Saturday, May 25, 2019

Prediction: Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

Verdict: Sheffield United win

Best Odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

With the chance to briefly climb back into the automatic positions, Sheffield United will travel to Villa Park on Friday night.

Aston Villa

Starting with Friday’s hosts, while Aston Villa may sit four points adrift of the playoff positions, the Villans have been worryingly short of form entering the New Year. Putting in another lackluster showing in their 0-0 draw with leading relegation contenders Reading last weekend, Dean Smith’s side have now picked up just one win across any competition since Boxing Day. With many around Villa Park more than aware that they could finish the weekend once again outside of the top half of the table, the former Brentford boss will know he must improve on Villa’s form in the Midlands. Aside from a close-fought 2-1 win over 23rd place Ipswich last month, the hosts have failed to win any of their other six matches at home, including shipping three against both Swansea and Leeds. Also enduring a run of form that has seen them pick up just one clean sheet at Villa Park since the start of November, Smith will be looking for Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham to lead from the front. The England U21 international has now bagged 19 goals this season, including three in his last three.

Team News

Aston Villa will have defender Tyrone Mings available for the visit of Sheffield United in the Championship.

Mings faces no retrospective action from an incident which left Reading’s Nelson Oliveira with serious facial injuries in their goalless draw.

Midfielder Jack Grealish (shin) has resumed light training but is still some time away from a return.

Sheffield United

As for Chris Wilder’s side, while the visitors would have been disappointed by their FA Cup exit at the hands of Non-League Barnet last month, it has been a bright 2019 for Sheffield United. Coming off the back of a 2-0 win over Bolton last weekend, the Blades now sit just three points adrift of the top two and have lost just one of their last eight Championship appearances. United should be boosted by their very impressive showing when the two sides met back in September. Putting in arguably their best performance of the season so far, the Blades picked up a 4-1 win at Bramall Lane and have now lost just one of their last four matches against Villa. Along with being handed the chance to once again leapfrog Leeds back into the automatic positions, Chris Wilder will be incredibly excited by the on-going form of leading goalscorer Billy Sharp. Now sat level with Abraham at the top of the Championship goalscoring charts with 19 goals, the United captain has also bagged three in his last three.

Team News

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has few injury concerns and may rotate his starting line-up as a result.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Sheffield United picked up a 4-1 win when the two sides met in the reverse fixture.
  • Blades top scorer Billy Sharp has scored with six of his past 10 shots in the Championship.
  • Villa top scorer Tammy Abraham has netted 12 goals in his past seven home Championship appearances for Villa.
  • The hosts have managed to win just one of their last six Championship matches at Villa Park.
  • Sheffield United have lost just one of their last eight league matches.

Conclusion

While Sheffield United have arguably put on their worst performances away from Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder should see Friday as the perfect chance to reclaim their spot in the top two. Given Villa’s struggles in the Midlands and also failing to impress against both Reading and Ipswich over the past couple of weeks, we’re backing the Blades to come away with the three points at Villa Park.

Verdict: Sheffield United win

Best Odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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