Just how bad has Sheffield United’s season been?

It’s 186 days since Sheffield United last won a league game

Seventeen games played. No wins. Two points. Twelve points from safety.

It’s been an awful few months for Sheffield United, who have made the longest winless start to a Premier League season, beating QPR’s 16-game run at the start of the 2012-13 campaign.

They’ve got some way to go to match Derby County’s record run of 32 games in the Premier League without a win – but just how bad has this campaign been?

And are there any signs that the Blades can complete a remarkable turnaround and stay up?

How many points then, if you’re counting?

The easiest way to measure how good or bad a team is over the course of the season is, of course, by looking at how many points they picked up. That’s literally how the league table works.

Table showing worst six teams to complete a 38-game Premier League season. Derby County got 11 points in 2008

On this metric – and a few more – the Derby County team of 2007-08 are the worst side to compete in the Premier League. If you can call it competing. Their one win all season is a record low.

Eleven points is, quite frankly, rubbish. But what will worry Blades fans is the fact they need to find three wins from somewhere just to match that figure. And they haven’t won one game yet.

Sunderland showed impressive consistency to get relegated, come back up, and be even worse. They won seven games combined in the 2002-03 and 2005-06 season. Their top scorers the second time around managed three league goals each. Ouch.

Finish!

So far Chris Wilder’s side have scored just eight times in the Premier League. That’s as many as Callum Wilson has netted for Newcastle.

Should they keep up that rate of 0.47 goals per game they could threaten the record for fewest goals scored, held by that wretched Derby side of 2008.

The Rams scored 20 times that year, a rate of 0.52 goals per game, with Kenny Miller top-scoring with four. So far this season David McGoldrick – also on four – is the only Blade to score more than once in the league.

Goals Season Club Top scorer Final position
20 2007-08 Derby County Kenny Miller (4) 20th
21 2002-03 Sunderland Kevin Phillips (6) 20th
22 2018-19 Huddersfield Karlan Grant (4) 20th
26 2019-20 Norwich Teemu Pukki (11) 20th
26 2005-06 Sunderland Four players (3) 20th

No need for a clean sheet bonus

Here’s a record Wilder’s Blades are not likely to get near – whatever happens.

Despite their poor first half of the season United haven’t been on the end of many batterings – they’ve conceded 29 goals at the rate of 1.7 per game. Keep that up and they are on track to ship 64 goals this season.

That’s nowhere near the record of centurions Swindon, the only side to need triple figures in the table. They, and Ipswich, did play 42 games instead of 38 in those seasons though.

Goals Season Club Final position
100 1993-94 Swindon Town 22nd
93 1994-95 Ipswich Town 22nd
89 2007-08 Derby County 20th
85 2013-14 Fulham 19th
82 1997-98 Barnsley 19th
Burnley (2009-10) and Wolves (2011-12) also conceded 82 goals

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Nobody enjoys the hours, the days, following a league defeat. But losing can become as much of a habit as winning and this is one record that could be taken by this year’s Blades.

Three teams have racked up 29 (TWENTY-NINE) defeats in a single campaign, although Ipswich do get that caveat of playing a 42-game season.

United have lost 15 times already this season and have 21 matches still to play.

Defeats Season Club Final position
29 2007-08 Derby County 20th
29 1994-95 Ipswich Town 22nd
29 2005-06 Sunderland 20th
28 2018-19 Huddersfield Town 20th
27 2019-20 Norwich 20th
Aston Villa (2015-16) and Sunderland (2002-03) also lost 27 games

Pulis doesn’t need shots

Wilder’s current side are averaging 2.82 shots on target per game at the moment – the seventh-worst record in the Premier League era.

You would think that the adage ‘if you don’t shoot you don’t score’ was a logical one – but nobody told Tony Pulis and his ham and eggersexternal-link.

His Stoke side twice survived – comfortably – with the fewest shots on target per game in Premier League history. Remarkable.

Big Sam isn’t faring so well though – his inherited West Brom side of this year are having even fewer attempts on goal than Wilder’s Blades.

Can either side do a Stoke and stay up?

Shots Season Club Final position
2.47 2011-12 Stoke City 14th
2.63 2008-09 Stoke City 12th
2.63 2016-17 Middlesbrough 19th
2.71 2020-21 West Brom 19th (at moment)
2.71 2017-18 Swansea City 18th
Opta has collected this data since the 2003-04 season

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