Sheffield United vs West Ham | Sunday 22nd November 2020, 14:00 | Sky Sports
Sunday's second bit of action sees Sheffield United welcome West Ham to S2 in what was awfully dubbed the Carlos Tevez Derby by some last campaign.
It gets more and more painful to write as each week goes by; eight gameweeks in and Sheffield United still await their first win. However, Chris Wilder implied during his press conference on Friday that John Fleck, Lys Mousset, John Egan, Rhian Brewster and Sander Berge could all in contention to play on Sunday. This hugely bolsters the Blades chances of breaking their duck at long last.
Fleck and Mousset returned to full time training last week and are available for Sunday. Egan and Brewster picked up minor injuries on international duty, they'll face a late fitness test to determine if they can feature or not. Sander Berge was part of the Norway squad that were banned from travelling to their games following a positive COVID test. Therefore, Wilder has left it in the hands of the medical department to decide if Berge can play or not.
Regardless if all five start or none, I'm tipping Sheffield United to win straight of the bat. This is because there has been the change in mood around the Blades squad over the international break has been palpable. Wilder said on Friday; “The mood is upbeat. I've noticed it” and looking in from the outside I've gotten that impression as well.
Due to the fact that Sheff Utd don't have many internationals, the core majority of their squad stayed in South Yorkshire over the international break and this will only bode well what is a small close knit squad.
Sheffield United have just a point so far but according to Understat, they have an Expected Points (xP) of 7.22, which ranks them third from bottom. When you factor in that they have faced Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea plus Aston Villa (with 10 men for the majority) I don't think the league table paints an accurate reflection of their performances.
West Ham's gaffer, David Moyes, said that the verdict on if Michail Antonio will feature of not will go down to the wire. Angelo Ogbonna and Mark Noble will also face late fitness tests. Andriy Yarmolenko has been ruled out due to a positive COVID test from during the international break.
The betting angles
Last week I persisted with an angle I'd already proposed and it paid off big time when Sander Berge was carded. Originally he was tipped at 13/2 but I did double up on him and re-tipped him inplay at 16/1 following a tactical tweak that saw him move to CDM. Therefore, this week am going to persist with a another bet; John Lundstrum to be carded.
We were desperately unlucky not to complete a clean sweep at Stamford Bridge. It looked a formality for Lundstrum to have his name taken following a shirt pull done in an attempt to stop a counter attack, however, referee Jonathan Moss didn't take his name.
According to the FA's 20/21 explanation of their new rules, any offence that interferes with a promising attack should result in a yellow card. However, if the referee plays an advantage- as Moss did- the yellow card is not issued. So, unfortunately we fell the wrong side of a strange new rule. Nerveless, I'm happy to have another crack at this angle.
First of all, like every other bet I have, this was a price play so it wouldn't make sense not to re-back given the generous odds on offer with Sky Bet and William Hill of 5/1 (he's only 9/4 with Boyles). The implied probability of this price is 16.7%, yet Lundstrum has been awarded a card in 31% of the games he's played amongst England's elite.
This season, he has been carded in three out of his seven EPL starts- should be four- which could be due to a rage fuelled by contract negotiations.
Sticking with cards in central midfield, I like Tomas Soucek to be booked at 13/2 with Bet365. The Czech international has only been booked once this season but tops the Hammers charts for fouls per game averaging 2.40.
It could transpire that Moyes rewards Said Benrahma's impressive cameos with an eagerly anticipated first Premier League start at LW on Sunday. That would mean West Ham's left side will consist of him and Masuaka, which is a very offence minded duo. If they both start it could leave Soucek exposed in transition which bodes well for this bet.
My final angle is John Lundstrum to attempt two shots at 13/10 with Boyles. In the Premier League, he has averaged 1.52 shots per 90 minutes, only failing to register a shot in one of his last seven starts. Given the circumstances off the field he's playing every game with a vengeance and Sunday will be no different providing he gets the nod in central midfield. Betfair have the same bet at 1.40!
Sheffield United vs West Ham – Sheffield United to win (43/20 Unibet)
Sheffield United vs West Ham – John Lundstrum to be carded (5/1 SkyBet)
Sheffield United vs West Ham – Tomas Soucek to be carded (13/2 Bet365)
Sheffield United vs West Ham – John Lundstrum 2+ Shots (13/10 Boylesports)