BOURNEMOUTH entertain Crystal Palace on the BBC on Saturday night. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) delivers his betting analysis.
Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace | Saturday 20th June 2020, 19:45 | BBC
It only took 42 minutes of the restart for controversy to strike on the Premier League’s return. The Goal Decision System failed to alert Michael Oliver that Ørjan Nyland carried the ball over his line.
The ramifications could potentially be massive. Villa get an extra point towards their push for survival, while two additional points for the Blades would have seen them climb into fifth spot and a potential Champions League spot with Man City’s ban looming.
Overall it is a poor game that lacked any sort of quality. It saw Sheffield United generate just a 0.24xG and you could tell they missed Jack O’Connell and John Fleck creating overloads with their overlapping runs. Both will have fitness tests to see if they can feature in this one.
It’s a game of patience for Newcastle fans who are waiting for the takeover to be completed. And, there’ll be a few happy not to be back in their seats at St James’s Park after seeing their side play out a three successive bore draws in league and cup before lockdown.
The last four games at St James’s Park have seen just one goal with that being Isaac Hayden’s 94th-minute header against Chelsea. But Steve Bruce has vowed to be more attacking now the Magpies look safe.
You’d expect Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almirón featuring heavily as part of that attacking play, but they are likely to be without Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Matty Longstaff.
Goals few and far between
The Blades will be hoping Fleck returns to fitness. Without him, their attacking output decreases. Their Expected Goals drops from 1.3xG with him to 0.64xG without him. While they average 50% fewer shots without him. If he’s back that’ll be a big boost to the Yorkshire side, but looking at these two doesn’t scream goals.
It’ll be interesting to see how the visitors fare after having the game on Wednesday. It could make them sharper early on in the game, but as the game goes on, will that see them tire allowing Newcastle to take charge late on?
When it comes to goals, don’t expect many. Newcastle home games average 1.71 goals per game, while Sheffield United away games average 1.79. On top of that, the Magpies have the lowest Expected Goals in the league at 25.3xG.
In terms of shots, the Blades rank second-bottom for shots per 90 and joint-worst for shots on target per 90. And despite those lowly numbers, Newcastle’s figures are not much better, so it’s hard to look past something like a bore draw.
Their combined home and away records see 14 draws with Newcastle having six at home and Sheff Utd eight on the road. Plus, only Wolves and Arsenal have drawn more times than the Blades this term.
Given a lack of goals on offer then a tight, cagey draw looks set to be the way to go. That outcome is 43/20 in the 1×2 market with Unibet and it looks fair. To eke out a bit more it could be worth splitting a point across the correct scores of 1-1 (11/2) and 0-0 (13/2).
Those two scores look to the ways in. Seven of Sheffield United’s eight away draws have been by those correct scores, while it’s five of six Newcastle home ties.
The tactical battle
Wilder’s shape is fairly unique and given the way they attack by creating overloads with overlaps, it could see the likes of Saint-Maximin and Almirón have plenty of space to run into. Both of those like to get their heads down and run with the ball allowing opposition players to get the tackles in. It just makes some of their decision-making look very questionable.
Given the space that could be left in the channels for the Toon pair to expose, we could see John Egan dragged out wide to stem the danger. The Blades defender has made 36 tackles this term and in 14 games he’s made two or more. It’s 11/8 with Ladbrokes for him to make two tackles and that looks worth taking.
Chris Basham might be another to consider. His line is slightly higher with 3+ tackles at 5/4. He made four against Villa on Wednesday and the 31-year-old has completed a fair number of tackles so far and will be in for a busy afternoon.