EPL Betting Preview: Manchester United vs Sheffield United – Thursday, Dec 17, 2020

Manchester United will aim to extend Sheffield United’s agony when they visit Bramall Lane to face the sinking hosts in the Premier League on Thursday, 17 December 2020.

Manchester United have won four of their last five matches against Sheffield United in all competitions, including a 3-0 home win at Old Trafford in their most recent matchup on 24 June, but most people would remember the spectacular 3-3 draw between these sides at Bramall Lane last November.

Sheffield United Betting Preview

Having scored just five goals in the Premier League so far, the Blades are rock-bottom and the only point they’ve earned in 12 games was two months ago – a 1-1 home draw against newly-promoted Fulham right after the October international break.

Since then, Sheffield United have lost seven in a row and their 3-0 defeat away to Southampton on Sunday was another huge hit on their hopes to revive and start looking at least a little like the side that collected 54 points and finished 9th in the Premier League last season and was even dreaming big to secure European football for a moment.

However, we shall also note that of those seven defeats, five of them have come against sides that currently six in the top-six (Liverpool, Chelsea, West Ham, Southampton and Leicester City), while another one was against Man City, so the most disappointing result of that run was clearly the 1-0 loss at newly-promoted fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on 28 November.

All in all, the Blades are winless in 16 games across all competitions – since an impressive first-half of July when Chris Wilder’s side forged three consecutive home wins over the likes of Spurs, Wolves and Chelsea – and have lost 14 of these games, which is a horrific form of a relegation side.

After their home clash against Manchester United, Sheffield United are set for another visit to the south coast when they travel to face Brighton early on Sunday in their last game before Christmas, before they welcome Everton on Boxing Day and then travel again to face Burnley (29 December) and Crystal Palace (2 January) in back-to-back away games.

With that said, their schedule isn’t very comfortable but it’s not that bad either and it opens an opportunity for the Blades to inspire some optimism among the fans, especially if they manage to react and get something against the 20-time champions of England on Thursday.

Premier League veteran Phil Jagielka started at centre-back against Southampton and the former England international could remain in the starting XI against Man United.

Ethan Ampadu also started alongside John Fleck and Sander Berge in Sheffield United’s central midfield trio at Southampton and the Wales youngster could get the nod again.

Rotations are also possible elsewhere, with summer arrival Max Lowe hoping to regain his place at left wing-back, while versatile John Lundstram is an option to start in the middle of the park.

Leeds-born Oli McBurnie, who scored the late equalizer for the 3-3 draw between these two sides in November 2019, is a huge doubt for Sheffield United after suffering a shoulder injury against Southampton and the Scotland international could miss out.

Summer signing Rhian Brewster as well as fellow forwards David McGoldrick and Lys Mousset are among the attacking options for Chris Wilde here, with the latter enjoying some decent performances against Manchester United in the past and could step in for his first Premier League start of the season here.

Manchester United Betting Preview

Coming off a Manchester Derby devoid of glamour and excitement, Manchester United are now unbeaten in five Premier League games and the goalless draw with City has ended their four-game winning streak in the English top-flight.

All in all, United have lost just once in their last 8 Premier league matches (5-2-1) and are impeccable away from their Old Trafford – winning all of their five away games this season and have remarkably come from behind in each one.

Stretching back to the final weeks of the 2019-20 campaign, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are enjoying a nine-game winning streak away from home and are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League away games (10-2-0) – since a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool in January.

Being just five points behind the two leading sides (Tottenham and Liverpool) and with a game in hand, the situation at Manchester United could be rather optimistic instead of pessimistic despite the Champions League setback last week.

Indeed, things can quickly turn into Man United’s favor at some point, especially if they manage to do well during the festive period and considering the lack of consistency and the injury crisis at other Premier League rivals, the Red Devils could join the list of title contenders.

Even though Solskjaer mostly opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation, the Norwegian sometimes fields a 4-3-1-2 system and we cannot dismiss such a move here as the Manchester United boss could be willing to rest some pivotal figures ahead of the loaded festive schedule and the coming derby against rivals Leeds United on Sunday.

With that said, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be interested to refresh his pack and Alex Telles, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial are options to start for the Red Devils here – they were all on the bench against City.

