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My verdict on every Premier League team after Gameweek 25

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Liverpool and Arsenal did their job, scoring four and five away from home respectively, but it was Manchester City who unexpectedly slipped up and thus left Liverpool top of the Premier League. Their injury issues will irk Jurgen Klopp, but the strength in depth might just be there to cover it now Mohamed Salah is back.

At the bottom, things go from bad to worse for Burnley and Sheffield United, both thrashed 5-0 at home. Nottingham Forest got a priceless – and comprehensive – win over West Ham to put David Moyes in greater trouble.

Result of the weekend goes to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Gary O’Neil, however, who won at Tottenham Hotspur to go within goal difference of the top half. Is he the leading manager of the year?

Scroll down for my verdict on every team (listed in table order)…

Gameweek 25 results

Saturday 17th February

Sunday 18th February

  • Sheff Utd 0-5 Brighton
  • Luton 1-2 Man Utd


The injuries, evidently, are not ideal. No Alisson, no Trent Alexander-Arnold, no Dominik Szoboszlai and no Mohamed Salah from the start. Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones and Darwin Nunez were all forced off before the second half had begun. Jota’s injury looks particularly troublesome, given that he could not even walk from the pitch. That may well eventually hurt Liverpool, given the lack of rotation now possible in the Europa League.

But how can you not focus on the positives when they are laid out so clearly and resplendent? Liverpool scored four or more for the eighth time since the last day of November and three or more for the fourth time in five matches. If setbacks forced changes, they merely served to emphasise the range of options in the final third. Salah, Jota, Nunez, Gakpo and Diaz all either scored, assisted or did both.

Salah’s return, ahead of likely schedule when he hobbled off thousands of miles from home, is a source of huge relief not least because he retains this extraordinary ability to go from 0-60 within minutes of taking to the field again.

But most pleasing of all was how Liverpool are able to problem solve in real time; that is the benefit of a long-term manager who gives his players the creative intelligence to work things out on the job. Jones came off, so immediately it was Alexis Mac Allister who replicated those driving runs with and without the ball. Jota, so often the extra man and latent threat, left the game and immediately Liverpool began focusing their attacks through Salah. Nunez, a centre-forward, was removed and so Liverpool began to increase the fluidity of the front three, a blur of shifting positions and counter attacks.

You should miss Alexander-Arnold, but Conor Bradley has apparently been made in an modern right-back laboratory somewhere deep within Anfield’s walls. If there is a better back-up goalkeeper in Europe than Caoimhin Kelleher then they should be first choice somewhere else.

That is the strength in depth Liverpool now possess. You can take off two forwards and still have Gakpo, Salah and Diaz as a front three and barely need Harvey Elliott until you’re killing time. You can lose Jones and almost forget that Szoboszlai, the jewel of this midfield, is missing. Liverpool have a lead at the top that Manchester City’s game in hand cannot extinguish. They face Luton and Nottingham Forest – and might win a trophy too – before that showdown at Anfield on 10 March.


Five or more goals away from home for the second time in a week and proof that Arsenal are still fighting for this title (copyright: Keegan, K.). For all the nonsense of those over-celebration accusations, they seem to have created a determination to make hay against weaker opponents and prove people wrong. That can be powerful.

Arsenal have been utterly ruthless against the worst clubs in the Premier League, as further evidenced by Saturday’s rout. They have played 11 games against the teams currently 13th or lower in the table, won them all and scored at a rate of three goals per game. Nothing new there.

The reason for this: Martin Odegaard. In these games against these opponents, Odegaard has been supreme. His league goal contributions this season may be down in general (11 so far this season vs 22 in the whole of last season), but when he is able to find space, Odegaard draws both opposition defensive midfielders towards him. The alternative, as Burnley tried for a while, is to leave him one vs one and watch on as he controls the match himself.

That double marking creates the space out wide for Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, who both have one vs one duels of their own (and we know that both – Saka in particular – are far too good not to exploit that). On one wing, Wilson Odobert stayed high and left Saka far too much space. On the other, Aaron Ramsey worked back repeatedly but that simply allowed Kai Havertz, playing on the left of the midfield three, to push on too without fear of leaving space. Martinelli still had only Lorenz Assignon to beat and he wasn’t up to it.

