Wolves v Sheffield United: Blades can hold their own again to frustrate hosts
Simon Mail previews Sunday's match between Wolves and Sheffield United with both sides sitting handily in the top half of the Premier League...
Wolves v Sheffield United
Wolves on the rise after slow start
Wolves failed to win their first six Premier League games of the season but Nuno Espirito Santo's side have responded superbly to this sluggish start. An eight-match unbeaten run in the competition has seen Wolves climb up to fifth in the table. Their Europa League programme was probably a factor in their early results but the form, which saw them finish seventh, following promotion last season has returned.
Derby rivals Aston Villa were beaten in Wolves' last home game before a 2-1 victory at Bournemouth last weekend with goals from Joao Moutinho and the in-form striker Raul Jimenez. Nuno's exceptional record at Wolves has not gone unnoticed with the Portuguese coach favourite to replace Arsenal boss Unai Emery if he is sacked. Wolves qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League after claiming a 3-3 draw in Braga on Thursday night.
Sharp Blades excelling in top flight under Wilder
Sheffield United's performances and results, since their promotion to the Premier League last season, have been nothing short of outstanding. Chris Wilder has again proved himself to be one of the best coaches in the country, guiding his beloved Blades into sixth position in the top flight. It is a remarkable feat, on a limited budget, with the pre-season relegation favourites well on their way to maintaining their status.
Their away record is particularly impressive with Sheffield United one of just two teams, alongside leaders Liverpool, to be unbeaten. The Blades also almost pulled off a memorable home win against Manchester United last Sunday. Leading 2-0 going into the final 20 minutes, the hosts were stunned after conceding three quick goals but substitute Oli McBurnie delighted the Bramall Lane crowd with a late equaliser to draw 3-3.
Draw stands out as the best bet
Wolves are 1.97 favourites but there are reasons to be wary about siding with the hosts. With just two wins from six home matches in the league, these odds fail to stack up. True, Wolves are in a rich vein of current form but they have not won regularly enough, only four times in the competition, and are coming up against tricky opponents.
Sheffield United are 4.70 to claim three points at Molineux and this has to be considered based on their performances this season. The visitors have yet to lose away but it must also be added have claimed only one victory. Their six-match unbeaten run merits respect but the best bet by some distance is to back the draw.
Wolves and Sheffield United are the draw specialists this season and another stalemate is likely this weekend. The hosts have been held a league-leading seven times in just 13 matches while the Blades have drawn six games. It becomes even more compelling when seeing that Sheffield United have drawn five of their six away fixtures and half of Wolves' home games have ended level. The draw is 3.55 and is a no-brainer based on the teams' results this season.
Both teams likely to score in stalemate
This is unlikely to be a goalless draw with Wolves scoring in their last 12 league matches. Sheffield United have only failed to find the net in one of their away matches this season and will expect to create opportunities. Wolves' last five league outings have seen both teams score along with three of the visitors' last four games. It is surprising to see both teams to score available at 11/10 and this looks generously priced considering their track records.
Jimenez has scored in three consecutive Premier League games - the only Wolves player to achieve four in a row in the competition is Henri Camara, who struck in five consecutive appearances in April 2004. Jimenez is 7/5 to net for the fourth successive match this weekend.
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