Moreover, Eric Bailly returned into United’s matchday squad as the Ivorian centre-back had to overcome another injury setback. He remained an unused substitute in the Manchester Derby, but he could make his first Premier League appearance since the 6-1 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur in early-October.

After spending the past two seasons on loan at Bramall Lane, where he was a key player of Sheffield United’s promotion-winning side and for the impressive Premier League return last season, Dean Henderson will hope to get the nod over David de Gea in goal.

Still looking for his first Premier League goal of the season, Anthony Martial will most likely replace youngster Mason Greenwood in the starting side after only being fit enough for a place on the bench in the Manchester Derby at the weekend. The Frenchman enjoyed his first senior hat-trick to inspire the 3-0 home victory against Sheffield United in June, which also was United’s first Premier League hat-trick since 22 April 2013 and the glorious sir Alex Ferguson era.

Marcus Rashford could boast a goal and three assists in his two Premier League starts against the Blades and the Englishman will be keen to continue his efficiency here, failing to leave a mark (either scoring or assisting) in the 3-2 defeat at RB Leipzig and the goalless draw with Man City last week.

Daniel James struggles to get first-team minutes for the Red Devils and some suggest the Wales winger will look for a way out in January. Since he started in the goalless draw against Chelsea on 24 October, James has only appeared in United’s Champions League home victory over Istanbul Basaksehir last month, when he came off the bench in the second-half to wrap up the 4-1 win.

Possible Starting Lineups of Sheffield United and Manchester United

Sheffield United: Aaron Ramsdale – Chris Basham, John Egan, Phil Jagielka – Enda Stevens, Sander Berge, Oliver Norwood, John Fleck, George Baldock – Billy Sharp, David McGoldrick. (3-5-2)

Manchester United: David de Gea – Alex Telles, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek – Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata – Anthony Martial. (4-2-3-1)

Spooky Express Betting Prediction

Manchester United are -244 favorites to return to winning ways and cause more damage to a heavily wounded Sheffield United side.

On the other hand, if you believe that Sheffield United could beat the odds and claim their first Premier League victory of the season, you can get odds of +611 at BetOnline.

The Blades have not been particularly impressive with their attack last season and managed to finish top half of the table due to their solid defending. However, their attack remains a considerable issue but the defensive performances have worsened and they need to drastically improve in either of those components should they want to boost their hopes to avoid relegation.

Chris Wilder’s side have nothing to lose against a Manchester United side that performs much better on the road, but have also conceded in each of their away games and that’s something the Blades must try to expose. We expect goals.

Furthermore, despite the poor run of form, Sheffield United’s Saudi Arabian owners are reportedly backing Chris Wilder and have stated they don’t intend to sack him even if they relegate, so this could reduce the pressure on the Sheffield United boss.

Spooky Express Free Play: Over 2½ Goals -112 @ BetOnline for 6/10 Units

Surprisingly or not, before the beginning of Round 13, hosts Sheffield United are above their opposition when they take on Manchester United on Sunday, 24 November 2019.

Last season’s Championship runners-up have lost just three times so far and if they maintain their form, the Blades won’t have to worry about their Premier League future. Chris Wilder’s side collected 17 points and are fifth, one point over seventh-placed Manchester United, and remain unbeaten in their last five Premier League matches (2 wins and 3 draws).

As Arsenal realized only a couple of weeks ago, a trip to Bramall Lane is anything but a stroll in the park and The Red Devils need to play their best game if they are to win back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since early-March.

Manchester United have won their last seven meetings with Sheffield United, with their most recent match being in the 2015-16 FA Cup, when the Red Devils won 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Their last Premier League duel was in the 2006-07 campaign, when Manchester United won 2-1 at Bramall Lane and 2-0 at Old Trafford. However, Wayne Rooney won’t be on the pitch this time and The Red Devils must look for a different goalscorer as the Englishman has scored four of all five goals scored by Manchester United in their last three matches against The Blades.

Sheffield United Betting Preview

Inspired by their strong performances and results against Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, or why not even their game in the defeat against Liverpool earlier in the season, Sheffield United will be keen to upset the most successful English club in the Premier League era.

The Blades go into this match having yet to play a draw at Bramall Lane. They either win or lose their home matches – having won three and lost the other three games there this season.

