Sheffield United will resume their Premier League duties after the international with a trip to north London to face Tottenham on Saturday.
It has been a tough start to the season for the newly promoted Blades, who are winless from their opening four games—a draw and three losses. They are just a place above the relegation zone and went into the international off the back of a 2-2 draw with Everton.
In contrast, Ange Postecoglou has enjoyed a positive start to life as Tottenham manager, winning three and drawing one from their opening four league fixtures. Spurs thrashed Burnley 5-2 before the two-week hiatus, thanks to a fine hat-trick from skipper Son Heung-min.
On that note, let us take a look at the key battles between Tottenham and Sheffield United.
#James Maddison vs Oliver Norwood
Summer signing James Maddison has been central to Spurs’ brilliant start to the season under Postecoglou. With two goals and as many assists in four games, the creative midfielder has started on fire for Postecoglou’s side to earn himself a place in England’s XI against Ukraine last weekend.
The 26-year-old came away from the 2024 Euro qualifier unscathed and is expected to return to the club fresh and recharged for Saturday’s game against Sheffield United having been rested in the 3-1 win over Scotland.
With Yves Bissouma and Pape Sarr likely to start behind him, Maddison’s vision to spot passes and rally forward in transitions can be dangerous, which is something Oliver Norwood will be tasked to stop. Norwood is a vital cog for Paul Heckingbottom’s side, providing creativity as a deep-lying playmaker while also working tirelessly to help out in defence. He will look to stick close to Maddison and nullify his threat.
It will be interesting to see who wins this midfield battle at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
#Cameron Archer vs Cristian Romero
The Blades’ newest acquisition Cameron Archer made a phenomenal debut with a goal and an assist in the 2-2 draw with Everton before the international break, and it will be very interesting to see whether he will be able to back it up with an impressive showing in north London.
Likely to start alongside Oli McBurnie up front, Archer will look to play on the shoulder of the last defender. With his pace and dynamism, the 21-year-old will provide a challenge for Spurs defenders. Marshalling the Spurs backline will be none other than Cristian Romero, who has started the new campaign strongly.
Romero has helped Spurs keep two clean sheets from four games, and against a physical, counter-attacking Sheffield United side, the Argentinean will have to be at his best to add to that tally.
#Sheffield United centre-backs vs Son Heung-min
The Blades have failed to keep a clean sheet upon their return to the top flight and have let in seven goals from their opening four games. As a result, their three-man backline consisting of John Egan, Jack Robinson and Anel Ahmedhodzic will be under some pressure heading into the game against Spurs.
There is absolutely no doubt Spurs will attack Heckingbottom’s side from the very beginning, with skipper Son Heung-min leading the charge. Son completed a brilliant hat-trick from the No.9 role against Burnley as Richarlison lost his place in the starting XI before the international break.
The South Korean will likely lead the Spurs attack once again, and while he may not get as much space to exploit as he did against Burnley’s high line, United’s backline will certainly give him enough chances to score. So, the battle between Son and the Blades’ centre-backs will be one to keep an eye on.