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Premier League: There’s Only One Result When Top Meets Bottom


Premier League: There’s Only One Result When Top Meets Bottom

Manchester United vs Sheffield United

There’s a full programme of top-flight football to look forward this week, and Premier League leaders Manchester United have a chance to strengthen their challenge when they entertain bottom club Sheffield United on Wednesday night.  

Here at SBOTOP, and especially my Man United supporting colleague, James, we’re backing the Red Devils at short odds of 1.25 to win.

Manchester United fans are starting to believe they can win the title, particularly as champions Liverpool are stuttering badly, losing their four-year home unbeaten record to Burnley last Thursday. But on current form Manchester City are a class above and the latest Premier League 2021 betting odds have the Sky Blues at around 1.55 to regain the title.

Talking Points

Is the real Paul Pogba here to stay?

It’s a year since midfield ace Bruno Fernandes arrived at Old Trafford, relatively unknown on these shores but a star in his homeland where he played for Sporting Lisbon. Nobody at Old Trafford could have dreamed how big an impact he would make.

Fernandes pretty much carried the Red Devils to Champions League qualification on his own shoulders, and has been at it again this season, top scoring and putting in man-of-the-match performances week after week.

But something else at the club has changed.

France midfielder Paul Pogba has suddenly started to be the player we know he can be, and that has improved the balance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team. He’s Premier League 2021 news again because there’s been a transformation in Pogba’s game.

The World Cup winner has added steel to his swagger and looks like he believes he is in a winning side again. If Pogba continues to step up, the Red Devils could actually be genuine title contenders.      

And you have to say that United’s 3-2 FA Cup win over Liverpool on Sunday will only increase the confidence which is now oozing through Old Trafford. The only dampener on the Red Devils’ delight was the sight of winger Marcus Rashford limping off with a knee injury and Solskjaer will monitor his progress over the next 24 hours.

Blades still battling…just

Chris Wilder is Sheffield United through and through, a fan, an ex-player and now the head coach. And he has done an amazing job to lift the Blades up to the top flight, from League 1 where they languished when he took over in 2016.

In his first season at the helm, he steered the club to promotion with a record 100 points, and two years later he led them to the Premier League.

In his first season in the top flight, the Blades finished in an astonishing ninth position, but this year has been a disaster. They sit rock bottom with just five points and 12 from safety.

But Sheffield United haven’t quite given up yet. They earned their first victory of the season at the 18th attempt, beating Newcastle United and they have also progressed in the FA Cup thanks to narrow wins over Bristol Rovers and Plymouth.

That makes it three wins in six games in all competitions, against modest opposition but winning is a habit and the Blades need to catch at least three teams. West Brom and Fulham are the closest and Steve Bruce’s Newcastle are on the slide and face a tough task against a dangerous Leeds side on Tuesday.

They need to keep on winning and Wilder will take his team to Old Trafford expecting them to give their best, as always. David McGoldrick, with five goals, is the Blades best chance of springing a major surprise.

History

The two teams have met just eight times in the Premier League era and the Blades are yet to win, drawing once and losing the other seven. 

There have been two great tussles over the past two seasons though. While United won 3-0 at home in June, the previous meeting was a 3-3 at Bramhall Lane in November 2019; and just over a month ago the Red Devils won 3-2 as both Marcus Rashford and David McGoldrick helped themselves to a brace.

This time last year the Manchester giants were eighth, and then Fernandes rolled into town, while the Blades were seventh, and that seems a million miles away now.

Betting Tip

Sheffield United Asian Handicap +1.75 @ 1.83

The Blades are at 7.96 to win, and 6.18 to draw, or 3.58 is the double chance to avoid defeat.

But I really don’t fancy any of those options. I expect Manchester United to win, but they will have to battle for the three points and I think we’ll see a one-goal win to keep the Red Devils’ title challenge on track.

2-1 is available at 8.68, a repeat of Manchester United’s winning margin against Fulham last week.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 


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