Sheffield United v West Ham: Blades worth opposing against Hammers
Bramall Lane stages the first Premier League game of the weekend and Dave Tindall is here to guide you through Friday evening's showdown...
Sheffield United v West Ham Friday 10 January, 20:00 Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Blades hoping to bounce back
Sheffield United have lost their last two Premier League games but there's a rather large caveat that comes with that statement. The defeats were away to the two best sides in the land (sorry Leicester) and both came over a busy festive period when said teams had far more resources to draw upon than Chris Wilder.
What's more, those defeats at Manchester City and Liverpool were hardly hammerings - a pair of 2-0 defeats from which the Blades emerged with their 'hard to beat' reputation still intact.
The ended the craziness of Christmas and New Year still in the top eight and their 29-point tally is just two back from fifth-placed Manchester United.
In theory, this is a good chance to return to winning ways, with West Ham eight places below in 16th.
Moyes enjoying early bounce
"That's what I do. I win," said David Moyes in his first press conference back at West Ham. Eyebrows were raised given that in his first spell in charge of the Hammers in 2017/18, he'd managed just nine of them in 31 games.
However, it was Moyes who had the last laugh as a rejuvenated West Ham cruised to a 4-0 triumph over Bournemouth.
The Moyes 'bounce' continued with a 2-0 FA Cup win at Gillingham, making it six goals scored and none conceded in his two games.
You can't argue with that and, having kept West Ham up a couple of seasons ago, Moyes is certainly going about it the right way.
Sheffield United have done brilliantly so far and eighth place doesn't flatter them. But, without doubt, holes can be picked in their home form which shows four wins, two draws and four losses.
Two of the four defeats have come against Southampton and Newcastle while Watford also took a point so they've struggled to deliver when expected to against bottom-half sides.
It all means they look shaky odds-on shots and I'm willing to lay Sheffield United at 1.98. West Ham are 4.50 to get the win and there's some merit taking that price.
They've picked up more points on the road than at home this season and, in all comps, the Hammers won three of their last five games (at Chelsea, Southampton and Gillingham) away from home.
The Draw is 3.60 and that makes sense too as Wilder's side are always competitive.
At the prices, I can't quite decide between a stalemate and a West Ham win but, of course, I don't have to. And that's why opposing the hosts is the way to go.
Under 2.5 goals clear and logical favourite
Sheffield United are an Unders team and that's something of an understatement. Under 2.5 goals has landed in 14 of their last 17 Premier League matches, the outlier the 3-3 draw at home to Manchester United.
Moyes has tightened up West Ham although, to be fair, they were fairly robust on the road anyway.
Here's a surprising stat: West Ham have conceded fewer goals (13) away from home than Manchester City (14) and only Liverpool, Leicester and Friday night's opponents have been harder to breach on their travels.
Under 2.5 backers certainly have all the stats onside to have a wager at 1.86. Contrarians can get 2.12 for Over 2.5.
Both teams to Score is more of a conundrum and that's shown by the prices of 1.92 for Yes and 2.02 for No. If playing that market, I'd lean towards the latter.
Limited appeal in scorer markets
Sheffield United are one of the lowest scorers at home with just 12 goals in 10 matches.
Lys Mousset is their leading marksman but only two of his five goals have come in front of the Bramall Lane faithful and they aren't the numbers you want for someone rated as the most likely scorer at 2.32.
Of more appeal is John Fleck as all four of his goals have come at home so 3.85 is far more palatable.
For West Ham, skipper Mark Noble scored twice in Moyes' first game back and is 8.80. That certainly looks big given that he'll be on penalty duties again although his only away goal this season came back in August.
Sebastian Haller is a more obvious pick at 3.70.
He also scored against Bournemouth and now has two in his last five following a dry spell (just one goal in 13 games) between September and early December.
Sheffield United have only lost three consecutive league games under Chris Wilder once previously, losing three in a row in the Championship in December 2017.