EFL Best Bets | Wednesday 25th September
Football specialist Chris Bland (@blandc_1996) assesses Wednesday evening’s League Cup action and provides us with his best bets.
- 2019/2020 Profit & Loss: +1.64pts
Manchester United v Rochdale
Manchester United host League 1 side Rochdale as they look to bounce back from another disappointing defeat on Sunday against West Ham.
Priced at 1/10, United are expected to comfortably beat their Lancashire neighbours, who currently lie 17th in League One. Without a win in four games, Rochdale been leaking goals lately, and manager Brian-Barry Murphy has got them playing expansive football, looking to play out from the back. A 6-0 thumping off Peterborough highlighted fragilities in the defence, so whether they continue with this style of play against Manchester United waits to be seen. However, given their defensive record in recent weeks, there is value in the goal scorer markets.
The stand out option is James Garner, who is priced at 11/5 (Paddy Power) to score anytime. With four goals in four games for the U23s, he is expected to make the step up and start for United in central midfield. He should fit comfortably in the side, as he looks to pick the ball up from deep before pressing forward, looking to link defence and attack. A role which United have struggled to find a player for in Pogba’s absence, it is the perfect opportunity for him to impress against League One opposition, and backed up by his impressive scoring record at youth team level this season, there is value to be had.
Sheffield United v Sunderland
Bramall Lane hosts another Premier League v League One clash, with both sides are expected to make wholesale changes to their sides. Sheffield United made 10 changes on their way to beating a strong Blackburn side in the previous round, and a similar side is expected to start against Sunderland.
Although Sunderland recorded an impressive victory away at Burnley, their form in League One has been less than convincing, with a late penalty sparing their blushes against Bolton on Saturday. Joel Lynch and Laurens De Bock are expected to make their Sunderland debuts in the back four, whilst Aiden McGeady will also be absent through injury. Having conceded in every game this season, and coming up against a Premier League attack with two defenders yet to play this season, it is unlikely to see Sunderland keep a clean sheet. Goals have also been an issue, with Will Grigg expected to lead the line. His sole goal came in the last round against Burnley, whilst the injured McGeady has four in ten games this season.
Priced at 7/10 (Bet365), Sheffield United should be able to show their class and the gulf in the divisions, even with a number of changes.
Oxford United v West Ham United
Oxford come into this tie full of confidence after a resounding 6-0 win over Lincoln on Saturday, and although Pellegrini is expected to rotate his side after their victory over Manchester United on Sunday, a strong eleven is still expected for the Hammers.
The likes of Albian Ajeti, Robert Snodgrass and Jack Wilshere should come into the side, whilst Pablo Fornals and Felipe Anderson are expected to start in what will be an impressive Hammers attack. Fabian Balbuena and Pablo Zabaleta should also form part of an experienced back four more than capable of dealing with Oxford’s attack.
Although Oxford are unbeaten in three without conceding a goal, it is worth noting that these have come against two of the weakest attacks in League One (Bolton and Tranmere), as well as a Lincoln side currently going through transition having lost manager Danny Cowley. Previous to these games, Oxford’s defence had been less than water tight, conceding 14 in 5. Furthermore, manager Karl Robinson has said he will make a number of changes for West Ham’s trip to the Kassam Stadium, prioritising Saturday’s fixture against Gillingham.
As a result, despite West Ham expecting to make a number of changes, I believe there is value in backing West Ham -1 on the handicap at 11/10 (Bet365), as they should still have enough Premier League class to see off the lower league opposition.