Sheff Utd v Brentford: Mokotjo to shine?

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After dominating League One last season, the test for Sheffield United is to show their class at a higher level.

They will hope to take note from Brentford, who reached the top six in 14/15 as a freshly-promoted outfit. That campaign was followed up by less memorable, but still respectable, ninth and 10th place finishes, but now the club sets its sights higher.

Jota remains at the club to complete a threatening front trio with Lasse Vibe and Sergi Canos, who interchange seamlessly in the final third. Romaine Sawyers and Ryan Woods add creativity in deeper areas, making the Bees one of the most exciting attacking prospects in the league.

Their forwards will hope to dislodge a three-man Blades back-line consisting of Jack O’Connell, new signing Richard Stearman and most likely Chris Basham. There could be gaps in wide areas, with wing-backs Kieron Freeman and Enda Stevens likely to provide overloads in the final third.

Brentford’s full-backs, Henrik Dalsgaard and Rico Henry, are also attack-minded, so the success of their system could hinge on the impact of Kamohelo Mokotjo. The South African midfielder adds brawn as well as brain and will hope to stop Samir Carruthers getting into pockets of space in front of the defence. In doing so, he will protect Harlee Dean and Andreas Bjelland from United’s front two, one of which will be 30-goal man Billy Sharp.

The captain scored the opener in the 2-1 pre-season win against Premier League Stoke City. Brentford themselves though defeated Europa League quarter-finalists Celta Vigo and for long spells of their 2-2 draw with Southampton, looked the more creative side.

Unlike their hosts, Dean Smith’s side boasts players who have consistently performed in the top half of this division. Sheffield United aim to get there but on Saturday, they may get a taste of the work ahead of them.

The Football Lab’s Verdict: 1-3

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