Aston Villa vs Sheffield United – preview

Sheffield United travel to Aston Villa in a bid to try and cause an almighty upset at Villa Park on Friday night.

Undoubtedly, the standout narrative of the current season revolves around Aston Villa. Since Unai Emery assumed the managerial role, the Villans have displayed remarkable prowess. Following their qualification for European football last season, they now have their eyes set on the Champions League. Surprisingly, they find themselves in contention for the title race. A victory in their upcoming match, coupled with a draw between Liverpool and Arsenal, would place them as only the second non-‘Big Six’ side to lead the league at Christmas since Leicester in the 2015/16 season.

Adding to their impressive run, clinching three more points against the struggling Sheffield United would extend Aston Villa’s phenomenal winning streak to an astonishing 16 matches at Villa Park. This accomplishment gains further significance when considering that only three teams have secured more consecutive home wins in the Premier League: Liverpool (24 between 2019 and 2020), Manchester City (20 between 2011 and 2012), and Manchester United (19 between 2010 and 2011).

On the flip side, Sheffield United finds themselves at the opposite spectrum of the table, engaged in a fierce battle against relegation. Despite occupying the bottom spot, there is a glimmer of optimism for the Blades. With Chris Wilder back at the helm, the team rebounded from an initial loss to Liverpool, securing a victory over Brentford and accumulating eight points for the season. While the seven-point gap from safety still looms large, Sheffield United is now in closer proximity to the teams around them in the bottom three, setting the stage for a more evenly contested struggle.

Team News

Aston Villa will welcome back Lucas Digne and Douglas Luiz as both players become available following their suspensions. However, the team continues to face the challenge of long-term injury absences, with Emiliano Buendia, Tyrone Mings, and Bertrand Traore still sidelined.

Boubacar Kamara will be unavailable for the upcoming match after receiving a red card in the previous encounter against Brentford.

Jack Robinson is set to make a return to action for Sheffield United after serving his suspension. However, the team will still be without key players, including Rhian Brewster, Tom Davies, Daniel Jebbison, and John Egan, who continue to be unavailable due to various reasons.

Difference Makers

There are a plethora of players to choose from the Villa team that could make the difference, but for me the key man to watch for the home side is Leon Bailey.

The Jamaican has very much enjoyed playing at Villa Park this season, either scoring or assisting in all seven of his league home games. There were goals against Everton, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Man City as well as assists against Arsenal, Fulham, Luton and Everton.

His athleticism makes him a threat in transition, whilst his close control and vision makes him a dangerous player when trying to pry open a defence.

The Blades will have to be on top form in order to get anything from this fixture, a bit of magic from the likes of James McAtee could help. McAtee will likely be up against Lucas Digne at left-back, and whilst he provides an excellent offensive threat, at times he does look to switch off, this is where McAtee will have to exploit him. Matty Cash is the same down the right side, so Cameron Archer could also look to cause damage from the left.


Aston Villa’s impressive home form is evident with a streak of 15 consecutive victories in their home league games. On the other hand, Sheffield United, currently the lowest scorers in the Premier League, have managed only 12 goals.

The dynamic Jamaican player, Leon Bailey, has been a consistent force at Villa Park, contributing either as a scorer or an assister in all seven of his league appearances at the venue.

Furthermore, Aston Villa holds a formidable record against Sheffield United at home, being unbeaten in their last 14 home league games against the Blades. Meanwhile, Sheffield United has struggled on the road, losing six of their seven away league games this season, with only one draw to their name.