Wednesday 13 February: 7.45pm KO
There were few sides kicking themselves more at the weekend than Sheffield United. They led 3-0 at Aston Villa with nine minutes left and only drew 3-3. It was a similar, though less dramatic situation for Middlesbrough who let slip a 1-0 lead to draw 1-1 with Leeds United. Draws aren’t going to get these teams into the Premier League and they both need to win this match.
Sheffield United remained third in the Championship after the weekend fixtures. They are three points behind second-placed Leeds United and five adrift of league leaders Norwich City. United are evens (2.0) at Betway to win promotion back to the Premier League and 6/1 (7.0) at William Hill to win the title.
They know of course that the gap between themselves and Leeds United should be a couple of points narrower. Blowing a 3-0 lead with nine minutes to go is not how you win promotion but that’s what United did at Villa Park on Friday.
Only one of their last four league games has produced a victory. They are 21/20 (2.05) at BetVictor to get a win over Middlesbrough. That’s a likely result with the Blades having won each of their last four home league matches.
Middlesbrough also led at the weekend but had to settle for a 1-1 home draw with Leeds United. That left them fifth in the table and seven points adrift of the top two but with a game in hand. A victory in this game will close the gap between themselves and Sheffield United to a single point with a game in hand. It’s 14/5 (3.8) at BoyleSports on them getting three points here.
Their form has to improve though and the last five league and cup games has produced just win. That was an impressive one though as they came from behind to win 3-2 at West Bromwich Albion. Three of their last four away league games have been won and only two of 15 away league matches have been lost.
Middlesbrough have a good recent record against their opponents. They have won four of the last five meetings between the two teams. Three of those games have been at home though. United have only lost one of their last nine home games against Middlesbrough.
No major injuries have been reported since the weekend games.
Friday’s match at Aston Villa may not have seen them win three points but it was another great night for Billy Sharp. He hit a hat-trick for United and now has six goals in his last three games with goals in three of the last four home league matches. He’s 9/2 (5.5) at Bet365 to score the first goal and 6/4 (2.5) to get on the score sheet in this match.
Another Home Clean Sheet?
Sheffield United have conceded 21 away league goals this season but only 13 at home. Their last three home league games have produced clean sheets and it’s 11/8 (2.37) on them keeping Middlesbrough out in this game.
Watch Out for Assombalonga
Brit Assombalonga comes into this game in good scoring form. He’s scored three goals in Boro’s last two away league games. You can get odds of 7/1 (8.0) at SportPesa on being the first goal scorer and 13/5 (3.6) on scoring any time in the match.
Middlesbrough have already drawn 12 league games this season. Six of those have been away from home and the odds on this game being drawn are 11/5 (3.2) at Betfair.
Both teams need a win from this game especially if the top two get good results the same night. They both have in-form strikers who can turn matches around so this should be an interesting game. The prediction is for a draw with both teams scoring. That’s 18/5 (4.6) at 888sport.