The 34th round of matches in the Barclays Premier League brings us a battle of the overachievers as surprise European candidates Sheffield United and Wolves meet on Wednesday evening. Both sides need a win to keep their European hopes alive, with a Champions League spot still within Wolves’ reach.
The enforced break was an unwelcome blow for both sides who were in fantastic form before the global pandemic ground things to a halt. We’ve taken a look at past meetings between these two sides, this season’s form and the stats to come up with our betting tips for this one.
By the standards they had set themselves before the enforced break, Sheffield United had a pretty rough start when the league resumed, as they failed to win their first 3 games. They kicked-off the restart with a drab away draw to Aston Villa before slumping to two consecutive 3-0 away defeats against Newcastle and Man United respectively. Things picked up in the 4th round of fixtures when the Blades finally returned to Bramall lane as they recorded a high profile 3-1 victory over Spurs before following it up with a hard fought 1-1 away draw against Burnley.
Compared to their hosts, Wolves started off well following the league’s resumption, as they recorded 3 wins on the trot. While 3 from 3 is undeniably impressive, all of those wins came against relegation battling sides; when their first game against a direct European place competitor at the weekend, they slumped to a 2-0 home defeat against an inconsistent Arsenal side. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side undoubtedly posses the quality to turn over almost any side in the premier league, but this midweek match will provide a tough test against a Blades side with a decent home record this season.
The sides have not faced off all that often over the years, with promotion and relegation keeping the two apart in recent seasons. The Premier League encounter back in December was a fair illustration of both sides’ qualities and frailties; a high-flying Blades side opened the scoring within two minutes thanks to French marksman Lys Mousset, but Wolves’ patience ended up paying off as Matt Doherty grabbed an equaliser shortly after the hour mark. There is likely to be a similarly narrow margin here in the return.
The past 5 meetings between these two sides have taken place in 3 different leagues; League One, the Championship and the Premier League. In the 2017/18 season, when Wolves went on to emphatically win the league and gain promotion, each side won their home game to nil in their 2 respective meetings. The sides then spent a season apart before Sheffield United got promoted last season. In their only Premier League meeting to date, which took place at Molineux back in December, the sides shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
Having analysed the above information, we think that this is going to be a tightly fought contest, that’s almost too tough to call. With so little between the sides, we’re backing a draw this Wednesday evening.
Their 1-1 draw earlier in the season was absolutely no fluke, both sides look incredibly evenly matched, with similar defensive qualities and attacking prowess. Perhaps the only difference maker you could point out is that Wolves have a couple of potential match winning players in the form of Adama Traoré and Raul Jimenez.
That being said, Chris Wilder’s side managed to steady the ship in their first home game of the season against Spurs, so it’s difficult to see Wolves managing to turn them over at home – even without their roaring fanbase behind them.
Our betting tip for this week is therefore a straightforward draw, which you can place on odds of 3.2 with Betfred. With generous odds of 4.2, we also wouldn’t discourage anyone from betting on a slender Sheffield United win if you’re looking for a larger potential return.