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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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Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
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Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League
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