Blades vs Burnley: Lots of similarities but potential for a clash of styles

Pre-match report: Blades vs Burnley, 2 Nov 2019

This is all set to be an interesting match, where the teams’ numbers come out similar in some respects but styles clash somewhat

The Blades go into this on 13 points, Burnley with 12. Sheffield United are +1 goal difference, Burnley -1.

Digging deeper, Burnley lead on chance creation with an expected goals rating of 14.1, while United are on 11.9.

team Burnley Sheffield Utd
P 10 10
F 14 9
A 15 8
xG 14.1 11.9
xGA 12.2 12.0
shots 114 97
onTarget 0.395 0.464
shotsAgst 145 116
passesPG 355 424
passSuccPG 0.656 0.724
ppdaPG 8.41 10.11
deepCPG 16.9 24.0
touchesInBoxPG 18.5 18.5
avgLinePG 48.6 48.3
opp3rd 0.254 0.291
directnessPG 0.602 0.547

In terms of quality and volume of chances allowed the two teams fare similarly, with less than one separating their expected goals against (xGA). Burnley, however, have allowed 145 shots against to United’s 116.

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Burnley are probably THE archtypal Premier League counter-attacking team and two stats show that clearly.

The Clarets’ deep completions (touches in the final 20m of the pitch) per game are at 16.9 (11th in PL) while the Blades are at 24 (2nd in PL).

Burnley are the msot direct team in the Prem. Their directness (pass distance forward / total pass distance) measures about 60% to United’s 55% (4th in the league). And it’s probably worth noting that for the Blades, direct play is not necessarily part of plan A, while for Burnley it is.

You can see the distance of passes into the final third in the passmaps for Burnley’s games away at Villa and Brighton (both draws).

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Burnley invariably play a 4-4-2. They will be very happy to defend and let us pass the ball around and try for the counter. As a team that likes to press high up the pitch when possible, the Blades will be wary of this.

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Up front for Burnley, Ashley Barnes and Chris Woods are established threats, as can be seen in the player xG chart.

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