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McGoldrick form and Berge value among genuine positives for Sheffield United at halfway stage

Sheffield United are at the halfway stage of the 2020/21 season.

After Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Plymouth Argyle, they will move into the second half of the Premier League campaign.

The first 19 games haven’t gone well for the Blades. A solitary win against Newcastle United is the one bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season to date.

They have just five points and are rock bottom of the table. They’re on course for the worst points tally in Premier League history – currently standing at 11, which Derby County accrued in 2007/08.

It should therefore be unsurprising that positives have been at a premium for Chris Wilder’s side.

However, that is not to say that they are non-existent.

3 genuine positives for Sheffield United

David McGoldrick’s form

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Scoring goals has been a problem for the Blades this term. Only Burnley have netted fewer than their 10 strikes and they’ve played two fewer games.

The next lowest scorers are Fulham and West Bromwich Albion on 15 each.

Yet McGoldrick has already beaten his own personal tally from 2019/20. The 33-year-old has six goals in all competitions and not only that, still remains vital in linking the midfield and attack.

While those around him falter, McGoldrick is the bright spark going forwards.

John Egan remains a rock

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In truth, scoring wasn’t the Blades’ strong point last campaign either as they achieved their highest league finish since 1992.

Instead it was their defensive solidity that led to a ninth place finish in their first Premier League season in 12 years.

Only the eventual top three conceded fewer than them in 2019/20. The issue is, that hasn’t continued this term.

They’ve kept one clean sheet – in the aforementioned victory over Newcastle – and only West Brom and Crystal Palace have let in more than their 33 goals.

But while injuries, selection changes and a lack of form whirls around him, Egan is still a hugely reliable figure at the back.

The Republic of Ireland international is someone the club will struggle to keep if they are relegated.

Sander Berge is a valuable asset

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The other player almost certain to leave if, as expected, the Blades go down is Berge.

The midfielder became the club’s record signing when he joined from Genk for £22m (BBC Sport) a year ago – although Rhian Brewster has since exceeded that.

It took Berge some time to settle at Bramall Lane, but while most of his teammates have suffered a dip in form when football returned after the first lockdown, the 22-year-old has shown his true talent.

Which is why an injury keeping him out until March is such a blow.

The Blades should at least make their money back if Berge does leave this summer, but in reality are likely to make a profit.

In an ideal world they’ll stay up and the Norway international will remain too. But if that doesn’t happen, Berge is at least a valuable asset.

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