Sheffield United - Cardiff City

After they made an encouraging start to this campaign, Sheffield United's results have come up short in recent weeks and Blades find themselves on 13th place. They noticed last win in steel-city derby (3-2) more than a month ago. Since then, two home draws (Ipswich 3-3, stoppage time equalizer and Doncaster 1-1) and three away defeats (Swansea 1-2, Scunthorpe 1-3 and Blackpool 0-3). Main reason for this sinking is recent injury crisis, ten regular players are sidelined and Blades currently can not resist against any opponent in second tier. Also, fact they have 13 new players comparing with previous season shouldn’t be forgotten. To make the things even worse, took care the only forward Darius Henderson who got a knock and he’s doubtful for the game. Club have signed free-agent striker, Henri Camara, he will probably start the match, but his fitness isn’t on proper level and the question is how much he can really help. While they’ll have a lots of problems to score against tough side as Cardiff surely is, defense line looks extremely shaky conceding six goals in last two encounters. Considering their current situation, I’m absolutely sure they would accept one point today.

The Blue Birds hold the third place on the table with just a point less than league leaders WBA. After the good start of the season, club fell in injury crisis and noticed five competitive defeats in six games! When injury list started to decrease, results became brighter. Cardiff have three wins (Derby 6-1, Watford 4-0 and Coventry 2-0) and a draw (Crystal Palace 1-1) in last four games. But, the most important thing is manager Dave Jones should have a strong squad to choose from, with a lot of his players now available again. His “key of the keys” Ross McCormack is fully fit and ready, defender Kevin McNaughton, midfielder Mark Kennedy and striker Warren Feeney are also available. Only missing player is midfielder Kelvin Etuhu who could be fit and back in training after the next international break. Excellent striker Michael Chopra is the leading scorer in the division with 11 goals, and United face another goal threat in midfielder Pete Whittingham, who has scored six times in the Welsh side's last five matches. Win at Bramall Lane would boost team confidence and maybe launch them on the top. 

I don't agree with the bookies that favor the home side and see the value here. Even if United don’t have injury problems (injury catastrophe sounds more appropriate), Cardiff would be at least equal. Instead more reasons for away win, I'll say few words about my concerns here. It’s a derby clash which usually means very nervous game. Cardiff have three players sent off so far, which is the most by any club. Many recovered players at visitors’ side could make a damage to the team balance that have noticed good run even without them. Also, home ground and the fact the both sides wouldn’t be unhappy with undecided outcome force me to cover a draw instead going on clear away win. Dnb is arround 2.20, even +0.25 on Cardiff is well paid.


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