All the team news, predicted line-ups, manager quotes, stats and match officials as Swansea City kick off their Championship 2018/19 campaign with a tough trip to Bramall Lane to face a Sheffield United side (Sat, 5.30pm kick-off) that finished in 10th place last season.
The Swans are undergoing a ‘major transition’ period following their relegation from the Premier League in May as new manager Graham Potter himself put it – so our ambition this year seems to be pretty grounded compared to fellow relegated side Stoke who look very keen to instantly bounce back to the top flight.
And unlike Stoke, we’ve suffered something of a player exodus over the last few weeks. We’ve lost our top goalkeeper Lucasz Fabianski and this week defender Alfie Mawson to Fulham, as well as another 9 players and there still remains some work to do to fill the gaps that that group of departees has left behind.
Optimism was lacking amongst many Swansea City fans as recent as last week as Potter admitted that he had only made one senior signing in winger Joel Asoro, but that optimism is growing slightly following the arrivals of Bersant Celina and Barrie McKay, plus plenty of speculation linking us with Brentford midfielder Ryan Woods (£6-7m) and Manchester City’s young striker Lukas Nmecha (loan).
Optimism was also lacking amongst the supporters because of a less than inspiring Summer Tour in Germany and Austria. We failed to win a game, but it wasn’t the lack of wins but the performances that made many fans concerned, but it’s clear that Potter needs and wants to bring in a few players to add some much-needed quality to key areas of the squad.
What The Managers Are Saying
“We know we are in for a really tough game, They had a good season last year and full credit to Chris, who has organised his team very well.“They can mix it up. They have good possession but they can also play to the strikers and use the width of the pitch really well.
“They have a well-thought out and well-balanced squad so it will be a tough test for us, but we need to be ready for the challenge.” – Graham Potter
Sheffield United manager, Chris Wilder:
The Opposition – Sheffield United
The Blades have an excellent manager in Chris Wilder and I’m sure they’ll be looking to go a bit better this season and aim to challenge for a play-off place.
So far their only paid transfer in is Brentford defender John Egan, whilst they’ve also brought in Manchester City centre-back Kean Bryan and of course Liverpool and Welsh international Ben Woodburn on loan.
Attacking midfielder David Brooks was bought by Bournemouth for around £10m is their key man to leave this Summer.
Last season their major source of goals was from strikers Leon Clarke (19 goals) and Billy Sharp (13).
“We’ve made a couple of signings but our prize asset is our manager. Chris Wilder has consistently overachieved wherever he has managed. He is a Blades fan and has turned the club’s fortunes around in the last couple of years. Fans would be happy with a top-half finish, more entertaining football and a win or two over Sheffield Wednesday. Finishing above them again would be a great achievement and a play-off push is not impossible.” – The Guardian Fans’ View
Swansea Possible Line-Up
Here’s how the team is shaping up so far, still a little light in the middle of midfield, but our front line behind the main striker looks better now following our 3 Summer signings.
At left back, Martin Olsson is back in training but it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if Grimes slots in. Will Fernandez start? Possibly but he’s been linked elsewhere so Potter may decide to concentrate on playing Amat and van der Hoorn – two players he’s pretty much sure will be here for the season. Connor Roberts and Kyle Naughton battle it out again for a right-back place.
- In the modern era, Sheffield United have won all 3 of their League meetings with the Swans, keeping clean sheets in each of them.
- Swansea’s last win at Bramall Lane was a 3-0 win in the FA Cup in 2007
- Swansea’s last League win at Sheffield United was way back in 1939
- Sheffield United won 7 of their first 8 home league games last season
- Swansea’s last away league win was back in December 2017 against Watford
- Sheffield United finished 10th in the Championship last season with 69 points, 20 wins and 17 defeats, scoring 62 goals and conceding 55.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Assistants: Shaun Hudson and Nick Hopton
Fourth official: Andrew Madley
Sheffield United 2-0 Swansea City
It’s a tricky opener for the Swans, travelling to Bramall Lane to face a well established Championship side in Sheffield United who will be targeting at least another top half finish this season.
Potter is still implementing his own ideas as well as strengthening the squad and integrating new players, so it’s a tough ask to expect a win here and the Blades may well have too much for us at this early stage.