Sheff Utd vs Birmingham City – Match Preview – On the back of one of the most remarkable matches of the season, Sheffield United host relegation-threatened Birmingham City trying to maintain their surprising promotion push.
No one expected Tuesday’s Sheffield United and Fulham clash to produce nine goals, especially with the solid defensive record achieved so far by Chris Wilder’s team, but that’s exactly what happened.
Both Leon Clarke for the Blades and youngster Ryan Sessegnon for The Cottagers scored hat-tricks in a match where United nearly produced an astonishing comeback with two injury time goals, but it was too little too late.
Still, if you had offered most Blades fans 3rd place and just one point away from the automatic promotion places after 18 matches in their first season back in the Championship they would have bitten your hand off. Overall, they have been excellent.
Birmingham City’s latest result and season are completely contrasting to Sheffield United’s, a very poor campaign to date has seen Harry Redknapp relieved of his duties and Steve Cotterill instilled as the man to dig The Blues out of a dire hole.
However, after another poor run of form with no wins in over a month, a much-needed victory over Nottingham Forest at St. Andrews on Tuesday has taken City out of the relegation zone for the first time in a long period.
History says there can be reason for the Blues to be optimistic, as they have only lost to United on five occasions in the last 29 meetings between the sides. In more recent history, Birmingham have beaten the Blades in nine of the last 13 fixtures – with City winning 4-0 the last time they met in the FA Cup in 2012.
Player to Watch
Leon Clarke has definitively proven any doubters wrong this season, his hat-trick on Tuesday was already his second of the campaign and took his tally to a league-leading 12 strikes. A lethal partnership with fan favourite Billy Sharp has produced a stellar combined total of 20 goals. At age 32, the journeyman striker is enjoying the best form of his career and has been a key component in Sheffield United’s shock challenge at the top of the Championship this year.
Whilst neither side have conceded an awful amount of goals this season (Sheffield United with 20, Birmingham City with 25) each side has only earned five clean sheets in their 18 and 17 games respectively. However, in the eight games Sheffield United have played at home, they have kept four clean sheets (50%) whilst The Blues have not had a single shutout away from home this year. Add that to City having the division’s worst attacking record of just nine goals so far and the stats suggest that The Blades should have no problems in securing the clean sheet.
Backing The Blades to reach a certain amount of corners could prove fruitful, as they are third in our corner club stats table – only two sides (Millwall and Brentford) have amassed more corner-kicks than the 110 earned by United.
If you’re backing a team to rack up some cards then Sheffield United is your bet – The Blades have picked up 34 bookings this season (the fourth highest in the league) and have had a red card, scoring 3rd highest in the division, total average of 21.5 booking points per game with our club card stats table.
- BET365 – Both Teams to Score – Yes –
- BET365 – First Goalscorer – Billy Sharp –
- BET365 – Team Total Goals – Sheff Utd Over 2.5 Goals –