Sheffield United will host Hull City in Round 18 of the EFL Championship. The Blades are currently sitting in second place and are one of the strongest contenders to gain promotion to the English Premier League. Hull City, on the other hand, sit in the middle of the table and are eight points clear of the relegation zone. The reverse meeting between the two teams ended 2-0 in favour of the Blades.
Sheffield United sits in second place with 16 wins, six draws, and five losses. The Blades are the second-highest goal scorers in the league with 47 in total and an average xG rate of 1.59 per match. They have the best defence in the league. Sheffield United have leaked 24 goals in 27 matches and average 1.1 xGA per match.
Hull City are 16th in the EFL Championship table with nine wins, seven draws, and 11 losses. The Tigers have netted 33 goals and conceded 43 in total. They average 1.17 xG and 1.36 xGA per match.
We now look at some of the stats that could predict the outcome of the match.
Season so far
Sheffield United have been one of the top performers in the EFL Championship. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the two teams in comparison with each other and other teams in the league. The Blades have a better percentile rank in almost every department. However, Hull City, despite sitting low in the league table, have an edge over Sheffield United in some of the rankings. Hull City likes to keep the ball in possession, and their passing rate and accuracy rate are on the higher side. Another area where the team has competed with the Blades is in making entries into the opposition’s penalty area. Overall, Sheffield United have been the better side.
The best defence in the league
Sheffield United have conceded the least amount of goals in the current EFL Championship season. Their defence has kept ten clean sheets in the 27 matches played this season.
Sheffield United players are on top of their game when it comes to winning duels. They contest 73.56 defensive and 50.63 aerial duels per match. The team has won 59% of their defensive duels and 50.8% of their aerial duels. Adding to this, the players have made 72 blocks and average nearly three blocks per match. The above viz shows that some of the blocks have been made in dangerous areas inside the opposition penalty box.
Hull City, on the other hand, contests 59.78 defensive duels and 47.8 aerial duels per match. Their win percentage is 56% for defensive duels and 47.5% for aerial duels. The defence needs to be tight and will have to work hard to stop Sheffield United from scoring a goal.
Sheffield’s domination at home
Hull City is likely to face a Sheffield United side that dominates at home. They have played a very attacking style of football at Bramall Lane this season. Of the 47 goals scored this season in 27 matches, they have scored 29 goals in 13 games. Overall, the Blades create 32.59 positional attacks and take 13.1 shots with a 39.6% accuracy rate. At home, they create 36.38 positional attacks and take 16.23 shots per match with a 38.9% accuracy rate.
Iliman Ndiaye will be the key player for the Blades in this match. He is their top-goalscorer with ten goals and is also the leading assists provider with seven to his name. The xG map shows that Ndiaye takes most of the shots from inside the penalty box. As for the assists, Ndiaye has attempted most of the shot-assist passes on the edge of the 18-yard box.
Oscar Estupinan will be the main man for the Tigers in this match as well as throughout their campaign. He has 12 goals to his name and leads the scoring chart for his side. Estupinan has scored every goal from inside the penalty box and usually targets the left side of the goalkeeper. He will look to add more goals to his tally in this match.
Sheffield United have a few injury concerns in their team. Enda Stevens, George Baldock, John Fleck, Rhian Brewster, Jack O’Connell, and Rhys Norrington-Davies are all out injured. Oli McBurnie is also unfit and is unlikely to feature in this match.
The 1×2 odds clearly favour Sheffield United. They are the favourites to win the match and average around 1.65 odds. One of the primary reasons for this is that Sheffield United are unbeaten in their last seven matches. They have also won their last three matches at home. In terms of over/under lines, over 2.5 goals have odds approaching two. Sheffield United averages over two goals per match at home, while Hull City averages more than one goal away from home. Sheffield United won their last match against Hull City 2-0 and are the favourites once again to take three points.
Sheffield United are one of the top performers and are one of the favourites to earn promotion to the English Premier League. They are just behind Burnley in the league table, and a win in this match will keep them in touching distance of the Clarets. However, it won’t be that easy to take points from a Hull City side that is unbeaten in their last six matches. Both teams will look to give their best in the opening fixture of round 28 of the EFL Championship.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine