Wolves vs Sheffield United: Wolves' supremacy expected to continue

Leaders Wolves host play-off chasing Sheffield United in what should be an entertaining game in the Sky Bet Championship at Molineux. Our Analyst previews the match, producing the best bets using underlying expected goals data.

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Runaway leaders Wolves continue to impress in this Sky Bet Championship season. Having lost for the first time in 13 matches - to Nottingham Forest a few weeks back - they bounced back in fine style to comfortably beat Ipswich 1-0 last time, a deserved win as they dominated throughout (1.3 – 0.4 xG).

Wolves have been the best team in the league by some way; they have the highest expected goals for (50.9 xG), and the highest expected goal difference (24.5 xGD) – more than 10 xG better than every other team. The gap between themselves and the rest is evident, not only in the actual table, but also in the expected table and their underlying stats.

Diogo Jota has been one of their stars this season, and the Atletico Madrid loanee has been signed on a permanent deal. He has the highest expected goal involvement (xGI = xG + xAssists) of any player in the league (18.6 xGI), and he looks a key player in this match.

 

Championship's xGI leaders
Championship's xGI leaders - Jota leads the way

 

Sheffield United

The Blades’ midseason wobble shows no sign of stopping, and they were beaten in midweek by Aston Villa meaning they have won just two of their last 12 league games – not exactly the form expected from a team in the hunt for the play-offs.

According to Infogol’s expected table, Sheffield United have been the fourth best team in the league, so there is still hope for Chris Wilder’s side. Their main strength this season has been in defence, and while they have conceded 33 goals, from the chances they have conceded it should be closer to 24 (23.6 xG).

 

The Championship's best defences
The Championship's best defences (according to xGA)

 

This is the lowest total in the league, so, according to expected goals, they have been the best defence in the league this season (with Wolves in second). While they remain strong in defence and don’t allow many good scoring chances in matches, the goals have dried up, and they have struggled of late to generate many good chances – something they need to improve on.

 

Conclusion

The league’s best attack take on the league’s best defence (according to xG), so a tight game is expected. Sheffield United need the win more than their hosts, but the game isn’t expected to pan out that way, with the Molineux crowd having more to cheer at the final whistle.

 

Recommended bets:

Wolves to win @ 4/5

Wolves have been the best team in the league by a stretch this season, and though Sheffield United are worthy opponents, the home team should be too strong, and look good value at 4/5 to get the win.

Under 2.5 goals @ 4/5

This match sees the leagues two best defences face off, so few goals are expected. Infogol forecasts 2.3 xG in the 90 minutes, so under 2.5 goals is selected.

Diogo Jota to score anytime @ 7/5

Diogo Jota leads the way in expected goal involvement this season, and he can celebrate his permanent move with a goal.

 

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