An open top bus tour and civic reception brought a close to the Blades 2018/19 season in the Championship on Tuesday evening.
Had you asked supporters prior to the season what they expected, you’d have had a mixed response, but not many would have said they expected automatic promotion. Popular predictions were that we’d finish mid-table and/or challenge for a Play Off spot – see a S24SU forum poll from early August on expectations.
Reflecting on a fantastic season that will live long in the memory, we thought we’d take a quick look at how supporters have rated the players throughout the season and a few key stats.
As a caveat, please note that these results are from the ratings made by Blades supporters and crowdsourced over the season rather than necessarily the views of the author or site.
Let’s get the negative out of the way early…
Worst game of the season
Home – Barnet – 3.61 / 10
The Blades were dumped out of the cup by a Barnet side who played well, but were also aided by a dismal performance from a much changed XI. Concerning supporters who began to worry about our strength in depth, the loss was perhaps a blessing in disguise as it stopped the upcoming visit to Norwich being moved and meant we didn’t have any fixture congestion caused by further rounds.
A truly woeful performance.
Could tell within the first 5 minutes we were going to struggle as there did seem to be an arrogance in our attitude which suggested that we’d turned up so would win.
A lesson learnt all round I hope, for those who don’t or won’t learn, you know where the door is. S24SU forum member – norfolkblade
Away – Middlesbrough – 3.99 / 10
The fixture list gave the Blades a tough first away game with a visit to Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough, as per the previous season. The result was the same, though this season, it ended up being the Blades biggest loss with United conceding three without reply.
Out battled. Out thought. Out paced. Out jumped. Egan in the team is not working. The defence looks a shambles. Bring Stearman back and slowly introduce Egan into the team in training. Drop Clarke and Lundstram and give Sharp and Duffy a chance. Sort the system out or start inventing a new one.
S24SU forum member – kop_blade9
Best game of the season
Home – Ipswich Town – 9.34 / 10
Effectively all but mathematically confirming the Blades automatic promotion to the Premier League, this match was always going to attract some positive ratings. Quite possibly on the generous side due to the situation, the next closest home game was the 4-1 victory over Aston Villa in September with a rating of 8.77 out of 10. The Ipswich victory was a comfortable yet unspectacular one against a side playing with the freedom of no pressure, having already been relegated.
Routine 2-0 against the poorest team in the league. Jack gets MOM for his goal and the overlapping run for the assist. Amongst a few others, he deserves a crack at the premier league.
S24SU forum member – blade67
Away – Hull City – 8.93 / 10
Seen before the game as a tough test at a key point of the season, we travelled to Hull in expectations of a difficult fixture that we could win, but that we wouldn’t find easy. In stark contrast to that opinion, the Blades got out of the traps early and were 3-0 up and cruising by half time. At the time, the Tigers were on the longest unbeaten run of any side in the Championship (12 matches) and hadn’t lost at home since November 2018. The travelling supporters went through a full repertoire in the sunshine as they enjoyed an effective and powerful performance.
Holy shit, what a game, the team had no nerves, they just went out and played and enjoyed it, what a team!
S24SU forum member – Grappler
Individual Performance of the season
David McGoldrick – 9.89 / 10 – Hull City away
In rich form, Didzy inspired a confident and powerful performance and got things under way with two goals within the first twenty minutes. With four attempts, McGoldrick scored two goals and contributed heavily to a confident all round performance. With a hefty 9.89 out of 10, this rating is the highest average for a player in any fixture since the implementation of our player ratings system in 2013 and was his third S24SU Man of The Match award in a row.
Player of the season
John Egan – 7.80 / 10
‘If you are going to have the highest average rating of the squad in a promotion season, you’ve got to have a song‘. John Egan has been quietly consistent since joining the Blades (other than Player of the Season Awards do onwards!) and offers a strong and effective base to allow the overlapping centre backs and wing backs to get up the pitch. United conceded the joint least number of goals over the season (tied on 41 with Middlesbrough), helping loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson win the golden glove award with 21 clean sheets. Speaking to the club’s official site, Henderson passed credit to his teammates:
These clean sheets don’t come around without my teammates in front of me working hard to close people down, so obviously I owe a lot to them.
With only two S24SU Man of the Match awards to his name this season in 45 starts, Egan has not always been the main focus or made headlines, which speaks volumes for the consistent and no-nonsense dependability – if he goes un-noticed in his position, he’s done a cracking job.
In a squad which has an average rating over the season of 7.23, Egan weighed in at 7.80 himself, a whole 0.10 in front of the next closest in Dean Henderson.
One of two signings from Brentford in the back line, the words of those Bees who suggested that Egan couldn’t play in a footballing side and that they had better than O’Connell, have come back to haunt them. They are going on a journey!
Billy Sharp – 24 Goals
The captain and Blades fan will have enjoyed the season immensely in what must be his dream scenario, for a while it looked like he might even have a chance of getting the icing on the cake in the golden boot. A fantastic season from Teemu Pukki (29 goals), along with 25 goal hauls from Neil Maupay and Tammy Abraham put paid to that one. Sharp did however play fewer minutes than all of the above, some 800 fewer than Pukki, Billy finishing the season with a strike rate of a goal per 131 minutes.
With 4 assists also to his name in the 2018/19 season, Sharp has undoubtedly worked on his all-round game since returning to the Championship, offering much more to the team than just his trademark marksmanship.
John Fleck – 11 Assists
On a free from Coventry, our Scottish hero finally got his call-up to the senior Scotland squad in November 2018. Despite featuring previously for the under 21s, Fleck had been previously inexplicably overlooked despite regular quality performances in a Blades shirt. As part of an effective Blades midfield, Fleck finished the season on 11 assists, scoring a couple himself. With an overall average rating of 7.29 for the season, Fleck was below his average Blades career rating, but was still a key member of the team.
Top 5 average ratings
The top five players by season average rating were as follows:
Top 5 starting appearances
The top five appearance (starts) were as follows:
Top 5 substitute appearances
The top five most used substitutes were as follows:
S24SU Player Ratings – What’s it all about?
The S24SU.com Player Ratings application is a community orientated system hosted on our busy forum, with the intention of collecting and compiling Blades fans opinions on the performance of players (and the manager) throughout each season.
Allowing for a score out of ten to be given to all players who have participated in a fixture (amongst other features), with a wider contribution the ratings arrived at should be more specific and accurate to the average opinions of the collective fan base, rather than the thoughts of an individual supporter or journalist.
The more match attending Sheffield United fans that vote, the more “accurate” to the crowd wide feelings the rating becomes.
Ratings will be closed at a pre-determined point after the fixture, with the system automatically selecting a “Man of the Match” from the average rating of all votes and therefore an overall “Player of the Season”.
We all have our own individual opinions, that’s what makes football such an interesting sport, so why not share your thoughts with us?
If you aren’t a forum member, why not register today? We’d love to have you involved in discussions and to be able to fully use the ratings system and extra features we offer.
If you’re already an S24SU forum member, simply click the “Ratings” link towards the top of the forum, you’ll also get a forum alert whenever the current fixtures ratings are opened.