Everton vs Sheffield United | Sunday 16th May 2021, 19:00 | Sky Sports
Everton are still in the hunt for a European spot, and with all the permutations around domestic cup competitions, as well as the new Europa Conference League, the Toffees could finish seventh and qualify.
Thursday’s goalless draw against Aston Villa was damaging to those European hopes, and it was another case of Everton being unable to squeeze past an opponent – a big problem of late. That stalemate meant it’s four draws in their last seven.
Sheffield Utd’s fate has been sealed for weeks with relegation back to the Championship. They’re playing for pride but not much has been on show in the last few weeks. Their 2-0 home defeat by Crystal Palace saw them fail to register a shot on target.
The Blades have only one away win all season and they’ve failed to score in 11 of their 17 road trips, including in six of their last seven. That paints a very bleak picture ahead of this trip to Merseyside.
The onus is the hosts to come out and attack to get the three points. However, Ancelotti’s side hasn’t fared too well at Goodison Park this season.
It’s just five wins and four draws in home games this season, which puts them 15th for home form. And that’s surprising because you always expect the Toffees to be strong on home turf.
Despite their home struggles, they couldn’t ask for a better opponent. Sheffield Utd are already down and are praying for this nightmare to be over. The Yorkshire side have lost 15 of their 17 away games this season, scoring just seven times, while conceding 35
The Blades have conceded 17 goals in seven league games under Paul Heckingbottom, facing 124 shots across those games (17.7 on average.) Plus, they’ve failed to keep an away clean sheet all season.
So, it might be worth looking towards the Everton shots market. Unsurprising the lines are set quite high but there is a bit of hope the hosts could hit those lines. Paddy Power goes odds-against for 16+ (11/10), while it’s set at 17+ (EVS) with Sky Bet.
The above Blades average for shots faced per game since Heckingbottom came in is 17.7, while they’ve faced 16+ in 7/11 – three of those have been 20+, including their last two when facing 20 shots at Spurs and 21 against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Everton’s shooting records are quite patchy, but their last four home games have seen them hit 14, 15, 17 & 16 respectively, so if they fail to fire early on, they’ll have to turn up the heat on the visiting goal.
I’ll take the 16+ shots line at 11/10, and those of you that like something more of a longshot, then 20+ shots is 6/1 with the same firm, which could be big with Sheffield Utd’s recent record.
Another interesting angle might be Everton goals. They scored 11 in their first three home games (v West Brom, Brighton and Liverpool), but since then they’ve netted 12 in 14 home games.
The Toffees haven’t been ruthless in front of goal, so it might be worth looking at exact Everton goals. They’ve netted one goal in eight of their last 14 at home while scoring twice in two of their last 14 at Goodison Park.
Having played 20 league games in 2021, Everton have scored a single goal in nine of those, scored exactly twice in four and 3+ goals in one, accounting for six blanks as well.
We all know Sheffield Utd concede goals and have conceded 17 times in their last seven away defeats, but there have been three 1-0 defeats in that sequence.
And the last two clashes between these two sides have both finished 1-0 to Everton – albeit both at Bramall Lane. Gylfi Sigurdsson netted a vital winner in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day.
So, given how short Everton are, it’s worth looking at alternative angles into this one. With all the above in mind, the 12/5 (Bet365) on Everton to score exactly one goal might be worth a play. It’s 9/4 for exactly two goals as well if you’d prefer to split a stake across the game.
This 12/5 play has landed in seven of Everton’s 11 games (64%) since the beginning of March, so I’m willing to take a chance on the Toffees only notching just the once in this one.
Everton vs Sheffield United – Everton 16+ shots (11/10 Paddy Power)
Everton vs Sheffield United – Everton to score exactly one goal (12/5 Bet365)