Brighton v Sheffield United: Blades can maintain their unbeaten away record
Sheffield United are unbeaten on the road this season, and Alan Dudman is backing them to gain a result against Brighton this Saturday...
Brighton and Hove Albion v Sheffield United Saturday 21st December, 15:00
New contract and new style as Potter's project continues
The words "Potter" and "magic" tend to go hand in hand, and whilst Graham hasn't quite got Brighton to box office territory making miracles, the fruits of his labour this term have been rewarded two-fold. Personally in the shape of a new two-year contract extension that takes the 44-year-old to 2025. But more importantly for the club; the ethos and positive style of play.
Earlier in the season I felt Brighton's good possession play wasn't quite being rewarded with points. That's changed since October and Potter's willingness to attack teams is a good sign. There was an element of the "old" Brighton on Monday in the 1-1 draw in the M23 derby at Crystal Palace. The Albion enjoyed most of the ball and dominated the game, but they had to settle for a point against an opponent who slung in plenty of long balls into the box.
Now on 20 points, can the entertainment value be converted into a more ambitious league position? It must also be remembered they have played well at Anfield and beat Arsenal 2-1 in north London. That at least addressed the Seagulls' dreadful record against a "Big Six" side.
Blades still unbeaten on their travels
Sheffield United have been something of a success story this term, and it's a common theme played out on these pages by my betting.betfair.com colleagues in praising the work of Chris Wilder. So far it has been a magic season, he's Potter, Copperfield and The Great Soprendo all in one.
For the newly-promoted Blades to remain unbeaten on their travels this term is a wonderful achievement for Wilder and his squad. The key ingredient has been their tremendous resilience; as they have fought back from conceding plenty of times this season to rescue a point. Wilder's system is well-known as the 3-5-2 formation with the attacking emphasis on the wing-backs George Baldock and Enda Stevens - and their delivery is excellent.
The worry moving further forward is if teams work out how to play against them.
United are now in seventh with 25 points and have already gained more points this season on the road (12) than they did in their previous top-flight campaign.
Back United using the Double Chance option
The Blades have been the draw specialists this term (especially away from Bramall Lane), so it's no surprise backers of that bet might expect to take a slight hit with the price floating around the 3.30 for the match outright market. That still gives plenty of scope to trade as this could be quite a cagey first-half between the two. Rather than back the Draw, the Correct Score 1-1 bet looks more appealing there, as the Yorkshire club have netted four 1-1s this term on the road.
Delving deeper into the particular option of the draw; United struggled a bit in their first half displays against Aston Villa and Norwich, but they responded superbly in the second 45 to go and win the game. So "getting out" of your Draw bet before half time is most certainly an option.
I'll touch on Brighton's price shortly, but Sheffield United at 3.70 looks quite attractive. Yes, they have drawn six on the road, but they have failed to score away from home just once - and that was against the pragmatists Watford (0-0). They look a bit more unpredictable at Bramall Lane - which is why I think backing the visitors here for a result looks the best bet.
The Yorkshire club are so well-drilled and organised I think we need to keep them onside; and for that reason we should look to back the visitors on the Double Chance market both away or draw. Those traits have helped them maintain their unbeaten record away this term, and only Liverpool can match that.
Brighton's home record of W3 D3 L2 translates to a 2.30 home win. Potter's side were 2.78 against Wolves recently and that was a tremendously entertaining game with plenty of high -tempo action and goals in a 2-2.
Maupay and Fleck the two dangermen
The in-form players in terms of scoring for both teams have been Neil Maupay and John Fleck. The former has proved to be an excellent addition from Brentford, and I suspect many other clubs that were linked with the Frenchman in the summer are now kicking themselves. Maupay has scored seven of Brighton's 21 PL goals this season - and he could become the first player to score in four consecutive matches in the top-flight for the south coast club.
He's also got a bit of devil in him and he's brought a new dimension to Albion's play.
For layers in the To Score market, brave souls might want to take on David McGoldrick. Before the Norwich game he had more shots (28) without scoring - which is more than any other player in the Premier League. It's personally not for me, as he'll be a bit out of my laying remit, but layers are needed to make a market, and you can click here to find more about laying.