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The less said about Sheffield United’s start to life back in the second tier the better, although the Blades are slowly but surely starting to demonstrate their promotion credentials and marched to a convincing 3-1 win over Hull City on Saturday afternoon.
Ageless talisman Billy Sharp drew first blood with a 17th-minute header before defender John Egan netted a rare brace in the second half to put the Blades out of sight, while Keane Lewis-Potter‘s 74th-minute strike for the hosts proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
Now unbeaten in five across all competitions, Sheffield United have found their golden touch at just the right time – scoring 13 goals during their hot streak – although Jokanovic claimed that his side could have shown more of a “killer spirit” at the weekend.
A 1-0 triumph over Carlisle preceded a 2-1 success over fellow Championship side Derby in the EFL Cup for the Blades, who renew hostilities with the Rams – now in administration – four days after the visit of Southampton, while Middlesbrough also lie in wait before the end of the month.
Should Sheffield United progress to the fourth round of the EFL Cup this week, it will mark their best-ever run in the tournament since their memorable run to the semi-finals in 2014-15, but Southampton have already proved their prowess in this competition.
While holding Pep Guardiola‘s men to a goalless draw is no mean feat, Southampton remain winless in the new Premier League season – drawing four of their opening five games and losing the other to Everton – but the St Mary’s faithful will not be forgetting their 8-0 EFL Cup second-round thrashing of Newport County in a hurry.
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Southampton famously reached the final of the 2016-17 EFL Cup before being sunk by a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired Manchester United, and they have failed to make it past the fourth round since then – suffering defeats to Leicester City and Man City at that stage in 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively.
During their two most recent seasons in the Premier League, Sheffield United suffered four consecutive defeats against Southampton by an aggregate scoreline of 9-1, and Hasenhuttl’s side eased to a 2-0 win at Bramall Lane as recently as Marc