Arsenal predominantly built down the right, where Saka and Odegaard combined. That dragged Burnley players over to create the space for Leandro Trossard and Martinelli in the box – that pair had 21 touches of the ball in the box, compared to five for Saka. Arsenal were unstoppable and, you suspect, they will continue to be against overrun, weaker teams.

Man City

Pep Guardiola rightly pointed out that a man who scored 11 goals in 11 years over his senior career was not about to start offering advice to Erling Haaland on how to finish chances, but this is becoming a nagging issue and that’s something I thought I’d write and you thought you would read.

This was the worst attacking performance of Haaland’s City career. He had nine shots without scoring, his highest total in a scoreless game since moving to England. Haaland alone had a xG total of 1.71, also his highest without scoring in a City shirt. He aimed for corners and missed those corners. Each time we waited for an inevitability that never arrived.

And this has indeed become a pattern. Last season, Harry Kane and Haaland were the two most over-performing finishers in the Premier League (hardly a surprise, given you’d argue that they were the two best finishers in world football at the time) with +8.5 over xG and +7.6 respectively.

This season, Haaland is -2.2 for his xG. This is clearly swayed by Saturday’s underperformance (it accounts for three-quarters of the shortfall and it was only one game), but it’s still a marked difference and one that, in games such as these, is the difference between winning and not.

In fact, in a list of goals-expected goals, Haaland ranks bottom of every City player this season. Again, that is swayed by him taking so many shots in high-value areas (Haaland’s 73 shots have a total xG of 18.2; Phil Foden’s 64 shots have a total xG of 5.8), but it’s a complete mirror of last season when Haaland topped the same list.

Rather than his finishing, right now it’s the attacking efficiency of Foden and Bernardo Silva that is fuelling the title challenge. And yes, to be perfectly clear: Haaland will start scoring goals by the bucketful soon, no doubt.

Aston Villa

Let’s all take a moment to appreciate Pau Torres (Photo: Getty)

A sticky run of one win in six games in all competitions (and that against Sheffield United) is over. It also puts into context the general magnificence of Unai Emery’s tenure to date. Saturday took Emery to 50 league games in charge and to exactly 30 wins. Mikel Arteta’s total win percentage as Arsenal manager is 58.9 per cent and Jurgen Klopp’s is 60.9 per cent at Liverpool. It’s a far smaller sample size, but Emery fits snugly between them.

For all the headlines earned by Ollie Watkins scoring his 12th and 13th league goals of the season, now only two behind his highest ever in a Premier League campaign, I wanted to talk about Pau Torres. Villa’s slight slump recently is very easy to explain: Torres wasn’t there. He missed 10 games in all competitions with an ankle injury. Villa won three of those games and lost four.

Now look at Villa’s record with Torres in the team. Going back as far as the 3-0 defeat at Anfield in September, the central defender has started 14 league games. Villa have won 11 of those, drawn two and only lost one (the 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest) during which very few players performed adequately.

Back in the team to face Fulham, Torres was superb again. It’s not just about his composure defensively (although that clearly makes a difference with Tyrone Mings injured). It’s how he steps up with the ball into midfield and always picks the right pass and steps up without it to engage with opponents in possession to win the ball. Nobody makes better decisions in this Aston Villa team.


The worst performance of the season, epitomised by a lack of energy in midfield that was surely due to the workloads and air miles of Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma over the last month. The same is probably true of Son Heung-min, who failed to have a shot in a home league start for the first time since May 2021.

Two things really jumped out:

  • 1) James Maddison has not hit the ground running since his return from injury. He has one goal contribution in five games since coming back into the side, but Spurs are still looking to use him as much as possible. When Maddison sees a lot of the ball but is shut down effectively, the whole Spurs attack tends to grind to a halt. Son drops too deep, Richarlison is isolated and Spurs tend to push midfield and full-backs too high to try and pin teams back, leaving them exposed to the counter.
  • 2) Ange Postecgolou’s team has lurched from being really fast starters to slow starters, and it’s beginning to cost them. In the six home league games directly before the FA Cup exit against Manchester City, Tottenham scored in the ninth minute against Bournemouth, the ninth minute against Everton, were 2-0 up at half-time against Newcastle, scored in the 11th minute against West Ham, scored in the 22nd minute against Villa and scored in the sixth minute against Chelsea.

