Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Football’s shifting tides often move so slowly that you don’t realise how far things have changed until you really take a step back and look at the bigger picture. That must be how it feels to Bournemouth, who face potential relegation. Meanwhile, recently promoted Sheffield United come into this game from high above, a mere point below the top five standings.
It’s consistency that has really pushed Sheffield United to this point. They’ve managed to topple or draw against the vast majority of Premier League teams, and have usually only fallen to the best of the best. Bournemouth, on the other hand, have been struggling to make it past anyone in the last couple of months. However, recent wins against Brighton and Aston Villa have gotten them out of the drop zone and provided hope, thanks to bright performances – a light that Sheffield will no doubt be looking to extinguish.
Sheffield United vs Bournemouth Prediction: Sheffield United 2-1 Bournemouth
We said that it was consistency that brought Sheffield to the dance and indeed there’s few things more valuable to a prediction than that. Bournemouth’s ability to bounce back and, most importantly, their positive recent performances have made this one more interesting – but not interesting enough for us to change our minds. Realistically, two wins just don’t stack up against a whole season’s worth of quality performances and results. While we think Bournemouth will put up quite the fight to keep their momentum going, our scoreline prediction in the end is 2-1 to Sheffield United.
Our recommended tip: Bournemouth win first half
Considering our overall scoreline prediction, this may seem like an odd recommended tip, but hear us out. Sheffield United usually score late in the game. In fact, the last time they scored a first-half goal in the Premier League was against Watford back in December and yet, they consistently win matches. Bournemouth, however, have dominated the first half of their last two victories. For this reason, we think there’s a good chance Bournemouth can win the first half but still be toppled by Sheffield by the final whistle. Plus, this one comes with very generous odds, with MarathonBet offering 51/10 on this result.
The effects of relegation and promotion aren’t just felt in this game but across the entire history of Sheffield United and Bournemouth. For that reason, they’ve only had 16 games, with the first taking place in 1981 – relatively recently as far as first fixtures go. And Sheffield United have absolutely dominated since then, only losing a single game to Bournemouth in all that time. To be fair to the Cherries, they drew in their 2019 clash against Sheffield and the last time they met before that was in 2013, an absolute age when it comes to club football. Still, the historical advantage has to go to Sheffield.
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Players to watch: John Egan & Ryan Fraser
Sheffield United: John Egan
We’ve talked about the solid form of Sheffield United being absolutely key to their success, but that doesn’t come from just anywhere. It takes players who bring it each and every time they step out onto the field. Perhaps no one is a better example of that in this squad than John Egan. He is very often the heart of their defence and showcased his brilliance against Crystal Palace last week with seven clearances.
Bournemouth: Ryan Fraser
One of the biggest reasons Bournemouth have had greater success in their most recent outings is that it feels like they are finally coming together as a team and a perfect example of this is left winger Ryan Fraser. He freely admitted to that fact and apologised before a blistering performance as part of their win against Aston Villa. We’re hoping to see those improvements flourish once again against a tough opponent.