stretch. Following a Tomas Soucek own goal early in the second half, Harry Kane increased Tottenham's lead with his 18th goal over all competitions to secure the needed victory.
Next up, Spurs will play their first match of "Project Restart" on the road. Of course, that will come behind closed doors without supporters in the stands.
"We are playing in an almost neutral environment," defender Serge Aurier told Tottenham Hotspur's official website. "For me, when we go and play away, it will be like playing at - and we need to keep that mentality. Without the fans, it is not the same.
"There might not be anyone watching in the stadium, but they are all watching on the TV. So, we need to give our all for them, and we need to feel how they feel at home."
Spurs last road victory came at Aston Villa on Feb. 16.
They drew Sheffield 1-1 at home on Nov. 9. Heung-min Son (16 overall goals) opened the scoring for Tottenham early in the second half, but Sheffield leveled the match on George Baldock's goal in the 78th minute.
United might settle for a draw on Thursday, considering they've dropped three straight over all competitions. They're 0-1-3 overall since coming out of the coronavirus lockdown of the Premier League.
Of concern, the Blades have totaled one goal over the last four and none in their last three within the league. They've also conceded eight goals in the three most recent contests. The latest, a devastating, last-minute 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup on Sunday which followed a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United.
"We're disappointed with our performance on the pitch at the moment," defender Chris Basham told Sheffield United's official website.
However, a victory on Thursday would put the Blades ahead of Spurs in the table, and obviously instill some needed confidence amongst the group.
"It's definitely a target to leap-frog Spurs," Basham continued. "We're always going to be hard on ourselves because of the standards we've set. But, we're a winning team and when we do lose a few games we're obviously going to be hurting ... We want to get the ball back rolling and winning games."
Updated June 30, 2020