Chris Wilder’s men will be passionate about the upcoming challenge as they clearly enjoy the Premier League reality, unlike other newly-promoted sides. In their last two home games they managed to beat Burnley 3-0 and Arsenal 1-0, bouncing back following three consecutive home defeats, including an unfortunate loss to leaders Liverpool.

While goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who has been called up to the England squad by Gareth Southgate, cannot play against his parent club, center-back John Egan remains questionable as the Irishman picked up an injury in the international break. If Egan doesn’t recover in time here, veteran Phil Jagielka should fill the gap in Sheffield United’s center-back trio.

The Blades have conceded just four goals in six Premier League home games and if they can stop Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford here, they’ll likely stop United from scoring. However, if John Egan doesn’t start, Chris Wilder will have to rotate his back-three and although he’s a really experienced player, the 37-years-old Phil Jagielka is past his prime and we’re not really sure how would their defense perform without such a fundamental player.

Simon Moore should start in goal as the 29-years-old goalkeeper is set to make his Premier League debut. This could be another potential threat to their stability and we’re not sure how would a goalkeeping rotation affect their sync right now.

Elsewhere, French striker Lys Mousset was in brilliant form (scoring two goals and adding three assists in his last four appearances) before the international break and will surely get the nod on Sunday. He will be joined by one of Callum Robinson and David McGoldrick in Sheffield United’s 3-5-2 formation.

Manchester United Betting Preview

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side showed signs of improvement prior to the international break but they fail to win two league games in a row since the victories over Crystal Palace and Southampton on February 27 and March 2 respectively.

Nevertheless, Manchester United have won five of their last six matches across all competitions, which includes a 2-1 League Cup win at Chelsea last month, as well as the two Europa League wins over Partizan Belgrade and the Premier League victories against Norwich City (away) and Brighton (home) – both 3-1.

Meanwhile, The Red Devils lost their last match on the road – 1-0 at AFC Bournemouth – and have won just one of their last 10 Premier League away games, losing six in the process. This has to be their worst Premier League away form since ages and we can remember Manchester United winning just once in 9 Premier League away games between February and September 2001, when they eventually finished third.

If Ole can lead United to the third position, well, this would be quite an achievement but they must dramatically improve in all fields, especially in attack. Indeed, progress can be seen as the Red Devils have scored three goals in two of their last three Premier League matches compared to just one match with them scoring more than one in the opening nine games.

Solskjaer has confirmed defender Marcos Rojo and midfielder Scott McTominay have joined Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Diogo Dalot and Paul Pogba on the sidelines. Considering McTominay’s absence, Nemanja Matic is expected to start in midfield, even though the Serb himself is doubtful for this match.

Marcus Rashford continued his superb form while playing for England as he has netted nine goals in his last 10 appearances for club and country. The 22-years-old Manchester United academy graduate will provide the biggest threat to the home side and Rashford will be supported by Daniel James and Anthony Martial.

Depending on the good partnership between Rashford and Martial alone won’t be enough as the whole team needs to play as a unit in order to succeed. However, it could be a good starting point and if Manchester United’s back four, especially their center-back pairing, also function well, the Red Devils have all chances to claim the three points at Bramall Lane.

Possible Starting Lineups of Sheffield United and Manchester United

Sheffield United: Simon Moore – Chris Basham, John Egan, Jack O’Connell – George Baldock, John Lundstram, Oliver Norwood, John Fleck, Enda Stevens – Lys Mousset, David McGoldrick. (3-5-2)

Manchester United: David de Gea – Ashley Young, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Fred, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira – Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Daniel James. (4-3-3)

Betting Prediction

Manchester United’s away form has not been good it has to be and facing a tricky Sheffield United side is not one of the easiest teams to play against.

The Red Devils have the better players when it comes to individual quality, no doubt, but it remains to be seen which Manchester United side will show up for this match? The one that beat Norwich and Chelsea a few weeks ago or the one that lost to Newcastle and Bournemouth earlier this season?

Contrary to all expectations for a tough matchup, we expect Manchester United to extend their winning streak against Sheffield United. We’re not saying they’ll have an easy game here but they can claim another important three points.

Spooky Express Free Play: Manchester United +114 @ BetOnline for 5/10 Units

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