Aston Villa vs Sheffield United
Aston Villa and Sheffield United are set to face off against each other in contrasting Premier League circumstances at Villa Park.
Chaotic scenes at the Gtech Community Stadium saw Aston Villa claw their way back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to beat Brentford 2-1 last weekend and maintain a one-point deficit on league-leaders Arsenal. Since a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth, Unai Emery’s high-flyers have won three consecutive league games, including a brace of 1-0 triumphs against fellow title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City, setting themselves up nicely for this contest. A more emphatic scoreline could be on the cards this time out, as Villa’s six home victories preceding these two narrow successes had yielded multiple-goal margins. Villa Park has been a fortress in 2023, with the ‘Lions’ entering this round on the back of a club-record 15 consecutive Premier League wins on home turf.
In the meantime, Sheffield United’s dreadful return to the Premier League hit a new low last weekend as a 2-0 loss at Chelsea undid a hard-fought 1-0 home triumph against Brentford. But it took new manager Chris Wilder only two matches since taking charge of the troubled Yorkshire outfit to get into the win column, already as many victories as his predecessor Paul Heckingbottom had in the first 14 league games (W1, D2, L11). Wilder’s next assignment is to galvanize United’s disastrous away form as the ‘Blades’ come into proceedings lamenting the division’s worst record on the road, having lost seven of their opening eight Premier League travels via a combined score of 22-4. A lack of firepower up front has seen them draw a blank in three of their last four away league fixtures, casting further doubt on their slim hopes of staging an upset in Birmingham.