Only eight newly promoted Premier League teams acquired more points than Sheffield United after 13 games.
The Blades are currently sixth in the table with 18 points. Since the rebranding of the division ahead of the 1992/93 season, that has only been bettered on eight occasions.
So how did those sides eventually end up doing in their respective campaigns? And can their history give Chris Wilder’s men heart when it comes to their own prospects in 2019/20?
How other newly promoted high flyers compare to Sheffield United
Reading, 2006/07 – 19 points, -3 goal difference
This was a momentous occasion for the Royals as it was their first ever season in the top flight. It was also the last time the Blades were in the top tier before this term.
After 13 matches they were eighth and that was where they finished after 38 fixtures as well. They were relegated the following year.
West Ham United, 2012/13 – 19 points, +1 goal difference
After one campaign in the Championship the Hammers bounced straight back via the playoffs. A good start included a point at home against newly mega-rich Manchester City to help them to eighth.
They eventually finished 10th and have been in the Premier League ever since.
Middlesbrough, 1998/99 – 19 points, +5 goal difference
Like West Ham, Boro also came straight back to the top flight after a year in the second tier. They lost only once in their opening 13 outings to reside in seventh.
They later stretched that run to 18 games, including a shock 3-2 win at Manchester United, and finished the campaign in ninth.
Newcastle United, 1993/94 – 19 points, +7 goal difference
A solid opening helped Newcastle to ninth after 13 matches – but that was actually only the start of things to come.
Under Kevin Keegan they rose to a final position of third in the table. They would later finish as runners-up to Man United in 1995/96 and 1996/97.
Other excellent new boys
Hull City, 2008/09 – 21 points, -2 goal difference
This is arguably the first example of how teams shouldn’t get too carried away following a good start. After 13 fixtures Hull were sixth in the table, including beating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Yet the Tigers would win just twice more that season and pick up only 14 points to end up just a point outside the relegation zone.
Middlesbrough, 1995/96 – 23 points, +5 goal difference
Boro clearly take to life back in the top flight well following promotion. This time they were eighth after 13 games and ended up 12th.
They were relegated the season after, but came back up at the first attempt and – as already highlighted earlier – were in fine form once again.
Blackburn Rovers, 1992/93 – 26 points, +15 goal difference
Backed by the riches of owner Jack Walker, Blackburn were excellent in the Premier League’s first campaign following its rebrand.
After 13 matches the goals of Alan Shearer had fired them to the top of the table and they would eventually finish in fourth place,
Nottingham Forest, 1994/95 – 27 points, +12 goal difference
Under manager Frank Clark, Forest won eight of their first 13 fixtures and lost only two. At that point they were third in the table and would hold that position until the end of the season.
Unfortunately for them it wasn’t a sign of a return to the glory days of the 1970s. Two years later they were relegated and despite a one-season cameo return in 1998/99, have now not played in the top flight for over 20 years.