Sheffield United v Crystal Palace: Predicted teams, Wilf Zaha the dangerman, referee watch and history lesson ahead of Blades' Premier League home opener against Eagles

Sheffield United kick off their home Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

Thursday, 15th August 2019, 5:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th August 2019, 5:28 pm
Npower Championship, 20/11/10. Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace: Utd's Daniel Bogdanovic scores the 3rd Blades goal

Here, we look at the predicted teams, opposition one to watch, history lesson and referee for the game.

One to watch: Wilf Zaha.

Despite handing in a transfer request and being linked with a move to Everton, Zaha will line up against United on Sunday in a Palace shirt – but teammate Christian Benteke has backed him to put the saga behind him: "I think that this chapter of his transfer is behind him; he is a professional, he didn't argue at all.”

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Referee: David Coote

The Nottinghamshire-based whistler will take charge of Sunday’s game, his first on-field appointment of 2019/20. He refereed United’s 1-0 victory away at Leeds United last season, sending off Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla for bringing down Billy Sharp. He handed out 107 cautions in 29 games last term, an average of 3.7 per game, and showed six red cards.

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History lesson

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Sunday's game is the first meeting between United and Palace at Bramall Lane since 2010, when United triumphed 3-2 after an eventful end to the game. Daniel Bodganovic scored United’s winner from the penalty spot in the 87th minute, two minutes after Ched Evans equalised, before the Maltese striker was sent off in the last minute.

Of the 53 recorded meetings between the sides, their record is very even – Palace with 21 wins, and 20 for the Blades, with 12 draws. In 1997, Palace beat United in the Division One play-off final.

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Predicted teams

Blades: Henderson, Baldock, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Stevens, Fleck, Norwood, L.Freeman, Sharp, Robinson.

Palace: Guaita, Ward, Cahill, Kelly, van Aanholt, Milivojevic, McCarthy, Townsend, McArthur, Zaha, Ayew.