This is the test Chris Wilder believes his players have passed with flying colours

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, believes his players have passed an important test of character since losing to Manchester City and Liverpool over the festive period.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 5:22 pm

Those defeats - at the Etihad Stadium and Anfield - marked the first time United had been beaten in back to back league for 17 months.

But they will enter Saturday’s match at Arsenal hoping to record a third straight win after following-up their FA Cup victory over AFC Fylde with another success; this time in the Premier League against West Ham.

“We didn’t lose two games in a row since the beginning of last season until then,” Wilder said, “And that’s something we talked about after coming back from Liverpool.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder appears frustrated during his team's defeat at Manchester City: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

“Even though the levels have gone up dramatically, even though those came against the best two teams in the division and two of the best in Europe and the world in fact, we didn’t like it and it was important the lads bounced back from that.

“They showed what they’re about and what their attitude is like, I think.”

United climbed to fifth after dispatching David Moyes’ side, before being nudged into sixth when Manchester United breezed past Norwich City 24 hours later.

Arsenal, who lost 1-0 at Bramall Lane in October, are 10th. Mikel Arteta, Wilder’s counterpart in the capital, will be without Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang due to suspension while Sead Kolasinac is also set to miss-out after being diagnosed with a muscle complaint.