It will be a memorable day for United manager Chris Wilder, as he manages a team in the Premier League for the first time in his career. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth will be eager to spoil the day though and will see it as a good opportunity to get three points on the board to kick off their own campaign
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 10 August|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (BST)|
|Where Is It Played?||Dean Court|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BBC Sport Final Score (UK) – FuboTV – Free Trial (US)|
Eddie Howe is missing a few players for the opening weekend. One major blow for the Cherries is the ankle injury creative midfielder David Brooks picked up during pre-season. He is set for 12 weeks out and will miss Saturday’s encounter. Dan Gosling, Lewis Cook, Simon Francis, new signing Lloyd Kelly and Junior Stanislas will also be absent.
New arrival Jack Stacey will be pushing to start in defence, with Callum Wilson and Josh King expected to lead the attack. Winger Harry Wilson will also be hopeful of making his debut after signing from Liverpool on loan.
It has been a busy summer for United since they gained promotion back in May. The club have broken their transfer record a remarkable four times, the latest player to break the record being former Swansea striker Oli McBurnie, who signed for a fee of £17.5m. It is expected the 23-year-old will start alongside captain Billy Sharp on Saturday.
Luke Freeman, one of the Championship’s best attacking midfielders over the past four seasons, joined for £4m earlier in the summer and will be hoping to make his debut alongside McBurnie. Forward Lys Mousset, who left Bournemouth for United this summer, is likely to start the game on the bench.
|Bournemouth||Travers; Stacey, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Harry Wilson, Lerma, Lerma, Fraser; King; Callum Wilson.|
|Sheffield United||Henderson; Baldock, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Stevens; Fleck, Norwood, Freeman; McBurnie, Sharp.|
United boast an impressive record against Bournemouth, having won ten and lost just one from the 15 times the two sides have met. The last clash was back in 2013 in a League One game, when Sheffield United won away 1-0.The highest scoring encounter between the sides came earlier in that season, when United fired five past Bournemouth in a 5-3 victory. It will be the first time the sides have played against each other in the Premier League.
Bournemouth had a mix of results in pre-season. They recorded victories over Lyon, Brentford and Wimbledon but also suffered two defeats, notably losing a terrific encounter 4-3 against Lazio.
United defeated a host of lower league English sides as Wilder got his squad up to speed, with one defeat coming against Reims last Saturday in the club’s final friendly.
Here’s how the two sides have performed in their last five fixtures.
|Bournemouth 3-0 Lyon (3/8)||Reims 3-1 Sheffield United (3/8)|
|Bournemouth 3-4 Lazio (2/8)||Barnsley 1-4 Sheffield United (27/7)|
|Brentford 1-3 Bournemouth (27/7)||Chesterfield 0-5 Sheffield United (23/7)|
|West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Bournemouth (26/7)||Northampton Town 0-2 Sheffield United (20/7)|
|Girona 2-1 Bournemouth (20/7)||Burton Albion 2-1 Sheffield United (16/7)|
Bournemouth should have the firepower up front to cause the Blades all sorts of problems on their Premier League return. Whilst United had the best defence in the Championship last season, facing the likes of Wilson and King is an entirely different proposition altogether.
A return to the Premier League will ensure Wilder’s men will be enthusiastic and energetic and certainly up for the battle on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if proven Championship strikers Sharp and McBurnie can deliver in the top flight, but they both might take time to adjust and may have limited service this weekend.