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Sheffield United v Sunderland - Barclays FA Women’s Championship

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Lasses Match Preview: Sunderland Women welcome the Blades to Eppleton!

The Lasses are back in action today as Sheffield United make the trip north. Charlotte Patterson has all the info ahead of the game!

Photo by Barrington Coombs - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Sunday 21 January 2024

Sunderland AFC Women vs Sheffield United Women

Eppleton Colliery Welfare,

Hetton-le-Hole,

DH5 9NA


Tickets & match coverage

Tickets are still available and fans wishing to attend can secure their seat with tickets priced at £10 for adults, £7.50 for concessions and £5 for students and U16’s.

Highlights

The FA Player will have highlights and a full match replay available to watch from Monday afternoon.

Coverage

Supporters who can’t attend the game can watch it live on Sunderland Women’s Twitter page and YouTube Channel.

Updates will be provided on Twitter via @SAFCWomen, and we’ll be sharing photos, videos and comments on the game via our @HawayPod Twitter account.


The Lasses

Sunderland will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 loss to Southampton in the FA Cup last weekend. The Lasses were guilty of complacency in the second half and eventually ran out of time to mount a comeback.

Despite starting very well against the Saints, we found ourselves on the back foot after half time, with lapses of concentration, judgement, communication and possibly tired legs from our high press ultimately leading to the concession of a goal early in the second half.

Sunderland Women v Southampton F.C. Women - Adobe Women’s FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by George Wood - The FA/Getty Images

I’ve no doubt that gaffer Mel Reay and her staff will have been working on this during training, and the hope is that Sunderland will perform similarly to how they did against Charlton and Reading.

The league is incredibly strong, as illustrated by the fact that only two points separate first and fifth. It’s all to play for and this is a game that on paper, Sunderland should be winning.

During the week, Reay mentioned that there’s competition for places and that we have to find ways to win, so there may well be some experimentation for today’s game.

This is particularly important as we have a busy week, with a Wednesday night game against Aston Villa in the Conti Cup followed by a journey to Leyland to play Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.


The opposition

Sheffield United currently sit eighth in the league, eight points behind Sunderland having played a game less, and they head into this fixture in mixed form,

The Blades have the fifth worst defensive record in the division, conceding sixteen goals in eleven games, but they also have the fifth-best offensive record, with fifteen goals scored.

United have also trialled various formations throughout the season but they generally play with a 4-3-3, occasionally adopting a 4-2-3-1 depending on the style of the opposition.

43% of the time, they opt to use a 4-3-3 and generally stick to the formation they start with.

Sheffield United v London City Lionesses - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by James Chance - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

From the highlights I saw, they like to play down the wings and look to catch the opposition out with through balls in between the backline or balls over the top and into space for forwards to run onto.

Despite playing a passing game, they do like to cross deeply into the box from the wings or when moving forward. The Lasses will have to either time the offside trap well or potentially look at playing a deeper backline to counteract this tactic.

However, due to the Blades’ propensity for getting forward in numbers and pressing high, this naturally leaves room to exploit at the back and with the plethora of pacy players that we have, it’ll be important to use this to our advantage.

Speaking with Sheffield United fan John Slingsby, we asked what seems to be behind the Blades conceding a number of goals.

It may be due to tiredness.

It just seems that we’re unable to kill off games that we’re in a very good position to win, and we’ve also led by two goals at some point during our last two games.

However, once the tiredness is cut out, we should be able to start getting points on the board.

Believe or not, despite conceding five goals in our last two games and conceding so late, I feel like we’ve gotten better defensively as of late.

The players Sunderland will need to watch for are include Isobel Goodwin, who currently sits joint second in the league for goals scored.

She has seven goals and one assist in the ten matches she has played, with a 75% shot accuracy. There’s also Ashley Hodson, who has three goals in eleven matches.


Form guide

Sunderland AFC Women - LDLWW

Sheffield United Women - DWLLW


Head to head record

(All venues, WSL2/Championship + Continental Tyres Cup since 2014)

Played: 7

Sunderland wins: 3

Sheffield United wins: 1

Draws: 3

Sunderland goals: 14

Sheffield United goals: 11


Last time out...

Sheffield United Women 2 - 3 Sunderland Women - Continental Tyres Cup

Alfreton Town Football Club,

Impact Arena Stadium,

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Ellie May 7’

Emily Scarr (P) 30’

Tara Bourne 32’

Mollie Rouse 45+2’

Mary Corbyn 66’



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