Goal-shy Sheffield United head to improving Chelsea on Saturday evening and Andy Schooler is following the form for the Premier League clash...
"No Premier League side has had fewer shots on target, while only Crystal Palace have taken fewer shots of any description."
Chelsea v Sheffield United
Saturday 7 November, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event
It wasn't long ago I was expressing my concern about Chelsea's reliability and highlighting the lack of balance in their side.
But they are winning me, and many others no doubt, over quickly and appear to be improving with each passing match.
Over the past fortnight they've dismissed Krasnodar, Burnley and Rennes with ease with that balance between attack and defence seemingly found at last.
Up front, Timo Werner is settling in nicely, while Hakim Ziyech (pictured below) is now fit and firing. Anyone who saw him at Ajax will not be surprised that he has added something extra to the Blues.
Another of the summer signings, Kai Havertz, will be missing here following a positive COVID test but with Mason Mount really stepping up to the challenge posed by all the new arrivals at Stamford Bridge, Frank Lampard will not be concerned.
At the back, it's now five clean sheets in a row with Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell now bedded in.
Silva appears to be forming a solid central partnership with Kurt Zouma - doubtless helped by the fact there's a top-class keeper now behind them in Edouard Mendy - and what once seemed the most problematic piece of the jigsaw for Lampard, is now beginning to look like a real positive.
It is perhaps too early to draw too many conclusions, after all those last three opponents have been somewhat limited, but that's also going to be the case here with Sheffield United a far cry from the team which started last season so well.
After seven games of 2019/20, the Blades had picked up eight points and things would pick up even further. This time around they have just one.
Goalscoring has been their biggest concern with only three goals netted so far, two of those from the penalty spot.
No Premier League side has had fewer shots on target, while only Crystal Palace have taken fewer shots of any description.
Here they will be without loanee Ethan Ampadu, who is ineligible for play against his parent club, which could mean a quick return to the side for contract rebel John Lundstram or Oliver Norwood. John Fleck and Lys Mousset remain sidelined.
United have at least stayed competitive in games, despite their list of defeats. Only one of the six has come via a margin of more than one goal.
That said, it could easily have been more against another heavyweight, Manchester City, last weekend.
It was a performance which left boss Chris Wilder bemoaning: "We're better than that with the football. If we don't find that quality, we're not going to hurt the opposition."
How to boost the home win
Up against a now-settled Chelsea defence which is full of confidence, this might not be the week where things change on that front.
One factor from which the visitors may be able to draw confidence is that they took four points off Chelsea last season, coming from 2-0 down to draw at the Bridge and beating them 3-0 in the reverse fixture in July - probably their best post-lockdown result.
But much has changed at both clubs since then and it's hard to make much of a case for the Blades repeating their victory of four months ago - they are 9.417/2 to win the game.
Chelsea are at just 1.412/5 (the draw is a 5.49/2 shot) but backing them to win to nil lifts that price to 2.265/4.
That looks fair enough given the home side's defensive improvement and the paucity of goals at Sheffield United right now.
Chelsea have won their last three without conceding and look very capable of making it four in this match.
Under goals value?
There's also possible value to be had in the under/over 2.5 goals market.
The unders are trading at 2.245/4 but that's occurred in five of the Blades' seven games so far. As already pointed out, they haven't folded defensively against anyone.
With all these factors in mind, those seeking something bigger should perhaps consider backing a 1-0 and/or 2-0 home win in the correct-score betting.
1-0 is available to back at 8.27/1 with 2-0 just slightly shorter at 7.87/1.
Sheffield United have scored with just 5.1% of their shots in the Premier League this season (3 of 59) - only Burnley have a lower conversion rate so far (5%). Meanwhile, Chelsea have converted 18.8% of their efforts (16 of 85), the third highest in the competition this season.
Andy Schooler's P/L 2020/21
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Chelsea to win and under 2.5 goals is explained above but to get the price really moving north, try Enda Stevens to be booked - he's likely going to be facing Ziyech and Reece James down his flank and was carded seven times last season.
Altogther, that makes tasty odds of 14.96/1.