Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire shares his three favourite fancies from Tuesday night’s action with the Premier League and EFL under the spotlight.
Sharp Blades To Keep City In-Check
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder urged his players to “turn a really good story into a fantastic one” after his side’s outstanding first season back in the Premier League continued with a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.
The Blades were in League One when Wilder took charge three-and-a-half years ago but are now in contention for European football after a fine top-flight campaign. United were typically organised and threatening throughout at the Emirates but looked set for defeat until Wilder’s attacking substitutions were rewarded with a deflected late leveller.
David McGoldrick missed that match but is contention to return on Tuesday night as Sheff Utd prepare to welcome red-hot favourites Manchester City to Bramall Lane. The Irish international has yet to score a Premier League goal but remains a key cog in Wilder’s preferred XI with his physicality, hold-up play and movement paramount in possession.
With or without McGoldrick, the Blades should be expected to give City a competitive contest. Remarkably, the hosts have not lost by more than two goals in any of their 23 fixtures; runaway league leaders Liverpool were given a stern examination in the Steel City in September, relying on an error from keeper Dean Henderson to clinch a hard-fought win.
United are masters in containment – keeping all bar five of their league fixtures to fewer than three goals – and have the recent pedigree for giving City a tough night’s work. Pep Guardiola’s group sealed a 2-0 triumph at the Etihad last month but were restricted to only four shots on target in that encounter, whilst also losing the Expected Goals (xG) battle.
The Citizens were frustrated once more on Saturday with a 2-2 home draw against Crystal Palace as their defensive deficiencies again came under criticism.
The visitors’ suspect backline means Guardiola’s outfit are regularly requiring at least two goals to triumph this term, a feat that will prove far from straightforward at Bramall Lane.
Considering Sheffield United have suffered defeat by a margin of two goals or more just four times since promotion – only once at Bramall Lane – I’m happy to support the hosts with a +1.50 Asian Handicap start at 1.78 quotes, knowing we’ll be paid out should the Blades earn a victory, a share of the spoils, or even lose Tuesday’s tussle by a solitary strike.
Goals In Short Supply At Goodison
Everton have pulled clear of Premier League relegation trouble since Marco Silva departed. The Toffees have suffered a sole reverse in seven outings (W4-D3-L1) – 2-1 at Manchester City – and have moved into the relative safety of mid-table.
The Merseysiders remain a work in progress but are reliable operators at their Goodison Park base. Only four clubs have picked up more home points than Everton in 2019/20 and Carlo Ancelotti’s troops will be fancied to enhance that excellent record when Newcastle arrive on Tuesday evening.
The hosts have taken top honours in 10 of their past 16 league fixtures here since the Spring, silencing their guests on 10 occasions. With the Toon rock-bottom in ratio rankings for shots, on-target strikes, efforts inside the penalty area, Expected Goals (xG), xG from open play, touches inside the box and possession, it’s no surprise to see Everton heavily odds-on.
However, Richarlison is a doubt for the midweek match and the Toffees have struck just six times in seven matches under Ancelotti’s watch. Everton have seen Under 2.5 Goals land in six of their most recent seven in front of their home supporters and Newcastle’s preference for defensive, low-block football out of possession may ensure another low-scoring contest.
Magpies boss Steve Bruce makes no apology for setting his team up to be hard to beat and his tactics paid off handsomely on Saturday when Isaac Hayden’s injury-time goal sealed a memorable 1-0 victory at home to Chelsea. The Toon will look to utilise a similar game-plan at Goodison against an Everton side that often lacks attacking inspiration and penetration.
Only three of the Toffees’ 11 Premier League matches this season have produced three or more goals and so it makes sense to support Under 2.5 Goals at almost even-money.
Keep Resurgent Tykes Onside
Had the Championship campaign started when Gerhard Struber took charge at Barnsley, the Tykes would be sitting pretty in 16th. The Austrian has overseen an impressive resurgence at Oakwell (W4-D3-L5) even if results haven’t always backed up the Reds’ obvious on-field improvements under the former Wolfsberger boss.
That was the case on Saturday when Barnsley were beaten 1-0 at Bristol City despite winning the shot count 16-10, narrowly losing the Expected Goals (xG) battle and enjoying 58% possession. Struber was full of praise for his relegation battlers, bemoaning only their lack of clinical edge at Ashton Gate in defeat.
Nevertheless, I’d expect a front-foot response from Barnsley and a return home should give Struber’s side a boost. The Reds’ outings at Oakwell under the Austrian have proven pretty consistent with the Tykes taking W3-D2-L0 here in league action; that means the hosts have now been beaten just once in their last nine Championship matches here (W3-D5-L1).
The Reds are a joy to behold when in full flow; their relentless tenacity, attack-minded approach and diamond midfield system often leaving visitors dumfounded and flailing.
Goals are rarely a concern in South Yorkshire either with Barnsley averaging 1.71 goals-per-game at Oakwell, whilst also bagging the second-highest overall tally in the bottom-10.
With that in mind, I’m happy to support the Tykes off a scratch 0 start on the Asian Handicap at 1.98 against Preston. North End ended a six-game winless run with a scratchy 2-1 success at home to injury-hit Charlton and Alex Neil’s men have proven far from reliable road trippers this term (W2-D5-L6), boasting the poorest away return in the top-14.
The guests have grabbed only eight goals in those 13 away days, averaging just 0.47 Expected Goals (xG) from open play, and Neil described his own team’s recent displays as “patchy”. A return for Ben Pearson should add bite to the Lilywhites midfield but the odds are still a little too skewed in Preston’s favour here and I’m happy to oppose the visitors.
- Sheffield United +1.50 – 3 units @ 1.78
- Under 2.5 Goals in Everton v Newcastle 2 units @ 1.96
- Barnsley +0 Asian Handicap – 3 units @ 1.98