A midweek delight from the English Premier League as Sheffield United welcome champions Manchester City to town for a tie that will be shown live on BT Sport from 19:30 GMT on Tuesday evening. This is one of five English top league matches that receives the live TV treatment this midweek before the FA Cup takes over at the weekend. A chance for armchair fans to catch up on their favourite teams and sports bettors to boost their bank balance.
Sheffield United face the unenviable task of hosting a side chasing three league titles on the bounce but, if we have learned anything from the first half of this season it’s that Man City are far from at their best. The Cityzens are well off the pace set by leaders Liverpool and The Blades may just fancy their chances at springing an upset. Will they get the desired result? Bookmakers don’t think so but that certainly won’t put the home team off. Read on as we preview the match, pick through the current betting odds then offer our tips and predictions.
Blades Have Been Razor Sharp
Sheffield United came up from the Championship last season as runners up and was expected, like so many promoted teams, to struggle with life in the top tier. Norwich City, who won the Championship in 2019, are fighting relegation, as are Aston Villa who came through the playoffs. That isn’t the case for Sheff Utd, The Blades have been impressive so far and are pushing for a European place, rather than fighting against demotion back to the second rung. The team bought well in the summer while keeping many of their best players. They work as a team and have already sprung a surprise or two this season.
The team went into 2020 with high spirits. The coaching staff and board would have sat down back in the summer and set beating relegation as their main aim this term. The club has already achieved that and, thanks to the great form shown in the first half, everyone gathered back around the negotiating table to update the goals. There is now no reason why Sheffield United won’t go on to grab a European finish this term. There is still a lot of football to be played but the least fans can expect now is a top 10 end. That would rate as a massive achievement for the club and it would help boost their transfer kitty.
They give themselves any chance of qualifying for the Europa League, the Sheffield United board must back their manager with hard cash in January. The team are performing well but could do with a new signing or two to help build momentum. They scored 24 goals in their first 22 games, conceding 21. The latter is a decent effort, but the club could do with the kind of striker that will score important goals and turn one point into three. Work done in January will have a massive say in where Sheff Utd finish this season. Bookies have the home win priced at 8/1 (888Sport) and that looks to be on the generous side. There is sure to be bits and pieces of attention on that one.
City will Keep Fighting
Manchester City went into the title race looking to land a third Premier League title in three years. They were odds-on with the bookies and plenty of money came for Pep Guardiola’s team. Things haven’t gone to plan so far, however, and the market has switched Man City with runway leaders Liverpool. The Reds have barely put a foot wrong so far, leaving Man City, Leicester and Chelsea choking in their dust. They will win the league and Man City will have to contend for second place behind Jurgen Klopp’s boys.
That leaves Man City to concentrate on the Champions League and domestic cups. Some are saying the team should put their focus on Europe and leave the league to Liverpool. That’s unlikely to happen, however. Man City will aim to put a winning run of form together, picking up points and staying on the tails of Liverpool. If The Reds do wobble between now and the finish line, dropping points, Man City must be there to make them pay.
It would take a big effort for the champions to retain their crown, but it won’t be written off until it is mathematically impossible. That’s not the City way. The away win is favourite, no more than 4/11 offered by Ladbrokes. That’s one for your midweek accumulators.