Chelsea vs Sheffield United | Sunday 21st March 2021, 13:30 | BBC
The two newest Premier League managers face off for a place in the FA Cup semi-final, as Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea host Sheffield United lead by interim boss Paul Heckingbottom.
Even though the Chelsea fan base were split on their opinion about Frank Lampard’s sacking, they cannot be disappointed with the results Tuchel is getting so far.
Chelsea dominated over both legs in their Champions League tie, keeping clean sheets in both legs and thoroughly deserved to progress, winning 3-0 on aggregate.
The Blues victory over Atletico Madrid was their 13th game unbeaten since the German coach took charge, and in that spell they’ve only conceded two goals.
The Chelsea boss has come out in the pre-match press conference speaking about the importance of keeping it tight defensively. “ I know the focus is on defending as we haven’t conceded many goals and we’ve kept a lot of clean sheets, which is very hard in the modern day”.
Was the Sheffield United hierarchy right to sack Chris Wilder? In my opinion, it was a strange decision considering everything he had achieved. I would have thought he deserved another chance to get back to the Premier League, but this is a results-based business.
Interim coach Heckingbottom has an almighty job on his hands, taking over a team having only won four games all season running, so will be low on confidence.
Heckingbottom did not exactly get off to an encouraging start in his first game in charge. The Yorkshire club lost convincingly 5-0 to Leicester, only having one shot throughout the game and producing an xG of 0.09.
The Blades are 14 points currently away from safety and an FA Cup tie could be a welcome distraction.
With Chelsea playing in the week some sort of rotation is likely. Jorginho and Mason Mount did not start, so are likely to feature as well as Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic.
The Blades are without several key defenders including Ethan Amapadu and Phil Jagielka is also a doubt.
The betting angles
In the outright markets Chelsea are 2/9, with the draw at 5/1 and the win for Sheffield United is 12/1. It is hard not to see Chelsea getting the victory here with the difference in form and morale in both camps.
Chelsea at 2/9 aren’t a price I would entertain by itself, but my first angle comes from Bet365’s bet builder. In 11 of the 13 games Thomas Tuchel has been in charge, the Blues have kept a clean sheet and also won and at 9/10, is a price I want to get onside.
If we also add Under 4 Goals, which has landed in every game under Tuchel, we get a price of 6/4 and is my first play.
It could be argued that this could be a game for Chelsea to open the goalscoring floodgates, but considering they played midweek and the Blades needing to bounce back after a 5-0 defeat, I am happy to add Under 4 Goals.
The man with the whistle for the game is Andrew Madley, who averages 2.42 cards this season (the third-lowest in the Premier League).
FA Cup ties are notoriously known for a lack of cards and delving deeper into the stats, (three games played for each side in the competition) Chelsea have not picked up a card yet in the competition.
United have only picked up one card also in the FA Cup and in the last head-to-head between the two clubs only one card was dished out.
Considering the referee in charge (in his last six games he has given a maximum of two cards in each) and the stats mentioned, I am surprised to see Betfair offer an attractive price of 6/5 on Under 30 Booking Points.
For my longshot for the game, following the same stats, I am surprised to see Betfair offer 14/1 on no booking shown (first player to be shown a card). The price seems to be great value to my eye and is considerably shorter elsewhere.