West Brom vs Sheffield United predictions: Tight tussle at The Hawthorns

Jack Ogalbe
Spotlight
Promotion may the priority for Paul Heckingbottom rather than Sheffield United's trip to West Brom in the Carabao Cup
Promotion may the priority for Paul Heckingbottom rather than Sheffield United's trip to West Brom in the Carabao Cup

The opening round of the Carabao Cup concludes on Thursday with an all-Championship tie between West Brom and Sheffield United. 

Both have promotion aims this season and may not be fully committed to this competition. 

West Brom come into the game on the back of Monday's 1-1 home draw with Watford, while the Blades won 2-0 against Millwall at Bramall Lane on Saturday. 

Team news

Turkey midfielder Okay Yokuslu could play from the off for West Brom after being fit enough to feature from the bench against the Hornets. 

Baggies' boss Steve Bruce could also hand starts to Kyle Bartley, Callum Robinson, Adam Reach, Alex Mowatt and Taylor Gardner-Hickman as he looks to rotate ahead of Sunday's trip to Blackburn. 

Opposite number Paul Heckingbottom may have similar thoughts, with a reunion with the Blades' former manager Chris Wilder and his Middlesbrough side beckoning on Sunday. 

Youngsters James McAtee and Reda Khadra could be handed starts but Jack O'Connell, Jack Robinson, Chris Basham, Enda Stevens, Tommy Doyle and Oli McBurnie are all absent. 

The stats

West Brom have drawn both of their Championship games this season 1-1, sharing the spoils with both Middlesbrough and the Hornets. 

United bounced back from a 1-0 opening defeat to Watford with that 2-0 success over Millwall, with Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge's first-half strikes proving enough against the Lions. 

The Baggies are 14th in the Championship, a point and seven places behind the South Yorkshire side. 

They also trailed them home in last season's second tier, collecting eight points less than the Blades, who crashed out of the playoffs against Nottingham Forest. 

Both sides won their home games when facing each other last season and the Blades have won only once at The Hawthorns since 2003. 

That was in February 2019 when Kieran Dowell scored the only goal in a 1-0 win. 

Prediction

Steve Bruce's West Brom are hard to beat at home but struggle to score goals
Steve Bruce's West Brom are hard to beat at home but struggle to score goals

The likely changes in personnel could lead to a more open game but both sides have struggled to take their chances this season. 

Added to that, these sides have been fairly thrifty in the opposition area in recent meetings, with a 'no' in the both teams to score market occurring in four of their last five meetings. 

Karlan Grant was especially guilty of missing chances for the Baggies on Monday before finally breaking his duck for the campaign just before the break. 

West Brom scored just 52 goals last season and Bruce's tactics have been criticised by his club's fans. 

The 61-year-old began his managerial career at United in 1998 and is under pressure to lead the Baggies back to the Premier League.

The Blades may have scored twice against Millwall but they hit the target with just six of 19 efforts at goal in that game, having mustered only six shots in the 1-0 defeat at Watford, and they need to improve in the final third.

Therefore, a tight game is likely with under 2.5 goals possible and penalties might be required to split these two.

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