THE FA Cup 5th Round continues on Saturday with Sheffield Wednesday entertaining Swansea. Dan McCulloch (@DanMcc84) shares his best bets
Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea | Saturday 17th February 2018, 12:30 | BT Sport
Carlos Carvalhal returns to his old club a little sooner than he may have expected, given that he parted company with Sheffield Wednesday less than two months ago.
The Portuguese has been a revelation at Swansea, with just one defeat to his name in 11 games in all competitions and 14 points from seven Premier League games. Ordinarily such stats may lead you to back the away side.
Having seen their price drift from 13/10 to almost 7/5, however, I am conscious that the professionals are opposing the South Wales side and I can see why.
Whilst I cannot doubt that Carvalhal has improved the Swans and they are a better side than they were under Paul Clement, it is worth noting that despite four wins and just one loss in the league under him, they have had 56 shots to their opponents 88 and just 21 shots on-target to their foes 27. Expected goals and expected stats also suggest that their current run is unsustainable.
In fairness to Carvalhal, it is hard to put forward an argument suggesting that Sheffield Wednesday have improved since he left Yorkshire. New manager, Jos Luhukay, joined in earlier January and has a record of one win, four draws (three of them ending 0-0) and a defeat from his five games in charge.
Their solo victory, at home to Derby on Tuesday was a little fortuitous as they lost the shot count 18-8 and they were generally second best in the stalemates preceding that.
Luhukay had been out of work for a couple of years before his appointment at the Owls but his reputation as a defensive tactician is already in evidence at Hillsborough. As already stated, he has three 0-0 draws to his name in eight games in all competitions, with both sides finding the net on just three occasions.
An 8-1 cup win over League Two Notts County distorts Swansea’s stats a little but under Carvalhal their competitive games have generally been bereft of goals – just 15 in seven league ties and a 0-0 and 2-1 against Wolves in the FA Cup – which tempts me to back under 2.5 goals at around 7/10.
However, news that the Portuguese is likely rotate his squad as they prioritise Premier League survival leads me to be more ambitious. In the lead up to this game Carvalhal has said “we won’t take any risks because I will protect some players” and I really struggle to see any goals whatsoever in this encounter.
All of this leads me to back the 8/1 with William Hill on ‘No Goalscorer’ at 8/1. Additionally, I really struggle to see whoever concedes first breaking down their opponents, which entices me to the 19/20 BetVictor are offering on ‘No’ in the Both Teams To Score market.
Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea – No goalscorer (8/1 William Hill)
Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea – Both Teams To Score – No (19/20 BetVictor)