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Premier League Specials: Sheffield United 4/1 to concede more than 100 goals

After Sheffield United’s drubbing at the hands of Aston Villa at the weekend, we’ve priced the Blades up at 4/1 to concede more than 100 goals this season. 

bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “We saw signs of green shoots when Chris Wilder walked back through the door at the beginning of December, but that first half showing against Villa was alarming.

“Swindon conceded 100 goals in a 42-game season but we’re 4/1 about this struggling side doing it over 38 as they head to face a Luton side that have scored four in each of their last two matches.”

Football

Most goals conceded in a Premier League season

TeamGoals againstGoals against per game
Swindon Town (93/94)1002.38
Ipswich Town (94/95)932.24
Derby County (07/08)892.34
Fulham (13/14)852.21
Norwich City (21/22)842.21
Barnsley (97/98)822.16
Burnley (09/10)822.16
Wolves (11/12)822.16

Swindon Town have conceded the most goals in a Premier League season and remain the only side to have cleared 100. Ipswich Town are next on the list, but in terms of a 38-game season, Derby unsurprisingly top the list, shipping 89 in their 07/08 season.

The first few weeks of the campaign left many wondering whether Luton or Sheffield United – or both – could actually break Derby County’s record tally of 11 points. Luton quickly eased those concerns and even Sheffield United are almost certain to surpass 11 having won two and drawn four of their first 23 games.

But the Blades are edging towards another unwanted piece of history. Having conceded 59 goals in their first 23 games at a rate of 2.57 per game (the most in Premier League history), Sheffield United are on course to ship 97.5 goals by the season’s end – breaking Derby’s record of goals conceded in a 38-game season.

It’s hard to take many positives out of a 5-0 home defeat, but the Blades weren’t quite as comprehensively outplayed as the scoreline suggested (Villa’s xG was only 2.2, to United’s 1.4), and conceding from three out of their opponents’ first four shots on target isn’t likely to happen all too often.

But if nothing else, it’s a hugely damaging defeat in terms of morale, especially after twice leading at Crystal Palace only to leave empty-handed.

Despite the pasting, United’s numbers are certainly an improvement from where they were under Paul Heckingbottom: 

 Under HeckingbottomUnder Wilder
Shots8.510
Shots on Target2.433.11
xG0.81.13
xGA2.171.61
Shots Against18.613.4
Shots on Target Against7.54.78

The Villa defeat was a big setback, especially when it looked like the real thrashings – conceding five to Arsenal and Burnley and eight to Newcastle – were behind them. Indeed, the Blades picked up their second win of the season shortly after Wilder’s arrival, beating Brentford 1-0, and looked well placed to take all three points off Villa before Christmas, only to see Cameron Archer’s late goal cancelled out by Nicolo Zaniolo’s 97th-minute equaliser.

Four days later, they were again left wondering how they’d failed to win, as two late own goals saw Luton take all three points from Bramall Lane.

But teams who stay up aren’t the ones contemplating ‘what ifs’, and United are dropping far too many points from winning positions.

It means that Blades fans may soon be quietly resigning themselves to another Championship campaign – if they aren’t already – and are 1/33 to be relegated; but even if they are to go down, they’ll at least be hoping to make a decent fist of their remaining fixtures, starting with Luton at the weekend, and they’ll be very keen to avoid breaking the Premier League record for goals conceded.

Swindon Town are the only team to ship 100 goals in a campaign, with Ipswich next on the list at 93, but both of those were in 42-game seasons.

In 38-game seasons, Derby top the list on 89 goals conceded – a tally the Blades are on course to break.

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