FOOTBALL LEAGUE expert Adam Goodwin (@AGJournalism) shares his betting thoughts on Saturday evening's live televised kick-off between Sheffield United and Swansea.
Sheffield United v Swansea | Saturday 4th August 2018, 17:30 | Sky Sports
After seven consecutive seasons in the Premier League, Swansea finally suffered relegation back to the Championship. After losing some key players, can the Swans bounce back at the first time of asking?
Sheffield United, on the other hand, had a great campaign in their first season back in the Championship and Chris Wilder will be hoping to improve on this in 2018/19.
It took Sheffield United six long, hard seasons to get out of League One after their relegation from the Championship in 2011, but they certainly made the most out of it last term. The Blades finished 10th in the English second-tier and, for long parts of the season, were pushing for the play-offs.
Over the summer, they did sell hot prospect David Brooks to Bournemouth for £11 million but have brought in some decent replacements. Ben Woodburn as arrived from Liverpool on loan, along with Kean Bryan from Bury and two of the Football League’s best players last season – John Egan and Dean Henderson.
In the last three seasons, Chris Wilder has won two promotions and achieved a top-half Championship finish and there’s nothing stopping me from thinking they’ll carry on progressing next season.
Sheffield United’s home form last season was one of the main reasons as to why they did so well. They only suffered two losses in their last 10 games and beat Leeds and Middlesbrough in that spell. We’ll see if they can carry that form on into the 2018/19 campaign.
It was a season to forget for the Swans last time out. If suffering relegation wasn’t bad enough, local rivals Cardiff getting promoted would’ve added salt into their wounds. This is now a chance to rebuild under Graham Potter but there doesn’t seem to be much optimism in South Wales.
Let’s talk a little bit about Potter. It’s certainly an out-of-the-box appointment but after winning two promotions and even reaching the Europa League Round of 32 with Swedish side Ostersunds, Potter has certainly earnt this opportunity.
The English-born coach had spells playing at Stoke, West Brom and York City but has never managed in Britain. So, whilst Potter might have worked his magic in Scandinavia, this is certainly a risky appointment for Swansea.
They’ve also lost some of their key players since their relegation. Their spine of Lukas Fabianski, Alfie Mawson, Ki Sung-yueng and Andre Ayew have all gone and they haven’t really replaced them. Bersant Celina and Joel Asoro have been brought in but it’s defensively where they worry me.
Swans fans will undoubtedly be looking down rather than up next season…
The betting angle
It’s always difficult to predict how a team’s going to do as we head into the new season and the bookies clearly feel the same way – pricing Sheffield United up at around 5/4 and Swansea at about 9/4.
I’m happy to side with the Yorkshire outfit in this one. I think they’ve actually got a better team than they did last year and Chris Wilder will demand his side get off to a good start.
Swansea haven’t replaced the key players they’ve lost in this window and the squad seems unsettles at the moment.
Sheffield United are best price 133/100 with Marathon and I’ll be jumping on that as we head into the first weekend of the season.
Sheffield United v Swansea – Sheffield United to win (133/100 Marathon)