One of football's leading research groups reveals how Sheffield United can improve their chances of qualifying for Europe

Sheffield United are one of the most successful teams in the Premier League at translating leads into wins, according to a leading research body.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 12:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 4:40 pm

Academics at the CIES Football Observatory, which is based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, calculate Chris Wilder’s side have taken maximum points from 76.8 per cent of the games during which they have scored first; a figure which places them ninth on the list of England’s leading clubs and just outside the global top 300.

Coupled with the fact they were only promoted from the Championship last term, that figure is made even more impressive by the fact CIES identifies the PL’s average as 71.1 per cent; with contests over a five year period being taken into consideration.

However, the study centre’s latest report also reveals why United must continue to start matches in a positive fashion if they are to qualify for Europe next term.

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Seventh in the table before the fixture calendar was suspended due to coronavirus, Wilder’s charges rank lower than all of the 11 squads still harbouring realistic ambitions of securing entry into at least the Europa League other than Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League berth, return a figure of 77.5 per cent while Manchester United and Wolves, in fifth and sixth, are on 81.7 per cent and 79.4 per cent respectively.

Despite their impressive progress since returning to the highest level, Wilder admitted he has identfied areas where United can improve when they play their remaining 10 matches of the campaign.

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The Europa League trophy is put on display before the UEFA Europa League group stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

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Bramall Lane could be staging European football next season if Sheffield United can continue to improve: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
A man takes a picture of the UEFA Champions League trophy displayed at the UEFA headquarters on February 28, 2020 in Nyon. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)