Since then, the complete opposite. In their last five home games in all competitions, Spurs’ half-time scores have been: 0-0, 0-0, 0-1, 0-1, 0-1. They rectified those problems against Brentford and Brighton with second-half comebacks. Against Wolves, they finally paid the price.

Man Utd

There are still times (and by “times” I mean more than 80 per cent of the match) when it is impossible to see how this Manchester United project under Erik ten Hag is sustainable when there’s so little control. At Luton, it was epitomised by Bruno Fernandes taking a short corner with a minute of stoppage time remaining to waste time – all good so far – and then taking a shot from a stupid position that allowed Luton to break and win a corner (from which they hit the crossbar).

This would be foolish if it were a one-off. But this is the same team that also were caught with about eight players up the pitch against Wolves when defending a late lead and promptly conceded. United’s game management isn’t bad – it’s non-existent. It says something when Kobbie Mainoo, essentially still a child, is the one who looks most capable of taking a deep breath and controlling the tempo of the team.

None of this matters right now because Rasmus Hojlund has come good. He did what everybody else seemed unable to do against Luton, finishing a one-on-one chance, and then scored a wonderful second to give United the lead that they (just about) held onto. It is his goals and his goals alone that have propelled United into a top-for race that most supporters can’t quite believe is still a thing.

Those goals (and we’re not including the two league assists over the same period) have been worth 10 points to United since Christmas alone. Having turned 21 a fortnight ago, we are now seeing the obvious talent flourish into a rich vein of form. That late winner against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, and the raw emotion it produced, is the fuel for his fire. He’s quick, he makes the right runs and he is increasingly physical.


This has been the best week of Simon Adingra’s life. Last Sunday, Adingra provided the assist for Sebastien Haller’s winning goal in the Africa Cup of Nations final. This Sunday, a surprising starter given his commitments back home, Adingra scored the fourth and fifth goals as Brighton thumped Sheffield United. That is the enthusiasm of youth. Fatigue means nothing when you’re on top of the world.

We’ve been desperate to see Adingra in a Brighton shirt all season and, since mid-November, it seems that Roberto De Zerbi is ready to unleash him. At 22, and with full seasons at Nordsjaelland in Denmark and Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium under his belt, Adingra is a fully-formed direct winger who delights in taking on full-backs either on their outside or inside. Sheffield United could not cope. They won’t be alone.

The surprise is that Adingra has contributed more with league goals (six) than assists (one) so far, but like Kaoru Mitoma that largely reflects Brighton’s ability to stretch a game wide and then switch play to leave a winger running into the box to meet the ball. If De Zerbi can build around these two as his wingers with Pascal Gross central and in the form of his life, Brighton are set up whether the manager stays beyond the summer or not. A reminder: those three players cost them a combined £10m in transfer fees.


Newcastle are the Premier League’s entertainers. If you aren’t going to follow up your top-four finish with Champions League qualification, you might as well have some fun. I’m just not sure Newcastle fans see it that way.

In their last six games, Eddie Howe’s team have conceded none, one, two, three and four goals. Defend like this at the Emirates next weekend and conceding five goals to complete the sorry set is a distinct possibility.

Newcastle have injury problems – we know this. But they are no excuse for the current defensive underperformance: 19 goals allowed in seven games. On Saturday, Lewis Miley was their best player in central midfield. Howe also picked his first-choice back four: Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman. The issue is not absent defenders but an absence of any protection for the best ones he has.

Is this all down to Burn? Erm… yes? Nobody wants to pick on a player unnecessarily, but this is the Premier League not a school sports day. In three successive games, three opposition managers have targeted Burn with fast, direct wide players: Chiedozie Ogbene, Anthony Elanga, Antoine Semenyo.

Picking Burn at Forest to let him make amends is one thing (Elanga outpaced Burn to score the first equaliser). Doing it again and watching Semenyo score is another entirely.

Newcastle avoided defeat thanks to Matt Ritchie’s late, late goal, but they had two left-backs on the bench. Again, Howe waited until the damage had been done before making a change. Tino Livramento came on for Burn two minutes after Semenyo scored.

West Ham

Is Kalvin Phillips the first player to join a club on loan to try and make a major tournament squad that he would likely have been part of if he had stayed put, and promptly play his way out of that major tournament squad? A second start for West Ham and a first career red card. One booking was for a stupid push over nothing. The second was slightly soft, but completely dim given he had been shown a yellow card less than three minutes earlier.

