SHEFFIELD UNITED host West Ham on Friday night. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) delivers his betting analysis.
Sheffield United v West Ham | Friday 10th January 2020, 20:00 | Sky Sports
The weekend football kick-off at Bramall Lane with Friday Night Live, as West Ham look to make it three wins from three in all competitions since the return David Moyes.
The Hammers have netted six goals and kept two clean sheets, so there are early shoots of recovery from their faltering season that saw the end of Manuel Pellegrini. However, Moyes hasn’t won any of his last 24 away Premier League games against teams starting in the top-eight (W0-D8-L16), so this trip to Yorkshire will provide a stern test.
Sheffield United will be happy to return to Bramall Lane after a difficult New Year period that saw battling defeats against Man City and Liverpool. The Blades have won both previous Premier League home games against the Hammers with the last being a 3-0 win in April 2007.
Tactics, tactics, tactics
Moyes went with a 4-4-1-1 in the demolition of Bournemouth and his set-up here could be key to nullifying the Blades. The Wilder 3-5-2 has surprised plenty of pundits with its success at this level and it’s one that could expose the Hammers full backs.
When you look at Sheffield United’s action areas it shows that they play with plenty of width. 42% down the right, 39% down the left and just 19% up the middle. It’ll be up to Moyes to decide whether to play the Blades at their own game or go with a similar line-up to their last league game.
That day, Pablo Fornals played on the left side and his lack of cover could leave Aaron Cresswell vulnerable. After just one yellow card in his first eight league games, Cresswell has been booked in five of his last six games. So, that’s six cautions this season from just 11 fouls showing he takes no prisoners and isn’t afraid of committing that cynical foul.
With Ryan Fredericks out with an injured hamstring, then Arthur Masuaku could be the one to replace him. He’s already been dismissed this season and being in and out of the squad makes him rusty, so he’d be a candidate for a card.
It’s always good to have a dig through the stats and see if anything stands out here. The passes market was a difficult one to judge with neither of these sides really dominating the ball.
Both average below 50% possession in games this season, so one of them will have to take this game by the scruff of the neck – you’d expect the hosts – but player stats were all rather patchy.
Given what I’ve written about the tactics above, I’m more interested in the tackles markets.
Declan Rice sits fourth in the Premier League rankings for tackles completed (64) and made five against Bournemouth. With the cover he will have to offer to his full-back, then there’ll be plenty of involvement for the England international.
Rice has made two tackles in each of his last nine games, but the minimum bar on Sky Bet is three (11/10). He did complete that many in away games against Chelsea, Wolves and Palace, plus the home games against Arsenal and Bournemouth.
In fact, the England international got five against Arsenal, as well as the Cherries game and he made a staggering six in defeat at Crystal Palace. There are some tempting price with four (11/4) and five (6/1) all having appeal given his recent record and the way this game should pan out.
So, bearing in mind of Sheffield United’s attacking strengths, I’m willing to play two bets that target visiting players.