by Zack Lambert
June 28th, 2020
Arsenal at Sheffield United
Spread: Sheffield (+0.25); O/U: 2.25
Moneyline: Arsenal +135, Sheffield +205, Draw +225
Time/Location: 8:00 ET, Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England
Arsenal finally tasted their first victory of the return over Southampton, winning 2-0 thanks to a pair of goals from the youngsters. The win did incrementally lift the spirits of those around the club, but there’s still a lingering air of helplessness as the team still sits a ways out of European football. The defensive reserves are still anemically low and the whole team was still fairly unimpressive in their win. With injuries to Marí, Leno, Chambers, and Torreira as well as knocks to Tierney and Cédric, Arsenal have to hope that this game isn’t sent into extra time.
Arsenal’s attack has also been a big issue recently. One of the goals can be attributed to a howler from the keeper while another came on a rebound when Southampton was already at ten men. Lacazette and Aubameyang have yet to score in the games since the return and the entire midfield has been largely unimpressive in the playmaking aspect. Guendouzi has shown signs of becoming an enforcing no-nonsense type of player, but there still needs to be a maestro of sorts pulling the strings. Özil’s days as that player are likely over and unless Ceballos or Willock develop those traits soon there will need to be an import from somewhere.
Sheffield United (WWDLL)
A friendly disassembly of Hull may have had some Sheffield fans feeling hopeful about the restart and that hope might have endured a lackluster draw against Aston Villa, but the past two Blade’s matches have been a bit disastrous. A 3-0 loss to Newcastle was followed by a 3-0 loss to Manchester United, and all of a sudden Sheffield is on the brink of 9th place, just ahead of their Sunday foes. Sheffield has played great defensive football all season and that’s the reason they’ve been so good, but it’s broken down recently and that’s exposed the issues up front.
To make things worse for United, they’ll likely be without top goalscorer Lys Mousset and top defender Jack O’Connell. That means that 34 year old Billy Sharp and 37 year old Phil Jaglielka will likely get the starts at forward and center back respectively. With that duo playing the odds of victory fall significantly.
Analysis and Pick
Arsenal and Sheffield playing for all the marbles is a very tantalizing prospect and the only thing that could make it better would be both sides at full strength. Regardless the match should be an entertaining one. Like we talked about, Sheffield has been terrible on the attack recently and Arsenal’s defense played pretty well against Southampton. I don’t see a goal coming from Sheffield in the match and I definitely don’t see a triple out of Arsenal, so take under 2.25 at -110 for a good value.
I very much like closely contended matches such as these because we get money lines that all pay juice. Taking Arsenal to win the match at +135 is the best play, but remember that this game can go into extra time and most bets are only on the first 90 minutes. I’m going with Arsenal to win regardless, but keep that in mind. Arsenal -0.25 at +105 is also a money making play.