It was just about the only time Phillips was noticed in the match. The idea is that Alvarez plays the passes into James Ward-Prowse, out wide and over the top to Antonio while Phillips wins back the ball, looking after Morgan Gibbs-White in this instance. So how come Ward-Prowse and Alvarez made seven tackles between them and Phillips just one?

This isn’t really his fault. Phillips looks patently short of match fitness, hardly a surprise given that he has barely played any club football. But now David Moyes is left in a difficult position. Do you keep picking Phillips, expect him to be rusty but eventually play him into form? Or does he now become a backup to the starting XI and continue to look rusty between now and the Euros?


The story of Chelsea’s season, and somehow that’s almost a compliment. For all Mauricio Pochettino’s struggles to get a hold of this weird, thrashing beast of a squad, Chelsea’s response away from home to the desperate 4-1 defeat at Anfield has been encouraging: win at Villa, win at Palace, draw at Manchester City.

Unfortunately, two habits refuse to die hard. The first is that Chelsea, whether in or out of possession, are never more than 30 seconds from something going so spectacularly wrong (players out of position, caught on the ball or making brainless decisions) that their opponents get a clear sight of goal. Chelsea could easily have won the game and yet were grateful that Erling Haaland misfired.

And so to the second habit: those damn missed chances when Chelsea are in the ascendancy. In terms of expected goals per game this season, Chelsea rank fifth behind Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle. In terms of expected goals per shot (excluding penalties), they rank second in the division. In terms of expected goals vs actual goals (a measurement of their finishing), they sit 18th.

The two worst offenders this season are Brentford and Everton. Brentford were without their best striker until January because of a ban and also lost Bryan Mbeumo and Kevin Schade to injury. Everton have Dominic Calvert-Lewin (unfit and then out of form) and signed Youssef Chermiti and Beto, two very raw Portuguese strikers.

Chelsea have signed Christopher Nkunku (OK, he’s been mostly injured), Nicolas Jackson, Mykhailo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling and Noni Madueke since summer 2022. Sterling is an exception because he’s scored six times, matched up to his xG and been in and out of the team. Jackson has the second worst record of any Premier League player for xG-goals and Enzo Fernandes ranks fourth.

Chelsea are not deeply frustrating because nothing works. They are deeply frustrating because the things that work lurch between competence and incompetence so regularly, and because the best bits of every performance tend to be overshadowed by the flaws. Which is probably exactly what you expect when you buy a whole new team and lots of them are still learning.


Another wonderful win for Gary O’Neil earned through the composed brilliance of their two central midfielders. Wolves supporters would have been entirely forgiven for panicking about the loss of the Ruben Neves-Joao Moutinho axis, and they did cycle through a few different options and midfield shapes, but O’Neil has settled upon Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes and they are a wonderful double act.

Against Tottenham, the fear was that they might be a little overrun by the energy of Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr. Instead, Spurs’ midfielders looked leggy after the Africa Cup of Nations and Wolves exploited that superbly.

Gomes was the star. He made six tackles, constantly breaking up play in midfield, sparking counter attacks and also trebled his goals total for Wolves. The first was a free header, inexplicably allowed to stand and jump from a corner. The second showed the energy to surge forward to join Pedro Neto on the counter. Gomes commits fouls and must be a complete nuisance to play against, but that is exactly how O’Neil wants it.

If Gomes does the tackling, Lemina is the one who looks to cut off passes and on Saturday stayed close to the entirely ineffective Maddison. Lemina is a selfless midfielder, less all-action than his midfield colleague, but successful teams need both. The most surprising Premier League season of any team continues.


Rodrigo Muniz is one of the breakout stars of the season (Photo: Getty)

One of those days where the gap in squad depth reinforces just how well Fulham have done under Marco Silva since promotion. This Fulham team has no right on paper to be utterly comfortable in mid-table, 10 points above the bottom three and seven points from the top eight. Take out Calvin Bassey and Alex Iwobi from the starting XI and you lose something significant. Fulham were far better after both (and Harry Wilson) came on.

The positive spin comes from the form of Rodrigo Muniz, who few would have pegged as the breakout star of this Fulham season. Look at the only other three Fulham players with more than three league goals this season: Raul Jimenez, 31 (and injured); Bobby Dorcova-Reid, 32; Willian, 35.

