Former Arsenal striker and respected pundit, Alan Smith, believes Sheffield United’s players are already resigned to their fate this season.
The Blades are rock bottom of the Premier League table and sit some 14 points behind 17th, meaning a great escape would indeed prove to be the greatest of escapes.
United travel to Fulham this evening simply knowing a win is all that can come out of the game if there is to be any glimmer of hope in their survival push.
However, speaking his column for the Evening Standard, Smith believes United are already down, and that could prove the difference in tonight’s fixture.
“At least hope remains (for Fulham), which is more than can be said for Sheffield United, who after their 3-0 defeat at West Ham on Monday remain stranded at the bottom of the table, 14 points adrift,” Smith wrote.
“Under those circumstances, it is difficult for players to keep plugging away with the same intensity. That could prove the difference here. One team still believe, the other look resigned to their fate.”
United know winning tonight could open the door for a few other victories, with some big homes games still to come.
However, injuries seem to be curtailing the Blades’ season, too. John Egan, the latest to be ruled out for an extended period of time.
Alan Smith has a point, but Sheffield United will keep battling away
No realistic Sheffield United fan will tell you that they truly see the Blades surviving. It’s a mammoth task and one which would go down in history if Chris Wilder’s men can somehow pull it off.
And while Smith has a point, this United team will continue to battle on.
There is no way Chris Wilder will let effort levels drop, nor will those players who are left fit want to go down with a whimper.
I’d expect a reaction tonight from Wilder’s men, especially given the nature of the defeat at West Ham earlier in the week.