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Preview: Sheffield United vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Premier League game between Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, including team news and predicted lineups.

Wolverhampton Wanderers visit Sheffield United on Wednesday night looking to hit back from a potentially-crucial defeat to Arsenal, a result which has left the club battling to keep hold of sixth position.

After their 1-1 draw at Burnley on Sunday afternoon, United sit four points adrift of Wolves with five matches remaining.


Match preview

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo pictured on June 27, 2020© Reuters

Heading into their clash with Arsenal at the weekend, Wolves were being tipped as genuine contenders to qualify for next season's Champions League having recorded three successive wins in the top flight.

However, a deserved 2-0 defeat at home to the Gunners has left Nuno Espirito Santo's side looking over their shoulders as they bid to keep hold of sixth position, which would secure qualification for the Europa League group stages.

With the teams above them all winning over the weekend, that is the more realistic target for the West Midlands outfit, who must find a way to respond to producing one of their worst performances of the season.

The setback ended their eight-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League, while more attention will be paid to just five goals being scored in their last six matches in all competitions.

Nevertheless, Nuno will be confident that his players can raise their levels again for opponents who line up with a similar strategy and possess an equally hard-working mindset.

While Sheffield United have taken some time to find their rhythm since the resumption, four points from games against Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley have gotten the club back on track.

Although Champions League football is now arguably out of the equation, they know that victory at Bramall Lane on Wednesday evening will move them to within one point of their next opponents.

With some tough fixtures to come during the run-in, Chris Wilder will feel that picking up points against direct rivals is crucial if they are to make further headway up the standings.

However, three of the last four goals which they have conceded have come at the end of halves, something which will alert Wolves, who have made a habit of closing matches on the front foot.

Sheffield United Premier League form: WDLLWD
Sheffield United form (all competitions): WWLWWL

Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League form: WDWWWL


Team News

Adama Traore in action for Wolves on December 27, 2019© Reuters

After his ineffective performance against Arsenal, Adama Traore could drop down to the substitutes' bench.

With Nuno likely to keep with a five-man midfield, the introduction of Diogo Jota may represent the sole alteration.

Sheffield United boss Wilder will almost certainly welcome back Jack O'Connell, who came through 35 minutes as a second-half replacement at Burnley.

With John Lundstram and John Fleck unavailable due to injury, Wilder must decide between Ben Osborn and Jack Rodwell for the final place in midfield.

Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Basham, Egan, O'Connell; Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Osborn, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Jota, Jimenez


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We say: Sheffield United 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Given what is at stake in a game between two teams who use the same defensive-minded strategy, everything points to this being a low-scoring affair. Although the home side will likely show the greater ambition, Wolves could do enough to earn a share of the spoils.



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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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