Muniz is clearly not the finished article. He is a fairly one-dimensional striker, a poacher rather than someone who can link play like Aleksandar Mitrovic. Muniz has created only eight chances in 608 league minutes this season. He specialises in penalty-box movement and one-touch finishes and that creates pressure on his chance conversion.

On Saturday, Muniz fell short by that measure – him vs Watkins was the story of the game. Muniz had eight shots and scored once; Watkins was ruthless. But then, at 22, Fulham supporters will be reassured that he is getting into those positions at all. Only once all last season did Mitrovic manage more than eight shots in a match.

Fulham have badly missed a striker who manages to get into the right place at the right time – it has held them back all season. If they can adapt their play to move on from Jimenez’s presence, getting wide players cutting and drifting in to support a striker suddenly in goalscoring form, it can give the end of their season a warm glow.


A 2-2 draw at Newcastle is clearly an excellent result, but Andoni Iraola will be getting frustrated at Bournemoth’s inability to turn fine performances into fine results. They have led in three of their last four league games and drawn all three. We’ve mentioned it before, but the next stage of this project is working out how to manage games that they are leading.

Saturday was actually the perfect example, because it fits the pattern. Bournemouth have drawn three games 2-2 in the league this season. In all three games they have conceded an injury-time equaliser: Bryan Mbeumo for Brentford (away), Ollie Watkins for Aston Villa (home), Matt Ritchie for Newcastle (away). At the start of each match, a point would have been viewed as a decent return. At the end of each, they were cursing two dropped points.

Over the season as a whole, the same thing. Bournemouth have taken 1.58 points per game in league matches where they have scored the first goal this season, the third worst record in the Premier League. Had Iraola’s team even matched the league median by that statistic (2.3 points per game), that would have yielded nine extra points. That’s the difference between 13th (itself a more than acceptable position) and seventh. Nobody is moaning; instead it’s incredibly exciting: this could have been even better.


Brentford have always allowed a lot of shots – it’s something that Thomas Frank accepts as a by-product of their style: allow opponents to have a high number of low-value shots and use counter attacks to create high-value chances of their own.

Last season, only Bournemouth, Everton and Leicester allowed more shots and yet only Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle conceded fewer goals. Brentford allowed 91 more shots than Liverpool did and conceded fewer times.

But over the course of this season, that strategy has been exposed at the Gtech, where Brentford have kept one clean sheet all season (3-0 vs Burnley in October). Three teams have conceded more than 20 home goals this season: Burnley and Sheffield United, with 32 and 31, and Brentford with 27.

The reason: the attempted plan is failing. Brentford have actually allowed fewer shots per game than last season (14.7 vs 14.0), but the quality of those chances has shifted – the expected goals per shot faced has risen by almost 20 per cent.

I don’t think that this is on Frank. Instead, I think it’s just the result of an injury crisis that has robbed Brentford of their best defenders. Rico Henry has started five matches. Josh Dasilva missed 20 games with a hamstring injury and now faces knee surgery. Ethan Pinnock, the only defender to start more than 18 league games this season, is now out for a while. Aaron Hickey has had a long-term hamstring problem. Nathan Collins came in last summer and has made mistakes, but has constantly been forced to play in a changed defence.

Add in the change of shape from a back four to three with wing-backs and you have a scenario of almost constant change. In 24 league games so far this season, Brentford have played with 19 different combinations of goalkeeper and defenders.

Nott’m Forest

There was a moment during the first half that Nottingham Forest supporters hope will be a turning point. Their team had been on top, but they had been on top before and not scored. After one chance, centre-back Felipe played a horribly short back pass and Michail Antonio was through on goal.

The Trent End held its breath and, as Murillo sprinted back to block Antonio’s path and tackled him cleanly, rose to give him a standing ovation. They have watched a team that seems to get punished for every mistake for too long. This felt significant.

This also ranked amongst Forest’s best performances since promotion, alongside victories over Liverpool and Arsenal last season and Aston Villa in November. They were progressive and controlling with the ball and used the full-backs to overload the wings where Callum Hudson-Odoi in particular repeatedly created moments of danger. They battled gamely without the ball and Morgan Gibbs-White found space despite being outnumbered by Edson Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips. At right-back, Neco Williams was faultless against Mohammed Kudus.

