Aston Villa are set to continue their unexpected surge for the Premier League title as they welcome struggling Sheffield United to Villa Park on Friday.
With an impressive record of 12 wins from their first 17 games, Unai Emery’s squad currently stands at third place in the league table, trailing the leaders Arsenal by just a single point as they approach Matchday 18. The team’s strong performance has positioned them as serious contenders in the title race, defying expectations.
In contrast, Sheffield United find themselves at the bottom of the Premier League standings, having accumulated just eight points from their 17 matches. The team faces a challenging situation, currently six points adrift of the safety zone.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, owes a significant part of their success to their impressive home form. They have secured victories in each of their last 15 Premier League home games, showcasing the formidable strength of their performances at Villa Park. This outstanding home record positions Villa as a formidable force and adds to the difficulty that Sheffield United may face as they strive to improve their position in the league.
“What chance – with the run we’re on currently in the league, after beating two of the best teams in the country, on a 15 game winning run at home – we lose to bottom of the bloody table? Wilder’s had our number a bit in past meetings, though none of those involved Emery. Fingers crossed we don’t just turn up and think we’ve won before a ball’s kicked because it won’t be that easy.“
“Absolutely this – potential banana skin and Sheffield will make it difficult for us and fight for everything. We need to be as professional and switched on and up for it as we were against Man City for example.”
“Due to our recent record against them (pre Unai) I instinctively feel apprehensive about this fixture.“
“I have a bad feeling about this game. Everyone’s too confident. I’d take a point now.”
“The experienced Villa fan in me says this will be a classic Villa 0-0.“
Victory on Friday would secure Aston Villa’s position at the top of the Premier League table for at least 18 games into the season, marking the first time since they held the lead at Christmas 25 years ago. Currently, Aston Villa is enjoying a club record of 15 consecutive home league wins, with only Liverpool and the two Manchester clubs having longer streaks in the Premier League.
This season, Aston Villa have achieved the milestone of winning their first eight top-flight home matches, a feat not seen since the 1932/33 season when their record was interrupted by a 6-3 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday. Additionally, Unai Emery’s team has established a new club record with 25 top-flight victories in a calendar year. Their impressive tally of 81 points in 2023 is second only to Manchester City’s 87 points.
With a mere eight points after 17 games, Sheffield United finds themselves in a precarious position. No team in the history of the Premier League has managed to escape relegation after having fewer than 10 points at this stage of the season.
Sheffield United stand out as the sole team in the division without an away league victory this season, managing to secure just one point from eight away matches. Their struggles on the road are evident in their record, having lost 27 of their last 32 Premier League away fixtures, with only two wins and three draws.
Adding to their challenges, Sheffield United have been the least prolific team in terms of goal attempts in the Premier League this season, registering only 142 attempts. This statistic highlights the team’s difficulties in creating scoring opportunities, further contributing to their challenging campaign.
No beating about the bush, I can’t honestly see Sheffield United getting a result at Villa Park because Villa’s home form is insane. We’d have to play out of our skins, whilst Aston Villa would have to have a bad day at the office.
I am predicting the Blades to find the net, but we’ll concede at least a couple I believe.