Friday, August 7, 2020

Prediction: Sheffield United vs Tottenham

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

In a battle between two sides who still have a European finish on their agenda, Tottenham will make the trip to an empty Bramall Lane on Thursday evening.

Sheffield United

Starting with the hosts, crashing out of the FA Cup in dramatic fashion late on against Arsenal over the weekend, Sheffield United have really struggled to find their feet since returning from the enforced break. Watching Burnley leapfrog them in the table and with their fading European ambitions taking what could be a critical blow, Chris Wilder’s men have lost their last three matchups across all competitions and have managed to land just a sole point since marking their top-flight return last month. With that run highlighted by what most branded a season-worst display in a 3-0 drumming at St. James’ Park, the Premier League returners also saw Manchester United blow them away with an identical scoreline at Old Trafford last week. Even more worrying for fans around Sheffield, the Blades have failed to record a single strike since returning to action and have only mustered three shots on target. However, Wilder will take some solace from his side’s eye-catching Premier League record at Bramall Lane. Aside from a 1-0 defeat against Manchester City back in January, Thursday’s hosts are unbeaten in their other six top-flight matches on home soil.

Team News

Sheffield United midfielder John Lundstram is a doubt because of the shoulder injury that forced him off against Arsenal on Sunday.

Defender Jack O’Connell is nearing a return after sitting out all four of their matches since the restart with a knee issue.

Tottenham

As for the visitors, picking up a 2-0 win against London rivals and relegation scrappers West Ham last week, Spurs are a side simply seeking some much-needed stability. Still dreaming of bringing some form of European football back to North London for next year, Jose Mourinho’s side have failed to win any of their other seven matchups across all competitions, a run highlighted by a woeful 4-0 aggregate hammering against German outfit RB Leipzig while on Champions League duties. If the former Manchester United boss is to guide his side to back-to-back victories for the first time since February, then Spurs will be desperate to make some alterations on the road. Aside from the most dramatic of late winners at Villa Park prior to the break, Thursday’s guests have failed to win any of their other eight away contests across all formats. While Spurs might have struggled to find their feet defensively since bringing in Mourinho back in November, he would have been glad to see Harry Kane make a return to goalscoring ways last week. Finding the net against the Hammers and bagging his first goal of 2020, the England skipper has now recorded scored 137 goals in 200 appearances for Spurs in the Premier League – the only player in the competition’s history to have scored more after 200 games for a club is Sergio Aguero.

Team News

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho is still without Japhet Tanganga, who has a back injury.

Fellow defender Juan Foyth also remains on the sidelines.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Along with playing out a 1-1 draw when the two sides faced off earlier in the season, Sheffield United and Spurs have now played out back-to-back stalemates against each other.
  • Sheffield United have been hit with back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Newcastle and Manchester United while on Premier League duties.
  • The Blades have failed to record a single top-flight goal since returning from the enforced break.
  • Spurs have managed to win just one of their previous eight matches across all competitions.
  • Tottenham have landed just a sole Premier League win outside of North London since the middle of December.

Conclusion

While Tottenham may have managed to pick up a 2-0 win against a struggling West Ham last week, it does not cover what has been a worrying blip for Spurs. Showing some continued issues on the road and with just a sole away win to their name since opening 2020, chances could come at a real premium in midweek. With the Blades also in the midst of what has been their most testing spell of the season so far, Chris Wilder’s side have really struggled to find their feet since returning to action. Yet to record a single Premier League strike since returning last month, we’re backing a cagey encounter at Bramall Lane on Thursday.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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