From favourites to go down to sitting two points off fourth place, it really has been the season of dreams for Sheffield United fans.
The Blades must be pinching themselves seeing their club in such a position, having only been in League One just over five years ago. Chris Wilder has rightly been revelling in all the plaudits for taking the club to such heights, with the bookmaker's now recognising their chances in actually making the Champions League.
It feels a little beyond-belief to even recognise such a thought, but with 26 league games played, Sheffield United have showed no signs of slowing down.
The story so far
At the start of the season, the Blades were labelled as the outright favourites to go straight back down at 8/11. This is often the case for sides making the jump up from the Championship, with not many giving their inexperienced squad a chance of surviving at the top level.
Wilder's side have, however, showcased just how effective staying committed to a dedicated system can be. Their summer net spend barely reached £50m, with the manager keeping faith in certain members of the squad. The likes of Jack O'Connell, George Baldock and John Fleck to name a few have all been an integral part of Wilder's setup over the past three seasons, with the Blades staying loyal to a style of play that delivered results in both League One and the Championship.
Their unorthodox system of deploying two overlapping centre-backs has caught the eye of intrigued spectators, with not many sides managing to formulate a plan to get the better of United. It's incredible when you look into their 7 losses this season, as 5 of them have come against opposition inside the top four. The Blades' defensive resilience has been a testament to such success, having only conceded 24 goals in 26 games - only the runaway leaders in Liverpool have a better record at the back.
Being such a hard team to break down has contributed to a notably low number of losses, particularly when it comes to their form on the road (1 loss, 4 victories and 6 draws). Their wins aren't always the prettiest, but their hard-working persona has got them over the line on various occasions. 7 of their 10 wins have come courtesy of a 1 goal difference, not that Wilder is complaining by any means.
Destined for Europe?
Despite their incredible run of form, the thought of Sheffield United qualifying for a major European competition still remains almost unthinkable. The majority of their fans will still have vivid memories of being denied promotion to the Championship back in 2013, courtesy of an 85th minute Yeovil Town goal. How things quickly change in football.
We must, however, treat the situation as we see it, with the Blades sitting 2 points behind a relatively inconsistent Chelsea side. At present, they are 14/1 with Betfair to make that highly-desired spot, having been as high as 2,000/1 with some bookmakers before a ball had even been kicked in August. Their price has gradually declined alongside their momentum, with the odds significantly dropping to 50/1 in December.
Since the turn of the year, United have only fallen short to Liverpool and Manchester City, beating West Ham, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, whilst also nicking a draw at the Emirates. Behind them remain the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, with both these sides picking up a run of form with their new managers.
They are 3 points ahead of the Toffees, and currently have odds of 11/4 for a top 6 finish. A Europa League spot does seem the most realistic situation for Wilder's men and many may fancy a bit of value in this latest price.
All of the above odds are subject to change and have been taken from Betfair's site. You can claim a £20 RISK FREE bet to use with Betfair.