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  • 22 December 2023

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United: Can Aston Villa climb to the top of the table today?

At present, Sheffield United is rock bottom of the Premier League and has hardly had an easy ride in the top league this year. But they lost 2-0 against Chelsea not long ago, so of course they'll have to give more next time.

The other side of the rivalry, Aston Villa, is also looking very good this season and sits in third place. Their last game was an important one, and they beat Brentford 2-1. They would like to keep it up this week.

Premier League leaders Aston Villa will want to stay at the top of the league and Sheffield United, down at the bottom in last place, will try to turn things around when they meet on Friday night.

This is the first match between these two teams since early March 2021, when a Sheffield United team managed at that time by present Blades boss Chris Wilder beat them 1-0 on their own turf.

There were no fans so mad about Aston Villa as to have imagined them finishing the year in second place in the Premier League table and with an opportunity to take top honors. Unai Emery's squad has progressed steadily and at this point will surprise even themselves with their finishes.

Villa has won five of the last six top-flight games, and three of those victories have been by a one-goal margin. On the last weekend they beat Brentford with Alex Moreno and Ollie Watkins (a former Brentford player) scoring in the 77th and 89th minutes respectively after Ben Mee had been sent off.

The Premier League is also a different story. Aston Villa has won 15 consecutive home league matches, club record. In this amazing streak, they have scored 39 goals and recorded eight shutouts. The record is only surpassed by home wins for Liverpool, Manchester City and Man-United.

Aston Villa has beaten two reigning champions in their last three games, winning both previous meetings at Villa Park with a 1-0 score. The Lions boast an excellent record against newly promoted teams. The five sides most recently promoted as have all been beaten by the Lions.

However, even though Villa has a pretty good record at home against Sheffield United (the Blades having won only one of their last five visits), they still should not look past a renewed Chris Wilder's side-particularly as three of the teams last four encounters at Villa Park ended in draws. Friday's match should be an exciting one.

Sheffield United followed up its much-needed 1-0 home victory against Brentford with confidence, ready to face standout Chelsea. But in the end, they fell 2-0 to Chelsea, who scored second-half goals from Cole Palmers and Nicolas Jackson. This was Chris Wilder's second defeat in three games since coming back to manage the Blades.

Right now Sheffield United is bottom of the Premier League table, level on points with 19th-placed Burnley and six points adrift. Their recent games, against Chelsea and Liverpool-both of which they have lost 2-0-were naturally supposed to be hard.

But with two further difficult games at Aston Villa and Man. City ahead, and a match against Luton Town possibly pivotal in deciding Sheffield United's destiny for this year, there is much yet to come.

Playing at home has been no problem for Sheffield United since joining the Premier League, but away from home they've picked up only one point in eight games. In all, they have netted only four goals on the road and given up 22 during this period. Nevertheless, there is cause for optimism in anticipation of their visit to Villa Park.

Yet Sheffield United has kept a clean sheet in three of the last four against Aston Villa while collecting five Premier League points. Also, the 1-0 defeat they suffered in September of this year was only their second loss to Aston Villa in five trips there during all competitions.

Team News

They are also still suffering from injuries, Tyrone Mings having suffered an injury earlier this week and Aston Villa already without Emiliano Buendia, Bertrand Traore and Robin Olsen. Only time will tell if players such as Paolo Torres and Youri Tielemans can make it on to the field. Tielemans missed the victory over Brentford, however.

Boubacar Kamara will be serving a three-match suspension after receiving a straight red card last game. But Douglas Luiz and Lucas Digne are also ready to return after serving a one-game suspension. Digne will likely challenge Moreno for a spot in the starting lineup at left-back, and Luiz will replace Kamara at center-midfield.

In fact, Leon Bailey is seeking to start in place of either Matty Cash or Moussa Diaby. In his previous five meetings with Sheffield United, Ollie Watkins has never scored. How will he do on Friday?

Also, a number of Sheffield United players are out with injuries. They include Chris Basham, John Egan, Tom Davies, Rhys Norrington-Davies and Rhian Brewster as well as Daniel Jebbison. Jack Robinson, on the other hand, is eligible to return from suspension in one match and will likely replace Auston Trusty at center-back.

Twenty-year-old Andre Brooks has begun playing in the last three games since former manager Chris Wilder came back and could maintain his position in the starting 11. He might combine with Vinicius Souza and Gustavo Hamer in midfield, James McAtee and Cameron Archer linking up with Oli McBurnie in attack.

Possible Starting Lineups:

Aston Villa:

  • Goalkeeper: Martinez
  • Defenders: Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Moreno
  • Midfielders: Cash, Luiz, Ramsey, McGinn
  • Forwards: Diaby, Watkins

Sheffield United:

  • Goalkeeper: Foderingham
  • Defenders: Bogle, Ahmedhodzic, Robinson, Lowe
  • Midfielders: McAtee, Souza, Brooks, Hamer, Archer
  • Forward: McBurnie

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