Reading - Sheffield United

After tragically ended previous season, where first missed to win in last round against Birmingham at home and reach direct promotion, then lost in semi-final of play-off against Burnley, Royals came in this season with different squad. First Steve Copell lost his job, then some very important players like Kevin Doyle, Michael Duberry, Graeme Murty, Marcus Hahnemann, Leroy Lita, Stephen Hunt and more recently Andre Bikey left the club. Seven players. New boss is very talented Brendan Rodgers (ex Watford), but team lost the quality and despite the same ambitions as usual, mid-table finish is more realistic. After three rounds, Reading still don’t have a win, in fact they still haven’t scored. Two goalless draws (Nottingham Forest at home and Swansea City away) and defeat against Newcastle 0-3 on the road. Reading are waiting on the fitness of winger Jimmy Kebe, while Marek Matejovsky is still not considered match fit after his own recent groin injury.

United as Reading have the highest ambitions, but the difference is they have quality for that. The Blades also lost against Burnley in clash for Premier, but squad remained almost the same. It means, iron defense and very strong midfield. The only problem is attacking line. Team lost excellent striker James Beattie and spent 3 mill.pounds for his replacement Ched Evans. They had excellent away record last season with just five defeats from 23 games and only 17 goals conceded (Championship record). United are likely to be without midfielder Brian Howard, who has gone down with tonsillitis. But fellow midfielder Lee Hendrie is available once again after serving a four-match ban.

Oppositely from bookies, I think Blades are slight favorites here and see value in these odds. But, also wouldn’t exclude a possibility of another draw and instead clear away win, suggest 0.25 (1.77) handicap on United, or simply DNB (2.05).

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