After their confidence boosting win in the FA Cup last weekend, the Sheffield United players will be hoping to do better now that the cut and thrust of Premier League football returns. Can the hosts get their first EPL win in five games as they take on West Ham at Bramall Lane on Sunday (2pm)? Read on for our full SUFC vs WHUFC preview with betting tips.
After going on something of a poor run in the league, losing three and drawing one, Chris Wilder’s men gave themselves a much-needed lift last time out, as they ran out comfortable winners against League Two’s Gillingham in the FA Cup. A particular positive to come out of that game was young forward William Osula, who scored his first senior goals for the club, bagging a first-half brace. The Danish attacker will now be looking to get a taste of Premier League football. Could he be the man to help sharpen the Blades after a lack of goals has cost them in recent times? January signing Ben Brereton Diaz, who scored bags of goals in the Championship in recent seasons, will also be hoping to add goals to Chris Wilder’s team having joined from Villarreal.
For the visitors, the FA Cup did not bring about some respite. In fact, the break in Premier League play probably came at the wrong time for a West Ham side that had been thriving. Before their seemingly straightforward home assignment against Bristol City, David Moyes’ men had lost just one out of six in all competitions, while they were unbeaten in four Premier League games. However, such form did not propel them to glory in the cup, as they were forced to a replay by Championship opposition, before losing 1-0 on the road. They now need to bounce back.
SUFC home form not good enough
If Sheffield United go down at the end of this season, which is something that looks quite likely as they sit bottom of the Premier League and eight points from safety, then they’ll have poor form at home to blame. For teams to survive, they need to make the most of playing in front of a home crowd and the Blades simply haven’t done that regularly enough.
Sunday’s hosts have won just two games at home all season. Only Burnley have won fewer home games in the Premier League this term, while it is only Burnley who have less home points than the Blades.
No Premier League team has scored fewer home goals than Sheffield United, who have notched ten in ten at home. An average of 1.00 goals scored per home game is hardly good enough at the highest level, especially when they have surrendered an average of 2.40. Ben Brereton Diaz may add more goals, but it may already be too late, while the Chile international certainly won’t be able to do much about things at the other end.
Hammers far from perfect on the road
The hosts are in a bit of a pickle and they absolutely have not done enough offensively at home this term, but they may still fancy themselves to do some damage here, such has been West Ham’s defending on the road of late. The visitors failed to keep a clean sheet away (and at home) against Championship opponents last time out, while they recently conceded five away against both Liverpool and Fulham.
In fact, clean sheets have been quite hard to come as far as West Ham are concerned, especially in the Premier League. They have shut out just one of their ten away-day opponents in the EPL this season, conceding an average of 2.00 goals per travelling game. Such a stat will certainly fill the hosts with hope on Sunday,
WHU on top in this one
In recent times, this is a fixture that has gone the way of West Ham. The Hammers beat the Blades both home and away last season, winning by a goal to nil at Bramall Lane, before winning 3-0 in East London. Earlier this season, they also got the job done, winning 2-0 in front of a home crowd. That is three straight wins against Sunday’s opponents and three straight clean sheets.
Back both to score at Bramall Lane
From a betting odds point of view with the bookmakers, ‘Both Teams to Score’ seems to be the best option here. The hosts have had their scoring problems but the acquisition of Brereton Diaz does add firepower, while they are coming into this game off the back of a confidence-boosting display in the FA Cup. Moreover, they have found the net at least once in all but one of their last six home games, scoring twice in two of those.
In the defensive third, as we know, the Blades don’t offer too much, even at home. They have recorded just one clean sheet at home all season, which means that both teams have scored in four of their last six at Bramall Lane. Consider this in conjunction with West Ham’s goals for and against form on the road and a BTTS bet starts to make lots of sense.
Both teams have found the net in eight of West Ham’s ten away games in the Premier League this season, which is not a stat to ignore here. They absolutely have the offensive quality to hurt what is ultimately a weak host, but they also lack the defensive solidity to go north and keep things tight.
All things considered, either team keeping a clean sheet seems likely. At the very least, the likelihood of at least one goal for both teams appears to be slightly greater than the early odds would suggest, so ‘Both Teams to Score’ is a bet worth placing. So the betting tips for this EPL match preview boil down to this one:
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.