ARSENAL travel to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United for Monday Night Football. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) delivers his betting analysis.
Sheffield United v Arsenal | Monday 21st October 2019, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Arsenal head to Bramall Lane to take on a Sheffield United team that are struggling to find the net. The Blades have a lacked cutting edge and it’s seen them fail to score in three of their last four league outings, including the goalless draw at Watford before the international break.
It was three points for Unai Emery’s side a couple of weeks ago when dominating against Bournemouth. Yet they only ran out 1-0 victors to take it to five unbeaten in the league. Arsenal sit third before a ball is kicked in the Premier League and a win here will help them keep pace with Man City while staying ahead of the likes of Leicester and Chelsea.
The Gunners are probably a fair price at 19/20 with Unibet to claim the points, but their away record, and the way Sheffield United are set-up, could cause them a few problems, especially early on.
Given the hosts have failed to score in their last two home games, which have both ended in 1-0 defeats, then this could be a low-scoring encounter, despite the class of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against this Blades defence.
This could be quite a tight first-half if Chris Wilder sets his team up as he did in the Liverpool game. It took an error in the 70th minute from Dean Henderson to gift the Reds the three points that day, and here they face an Arsenal side that does tend to be strong after half time.
Eight of Arsenal’s 13 goals have been in the second-half and so far this season, they’ve outscored their opponents on five of eight occasions after half-time, so as the Blades players tire, expect the Gunners to take advantage.
This angle is a bigger price than backing Arsenal to win the game, which they should, but just one away win this season may be a concern. And with that, the Highest Scoring Half market looks worthy of a play too, especially with Sheffield United games only averaging 1.75 goals.
Their games have seen the fewest goals so far (14), and of that amount, 10 have been in the second half, so take the odds-against price on this bet too.
The Cardshark’s about
Mike Dean is the man who takes centre stage for this one and when I see his name, I always have to take a look at the cards markets. In six of his seven games this season, he’s shown at least 40 booking points (four yellows), while his last game saw six between Newcastle and Man Utd.
Most bookies factor in the officials’ when pricing up their markets and that’s why 40+ Booking Points here is as short as 1/2 with Sky Bet. With Arsenal likely to have the majority of possession that could mean plenty of work off the ball for the Blades players.
Two vulnerable positions for cautions are central midfield and full-backs, so I’ve looked towards those areas and two players are worth mentioning here. John Lundstram has committed eight fouls this season, yet he is United’s most booked player with three cautions. Despite that, he’s 9/2 with Sky Bet for a card.
One man who is yet to pick a card is Enda Stevens. That’s even though the full-back has committed the joint-most fouls (12) alongside George Baldock. The Irishman could be exposed with the pace of Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka if Arsenal counter.
It’s a surprise that he’s yet to see a card given his foul count, but it’s worth mentioning that he does have three yellow cards in Euro 2020 qualifying for the Republic of Ireland – two came against Gibraltar and one against Switzerland.
Given his tendency to commit at least a foul per game, plus Dean being quick to brandish a card means I’m more than willing to back him for a card at a tempting price.