This must be a platform for Forest now, and it won’t be easy. Their next three fixtures are Aston Villa (a), Liverpool (h) and Brighton (a) – even a single point would be a surprise. They may well be better cheering on the opponents of Luton and Everton and backing themselves to creep up to 38-40 points after that difficult run. That then leaves them crossing their fingers about the potential points deduction.

But Nuno Espirito Santo needed this. His relief was palpable after the game. Forest have been comparatively free-scoring during his brief reign, but you cannot keep conceding three goals a game and hope to stay up. Perhaps redemption lies in Brazilians young and old, that partnership of Felipe and Murillo who will combine to offer steel without the ball (the former) and ball-playing, progressive passes with it (Murillo). A first clean sheet since 5 November could have come at a better time: a month or so ago. At least it has come at all.

Crystal Palace

Play Everton on Monday evening.


Luton’s defeats to their relegation rivals could come back to haunt them (Photo: Getty)

There is lots to like about Luton and they can stay up. Their ability to stay in matches against the biggest teams is a mini-miracle. They have played Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle at home and have yet to lose by more than a single goal.

But I think Rob Edwards will be determined not to make this a hard luck story. Luton’s performances at Kenilworth Road against the big teams have indeed been typically excellent, but they have also failed to perform at the same ground against worse opposition. They have lost at home to both Burnley and Sheffield United, which is just about unacceptable for any team hoping to stay up. That really might cost them (unless points deductions really help them out).

Between now and the end of the season, Luton play Fulham, Bournemouth, Brentford, Forest and Everton at Kenilworth Road. Edwards somehow needs to bottle the guts and gusto of those fixtures against the biggest clubs in the league and repeat them against the rest. It’s one thing to overachieve as emphatic underdogs, but the Sheffield United performance and result last week was dismal. These are the games where their fate will be decided.


Play Crystal Palace on Monday evening.


On 23 December, Burnley produced their best performance of this league season when they won 2-0 at Fulham. Vincent Kompany and his players, speaking post-match, remarked that this had to be the start of something meaningful. The response: two points from eight games in all competitions and the only points coming at home to Luton and home to Fulham.

Supporters can take being outclassed and outplayed by high-class opponents, as happened on Saturday They cannot take, at this stage of the season, a struggling team offering no purpose, no fight in midfield and no resistance in defence.

They gave the ball away repeatedly and showed no alternative strategy to that. They were wide open defensively when they must have prepared to be solid.

Burnley’s defence of Lorenz Assignon, Maxime Esteve, Dara O’Shea and Hannes Delcroix looked like they didn’t know each other because they didn’t know each other and looked distinctly Championship because, sorry, they are distinctly Championship. Three of those four have started 10 Premier League games this season between them, either new arrivals or fringe squad players. Pick regens, get banged.

Was this a plan from Kompany to stop Arsenal, or was this simply the last roll of a sorry dice from a manager who has run out of answers? Last season, it seemed that Burnley had an identity. Now I think you could ask most Premier league aficionados to name their defence and they wouldn’t get more than two.

Burnley do still have to play six of the bottom eight, but even further points deductions would leave them surely needing 20 more points. Six wins and two draws? If it happens, it’s one of the greatest miracles in Premier League history.

Sheffield United

Anything Burnley can do, Sheffield United can match. Not only have they conceded five goals in each of their last three home games, the first time ever a top-flight side has managed that, Sheffield United have also got the worst goals-conceded-per-home game record at this stage of a top-flight season since 1936.

There’s just nothing going right at all. Chris Wilder’s return was supposed to generate some pride and fight, but other than the brief flicker at Luton last week both have been entirely absent. Players seem to exist in a state of semi-haze, slow to react when danger arises and then incapable of working on any semblance of attacking strategy when they finally get it. They have the second-lowest average possession in Premier League history but lack counter-attacking outlets or the defensive structure to soak up pressure.

And, if all that wasn’t bad enough, they have individuals who make the most dim-witted decisions to put their team in even worse trouble. I don’t know what was worse, Mason Holgate’s lunge on Mitoma or him having the audacity to act astonished when he was initially booked. So were we, but not in the way Holgate would have us believe.

Just a quick fyi: Sheffield United’s next home game is against Arsenal. Bring your abaci along to Bramall Lane.

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