(Reuters) - Sheffield United's drastic dip in form this season is one of the sport's anomalies but they are still a team that can be tough to beat even as they search for their first win, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson said on Friday.
The Blades were last season's surprise package when the promoted side finished ninth but Chris Wilder's team have picked up only two points from 16 games this season to sit at the bottom of the standings.
Palace lost both home and away to United last season and Hodgson said his side, who are winless in five games, will be the underdogs on Saturday.
"I certainly remember the two defeats at the hands of a Sheffield United team last year that were sweeping all before them. What has surprised me is I see the same Sheffield United team that I saw last year," Hodgson told reporters.
"That's one of the anomalies of football. One year a group of players playing the football they play can enjoy the success Sheffield United have and this year... they're rooted to the bottom of the table having been able to manage two points.
"As far as I'm concerned, we're facing a team who are very difficult to beat. We're much more used to going into a game as underdogs... Where they are in the table has no relevance because you start at 0-0."
While there have been calls for a "circuit break" to halt the season due to the sudden rise in COVID-19 cases, Hodgson said he would like to see the league continue.
"Up to now, the Premier League have done an extremely good job. The ball is very much in their court," he said. "I'd like to see football continue, of course, but only if they and the government say so.
"We wanted to come back, that goes for all the Premier League clubs. So far we've been able to do so."
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)