Sheffield United vs Wolves | Monday 14th September 2020, 18:00 | Sky Sports
Two strong defensive units go head-to-head on the opening weekend of the season, in light of capturing the imagination of fans of the underdog in 2019/20.
Sheffield United who play host on Monday evening were the surprise package of the campaign, finishing ninth after being favourites to go straight back down the Championship, despite coming in that position they actually competed in the top five and six for the vast majority.
Wolves, on the other hand, ended up agonisingly finishing seventh on goal difference, missing out on a second consecutive shot at the Europa League as a result. They will be rejuvenated this term and with Dean Henderson not there to save the Blades’ bacon, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are tempting narrow favourites. (7/5 Unibet)
Chris Wilder’s men put in two strong displays at the hands of Wolves last term, earning a 1-1 draw at Molineux before stealing the points at the death at Bramall Lane thanks to a last gasp strike from defender John Egan. Only two of United’s first 10 outings in 2019/20 saw Over 2.5 Goals and Wolves have not got on the scoresheet in their last two trips there, this may not be a belter for the neutral.
Often seeing two teams face off playing a three at the back formation, to which these do, can lead to a bit of a stalemate, and that looks on the cards here. The Blades had a marginally better rearguard action, more solid than their opponents by a single goal, fourth and fifth in the division respectively in terms of goals against.
Henderson is such a huge loss in between the sticks, and that can be typified by looking at how many goals on average United could have conceded last term. With Wolves ranking second, the Blades were actually eighth for expected goals against (xGA), conceding nearly seven goals less than what was forecast. The Manchester United loanee played a very significant role in this overperformance.
The betting angles
It is a tough one to predict with Chris Wilder defying the odds on almost every term last season, they are strong at home and had the beating of Santo as recently as July. Heading over to the Unders market would be recommended – an Under 2.5 Goals punt would have had you a winner in six of the last seven head-to-heads. So, stick that on with the double of Under 1.5 Goals in the first period for odds of 17/20 with Betway.
Wolves were considered a second half team in the Premier League’s knockings after lockdown, with the late introduction of Adama Traore working a treat, coupled with their incredible consistency and concentration in defence, with Wily Boly putting an outstanding campaign together.
A 0-0 half time scoreline is odds-against and would be a first 45 minutes that both managers would be satisfied with as they ease themselves into the season.