A lot has changed since Sheffield United hosted Wolves in their opening match of the new Premier League season.
The Blades lost 2-0 that game, with their opponents scoring both of their goals within the opening six minutes at Bramall Lane.
They have suffered defeat three more times since then and most recently drew 1-1 with Fulham. It’s a run of form that leaves them 19th in the table with a solitary point.
Wolverhampton Wanderers, in contrast, won 1-0 at Leeds United on Monday night. The result moved them up to sixth in the table with nine points.
Yet despite 13 places and eight points separating them, United can take heart from the performances of the West Midlands team.
Why Wolves can give Blades confidence in the Premier League
Chris Wilder’s side are the lowest scorers in the division so far this term, having netted only twice.
Yet Wolves have scored just three more than United, with two of their five goals coming during that opening day victory in South Yorkshire.
They have since beaten Fulham and then Leeds by a goal to nil. Although they are outside of the Champions League qualification places on goal difference alone, only the bottom three have scored fewer than them.
The Blades can take hope from this.
Their success in 2019/20 – which ended with a ninth place finish – was built on similar form. Only three teams conceded fewer than Wilder’s men in the top flight last term, but only three scored fewer as well.
Despite their place in the relegation zone this time around, not much has changed. Only Aston Villa and Arsenal have let in fewer than United’s seven goals this season.
It could legitimately be argued that their 1-0 losses to Villa and Leeds could easily have gone the other way. It genuinely isn’t a leap to think that, in only slightly different circumstances, the Blades could be on a par with Wolves.
More goals are needed, for sure, and blind optimism helps no one. But the club’s issues aren’t perhaps quite as major as some think.