It is very tight at the top of the Championship, with a win here, West Brom can move up to first from fourth, on goal difference, as long as other results go their way. Sheffield United will feel this is a perfect opportunity to leapfrog Yorkshire rivals Leeds and league leaders Norwich.
West Brom v Sheffield United
Saturday 23rd of February, 17:30
West Brom need to stop drawing…
At the Hawthorns recently, West Brom seem to have stalled. They have only picked up one win in the last six home matches in all competitions. In this period they have picked up four draws and one loss to Middlesbrough. It is yet unclear who will be promoted from the EFL Championship this year, but West Brom can vindicate their promotion aspirations with a win here, but it would mean turning round their tepid home form. Darren Moore seems to have found the answer away from home, with West Brom only losing once in nine away matches in the league.
Despite his side not performing as well at home, Darren Moore’s West Brom have averaged more goals per game at the Hawthorns this season. On average West Brom score 2.31 goals per game whilst playing at home, but have averaged only 1.76 goals per game when playing away. West Brom have only failed to score on three occasions in the league this year.
The main issue that West Brom’s promotion aspirations have is the side’s inability to keep goals out. West Brom have only picked up six clean sheets in thirty-three matches both home and away. This has led them to conceding on average 1.27 goals per game home and away this season.
Season defining game for United…
This clash will have bearing on whether Sheffield United are promoted at the end of the season. Currently the Yorkshire club sits in second in the league but due to the low points spread between the teams fighting for promotion in the top six, a loss here could see Sheffield United overtaken by several teams. At the same time, the away side could end the day as league leaders. Only one point separates United from West Brom, and goal difference is the only thing that splits Leeds United and Sheffield United at this point in the league.
It is likely that this will be a high scoring match, as Sheffield United have only failed to score once in six league matches, as well as West Brom having an improved goal record whilst playing at home. Sheffield United has only picked up two clean sheets in six matches. In the away side’s last six away matches, three have ended with both teams scoring. Coupling this with West Brom’s record of five home games out of six ending with both teams scoring, it would be likely for this to occur on Saturday.
In the last six away matches, Sheffield United have only picked up two wins and three draws. The away side have an away win ratio of only 44%. The Blades have struggled with playing away from Brammall Lane this season and it has been due to conceding a high volume of away goals. On average, United concede 1.32 goals per game when playing away but when they play at Brammall Lane, they only concede 0.76 goals per game.
Suspensions could be on their way…
Apart from Mason Holgate running the risk of a one match suspension if he picks up another yellow card, West Brom only have one injury hindering them in the game against Sheffield United. James Morrison is ruled out of the match due to a long term ankle injury.
Sheffield United will be without the defensive trio; George Baldock due to a knock picked up in the Middlesbrough game, Jack O’Connell due to an injury sustained in the Aston Villa game and Jake Wright who has been ruled out long term due to a broken cheekbone.
Tight match expected…
The home side have been made slight 11/8 favourites to get the win on Saturday. Sheffield have been given odds of 15/8 to get a win. I would side with the bookies in this one as I feel that West Brom are stronger at home than what Sheffield are away from home. However It will be a tight affair, with plenty of goal action throughout the ninety minutes. To insure against a draw occurring I would recommend a West Brom to win or draw bet which has odds of 4/11 which would be more suited on an accumulator.
Sheffield United have shown themselves to be a very direct side, utilising the services of Billy Sharp well this season with the English striker picking up twenty-two goals in the league this year. The striker has recently signed a new contract with the Blades, I believe he will repay the United board’s trust with a goal on Saturday. For Billy Sharp to score anytime, the bookies will give you odds of 13/8.
With Sheffield United picking up few clean sheets recently and West Brom showing with their home goal average that they can get goals, I would forecast multiple goals to be scored which adds value to the over or under goal market. For over 2.5 goals to be scored you can get odds of around 17/20. Tying in a home win, you can see these odds increase to 11/4.
Another worthwhile market would be the both teams to score market. Where you can get odds of 6/10 for both teams to score or if you add a West Brom win, you can get odds of 7/2.
West Brom to win or draw (4/11)
Over 2.5 goals (17/20)
Billy Sharp to score anytime (13/8)