The stats since returning to action as part of ‘Project Restart’ make for worrying reading for Sheffield United.
The Blades have struggled in the Premier League, drawing one and losing two of their matches since coming back.
Their latest result was a 3-0 drubbing at Manchester United, with an Anthony Martial hat-trick helping the hosts cruise to victory at Old Trafford.
It was a repeat of the scoreline Chris Wilder’s side suffered at Newcastle United on Sunday. So far, their only point came at Aston Villa in the first game back after drawing 0-0.
However, none of the performances have been good. This is especially disappointing as, before the break due to the coronavirus outbreak, there was talk of the Blades qualifying for Europe.
That remains a possibility, with them still eighth in the table. Yet they will have to improve greatly in their last seven league fixtures.
“My attitude to it, regardless of who we’re playing, is that we’re competitors and we’re not competing at the moment,” Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield after the Man United defeat. “That’s worrying and disappointing.
“We look physically and mentally tired.”
The worrying stats for Sheffield United
After such an impressive start in their first top flight season in 12 years, it’s difficult for Blades fans not to be disappointed with what they’re now seeing.
However, it is important to have some perspective. Relegation was already mathematically avoided before the break – an outstanding achievement for a newly promoted side.
After picking up a point at Villa, their 44 points from 29 matches was the best total for a newly promoted team since Birmingham City in 2009/10.
That being said, there are some other statistics that are not quite as positive.
The Blades have recorded just three shots on target in their first three games back (one in each). Their attacking threat is minimal and only five teams have now scored fewer than them this season.
They have now failed to find the back of the net in three consecutive league games for the first time since David Weir was manager in September 2013.
Prior to the break they had been able to rely on a solid defence. But even that is now failing them.
The 3-0 loss at Newcastle was their heaviest defeat since losing to Middlesbrough by the same scoreline in August 2018.
Following the Man United result, it is the first time they have conceded three goals in consecutive league games since Wilder took charge. The last time it occurred was under Nigel Adkins in January 2016.
Overall this campaign will of course be an extremely positive one. However, it is in danger of fizzling out.