Newly-promoted Sheffield United will make a trip to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday to face Bournemouth, which will be their first Premier League outing in twelve years.
The Blades finished second in the Championship standings last season and were, therefore, handed an automatic promotion to the English top flight.
Sheffield United were shrewd in the transfer market, signing Oliver McBurnie, Ben Osborn, Lys Mousset, Callum Robinson, Luke Freeman, Phil Jagielka and Ravel Morrison.
Following their promotion, they have broken their transfer record four times to beef up their ranks, and in Chris Wilder, they have a manager who has been impressive and sure-footed in his dealings.
Despite their recent acquisitions, Wilder is expected to rely heavily on the players who helped them in getting promoted and avoiding the relegation zone will be their primary target.
Chris Wilder has no injury concerns to deal with and instead will have to deal with a pleasant headache during his team selection.
Predicted Sheffield United lineup vs. Bournemouth (3-4-1-2)
Having rejoined on loan from Manchester United, Henderson is likely to get the nod to start between the sticks. The custodian is expected to be busy this weekend as the Cherries will look to start the season on the front foot and will fancy themselves against the Blades.
We are unlikely to see much change in the defence, at least in the early part of the season.
John Egan is expected to start at the heart of the 3-man backline while he might be flanked by the duo of Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham. The former missed the latter part of the pre-season but has been declared fit by the manager. There is a slight chance that Phil Jagielka might get a look in but it is unlikely to be from the get-go.
Wilder is likely to operate with George Baldock and Enda Stevens as the wing-backs. These two will play an important role and have to complement their attacking instincts with diligent defensive work as well.
In central midfield, the duo of John Fleck and Oliver Norwood might get the nod to start once again. The latter’s creativity from midfield will be a boon for the newcomers and his form over the course of the season is likely to have an impact on Sheffield’s chances.
Even though Wilder could opt for the more defensively astute John Lundstram as an added cover, there is a chance Luke Freeman starts as the no.10. He can be an important asset for Wilder and will look to put pressure on the Bournemouth defence with his crisp passing and charismatic creativity in the final third.
The manager has an array of options upfront with last season’s Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick having to fend off competition from the trio of Oli McBurnie, Callum Robinson and Lys Mousset.
Callum Robinson has been impressive for them till now and is expected to get a start. Alongside him, though we feel in the long run Oli McBurnie is going to feature but owing to a lack of match fitness, McGoldrick might get the nod over him.