Sheffield United vs Newcastle UnitedEnglish Premier League, KO: 19:30 Dec 5, 2019, Bramall Lane
SHEFFIELD UNITED'S meteoric rise shows no sign of stopping and they will be confident of keeping their storming unbeaten run going when Newcastle coming calling.
The Blades are unbeaten in seven games since Liverpool claimed a rather fortuitous 1-0 win at Bramall Lane in late September and continue to be fearless on their top-flight return.
Although their last three games have ended in draws, those matches were pretty daunting fixtures, with trips to Tottenham and Wolves either side of a home game with Manchester United.
It looked like Sheffield United had blown it in that clash with the Red Devils when they saw a 2-0 lead turn into a 3-2 deficit in the second half. But the spirit in Chris Wilder's squad was underlined when Oli McBurnie came on to fire home a dramatic late equaliser.
With Newcastle having lost four of their last five games on the road, the Blades will be targeting three points here to keep them in the upper echelons of the table.
But Steve Bruce's side showed they have plenty of spirit in their own ranks at the weekend by twice coming from behind to claim a point at home to champions Manchester City.
How the bookies view it
Newcastle are rank outsiders for this one, which is perhaps understandable given they have lost five of their seven away games. But 19/5 with Marathonbet looks a little generous, given the Magpies have beaten Spurs and West Ham in London. They are 53/50 in the double chance with the same firm and that could be worth a flutter.
Sheffield United's price of 5/6 with Bet365 is down to their impressive run but they have also lost at home to struggling Southampton this season so that doesn't offer enough value for me.
The stalemate is 129/50 with Marathonbet and that appeals to me the most of any result but it's a market I'll be steering clear of here.
Thriller or chiller?
If there's a repeat of the six goals we saw in Sheffield United's last match at Bramall Lane then those who have shelled out for their Amazon Prime coverage will get plenty of bang for their buck.
The Blades also scored three against Burnley in the home game before that so plenty of punters might fancy over 1.5 Sheffield United goals here at 6/5 with Betfred. If you think they will grab three for the third game in a row at Bramall Lane, the odds for over 2.5 home goals jump to 4/1 with Paddy Power.
Newcastle have drawn a blank in three of their last four road trips, although they netted three times at West Ham, and were poor at Aston Villa.
I tipped over 2.5 goals in that Villa clash only to come up just short, although a yellow card for Federico Fernandez cushioned the blow, bringing up my 7/2 bet. I can see there being over 2.5 strikes again here and that's a best 7/5 with Marathonbet.
Sheffield United are at full strength with Irish defender John Egan back to full fitness. Newcastle will be hoping French livewire Allan Saint-Maximin shakes off the knock he picked up against City at the weekend.
DeAndre Yedlin and Florian Lejeune are also doubts for the Magpies while Matt Ritchie and Jamaal Lascelles remain sidelined.
Players to watch
I flagged up Blades hitman Lys Mousset as the biggest threat against Manchester United and he delivered by scoring a fine goal. The Frenchman is 2/1 with Bet365 for another goal here but I'm going for a longer-odds option in the shape of John Fleck.
The Scotland midfielder has two goals in his last five games and came close to another against Wolves at the weekend. Fleck is a whopping 10/1 with 888Sport for anytime scorer here and that looks hugely overpriced.
Newcastle's front three can't buy a goal just now and their goals are coming from defence and midfield. Their best hope could come from a set-piece so a good long-odds pick could be stopper Ciaran Clark, who has netted twice this season, as the Irishman is 22/1 with Bet365 for a goal here.
Recent head to head
With the Blades spending most of their time in the lower leagues of late, these sides haven't faced off since Newcastle were in the Championship in season 2009/10. The Magpies won both games that term, winning 2-1 at home then 1-0 at Bramall Lane.
Anything else catch the eye?
Sheffield United stopper Chris Bashman has two bookings from his last four games so could be worth backing for a card here at 3/1 with Bet365.
Newcastle's Isaac Hayden has two yellows and a red to his name this term and offers value in the same market at 3/1 with Unibet.
This English Premier League match between Sheffield United and Newcastle United will be played on Dec 5, 2019 and kick off at 19:30