Manchester United vs Sheffield United - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Manchester United made a positive return to action and will be targeting its first win of the restart
- Things have not gone to plan for Sheffield United in its two games back so far
- The host should edge a tight encounter to boost its Champions League chances
|What||Manchester United vs Sheffield United|
|Where||Old Trafford, Manchester, England|
|When||Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 1 PM EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
At the midway point of Friday’s meeting with Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United found itself a goal down after a rather tame first-half performance. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side was facing the prospect of a ninth defeat of the campaign. At the same stage of last season, which finished with United down in sixth place, it had been beaten only six times.
But United came out fighting in the second period and deservedly took a point from the match. Bruno Fernandes was the man who grabbed the equalizer from the penalty spot after some fine work from Paul Pogba, who delivered an eye-catching cameo appearance from the bench. United fans are now excited to see the two midfielders in the same starting XI for the first time, which is likely to happen for the visit of Sheffield United on Wednesday.
The Blades have played twice since the Premier League’s resumption, and the club’s supporters would have been hoping for at least four points from trips to Aston Villa and Newcastle United – a return which would have it in fifth place ahead of its third consecutive away game.
Instead, Chris Wilder’s side drew with Villa and lost 3-0 to Newcastle in an uncharacteristically poor defensive performance. Sheffield United has still conceded fewer goals than any team but Liverpool this season, yet the absence of John Egan and Jack O’Connell from Wednesday’s clash with Manchester United is cause for concern – as was the way in which United’s backline was pulled apart by a Newcastle attack that is usually goal-shy.
Manchester United vs Sheffield United Odds
|To win to nil||Odds|
Odds taken from BetMGM.
It would be a stretch to say that Sheffield United’s lofty position is entirely down to its strong defense, but it is certainly true that its attacking numbers are not what you would expect from a team positioned in the top seven after 30 matches. Wilder’s men have scored only 30 goals in 2019/20 – fewer than six teams in the bottom half of the table.
The Blades’ lack of cutting edge up top will probably prove costly in the race for the Champions League places, particularly as Sheffield United has a tough schedule across the final eight games. With Manchester United boasting the joint-fourth best defensive record in the Premier League, back it to win to nil on Wednesday.
Manchester United’s Defense Has Got Stronger As the Season Has Gone On
Harry Maguire and David de Gea were both culpable for Steven Bergwijn’s opening goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But United did not give up many scoring opportunities during the match and would surely have kept a clean sheet had De Gea not made a mess of Bergwijn’s admittedly fierce shot.
The Spanish goalkeeper has had another difficult campaign and Solskjaer may consider bringing Dean Henderson, who has excelled between the sticks for Sheffield United this term, back to Old Trafford this summer to compete for the No.1 jersey. Yet despite De Gea’s shakiness, only three teams have conceded fewer goals than Manchester United in 2019/20.
The Red Devils have not always looked solid at the back. They conceded twice each to Crystal Palace and West Ham United – two teams which are hardly known for their firepower – in the first half of the campaign. And they were continually carved apart by Sheffield United in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane in November.
But since a 2-0 defeat by Burnley in January, United has kept four clean sheets in six games and conceded only two goals. That bodes well ahead of its return to Old Trafford this week.
Sheffield United Looks to Be Running Out of Steam After Brilliant Campaign
Even if Sheffield United drops into the bottom half of the table, it has had a superb season. Widely tipped to be relegated last summer, Wilder’s side has exceeded expectations and, as things stand, remains very much part of the battle for European qualification.
Wilder will have been concerned by his team’s last two displays, however. United created little in a 0-0 draw at Villa Park, even if it was unfortunate that a goal-line technology malfunction denied it a first-half goal. And its attack was also ineffective against Newcastle, giving it a combined xG of 0.81 across its first two games back.
Manchester United Could Be Transformed By Pogba-Fernandes Partnership
Manchester United, on the other hand, has much optimism to take from its attack. Marcus Rashford and Pogba are fit again, and the latter’s partnership with Fernandes – who has been magnificent since his January arrival – will no doubt make United much more inventive in forward areas.
There is still room for improvement, with Anthony Martial inconsistent and Daniel James having dropped off in recent months, but Solskjaer will be pleased with where his side is at right now.
Back Manchester United to win to nil here – Sheffield United has struggled for goals and Solskjaer’s charges have a strong defensive record.