TOM LOVE (@TomLove_18) has perused the markets ahead of Good Friday's fixture between Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest.
Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest | Friday 19th April 2019, 12:30 | Sky Sports
Recent hiccups against Birmingham, Millwall and Bristol City have put Sheffield United’s promotion pursuit on hold. The Blades now sit in third and are three points behind Leeds in second. Therefore, Chris Wilder’s side will be targeting this home game against Nottingham Forest as a must-win if they’re to take the automaton promotion push to the wire.
Forest themselves have pretty much given up hope of making the play-offs. Club legend Martin O’Neil is now at the helm but his insistence on heavy squad rotation have seen his side pick up just four points from a possible 18 over their last six fixtures.
O’Neil has talked about focusing on next season for a while now, which from the outside looks like a bizarre move with the Tricky Trees harbouring genuine hopes for a top-six finish before losing last weekend.
Forest’s mixed message should benefit the Blades you’d think; this looks like a team with everything to play for against one with no real focus on the remainder of the season.
Wilder looking for a reaction
I’ve been a huge fan of Wilder for a few years now – his attractive, attacking approach has bared great success over the years with Oxford, Northampton and now United. However, last weekend was one of the first times I’ve seen him genuinely angry at his sides employment of in-game tactics.
The Blades dropped deeper and deeper and invited pressure against Millwall after taking the lead, and the Lions took advantage by bombarding the box with aerial balls into their big men. It was a silly thing to do, and against a physical side like Millwall, it seemed all the more bizarre.
Wilder has regularly broken the trend of bringing on an extra defender when his teams are in the lead, instead he tends to bring on another striker to alleviate the pressure and give the opposition something to think about.
His bravery in taking a fluid approach to formations, allowing freedom for centre-halves Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell to venture forward into attacks is admirable. It only works if the players are all aware of each other’s game and this side has been together for a couple of years now.
The betting angle
I’m keen on the hosts here as much as I’m not keen on the visitors. However, 4/7 quotes are too short to get involved with so I’ll look at a more palatable way of getting with the Blades.
I love the look of a 15/8 shot in SkyBet’s Request-a-Bet market and that’s for United to score 2+ goals, have 5+ corners and for Forest to pick up 20+ Booking Points.
Forest have conceded at least twice in their last three games; they also still have injuries at the back. Michael Dawson, Tobias Figueredo and Alexander Milosevic aren’t back fit yet and right-back Tendayi Darikwa is a doubt. What’s more, six of Forest’s last seven games have gone Over 2.5 Goals.
Discipline has been a weak point of the Tricky Trees all campaign. They’ve picked up 99 yellow cards and five reds in just 42 games, averaging almost 30+ Bookings Points per-game. It’s comfortably the worst discipline record in the league.
Sheffield United pick up plenty of corners too, easily in the top-six in that metric. They’ll be piling on the pressure, you’d imagine, in what is a must-win game. The Blades get plenty of shots off and work opposition keepers a lot, their full backs also like to overlap and get to the byline, which is a positive for corner backers.
Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest – Sheffield United to score 2+ goals, have 5+ corners and Nottingham Forest to receive 20+ Bookings Points (15/8 SkyBet)