Cameron Archer’s dream comeback to Aston Villa was thwarted tonight, with Sheffield United being denied a stunning victory by a 97th-minute equaliser. Archer gave the Blades a surprise lead against Unai Emery’s side, but Nicolo Zaniolo’s flick in the ninth minute of injury time salvaged a point for the home team.
Wes Foderingham: 5
Made some smart decisions when acting as a sweeper keeper, with Ollie Watkins lurking on the last shoulder of the defence. Also made a couple of good saves. However, his decision-making for the Villa equaliser was poor: he either has to commit fully or not commit at all, but unfortunately he was halfway which resulted in Zaniolo nicking it in front of him.
Jayden Bogle: 7
Had a solid enough game defensively winning six of eight duels, and didn’t get dribbled past once due to his excellent jockeying of the dribblers. His chances to get forward were extremely limited due to Villa’s dominance.
George Baldock: 6
Deployed as a right sided centre-back of a back three, Baldock defended well, and was alert to the pass into Villa players inside the pocket of space in front of the back line. He often cut out that type of pass. But he almost had two horror moments. The first one: needlessly gifting Aston Villa possession in United’s own penalty area, which eventually found the back of the net, only to be ruled out by VAR. The second: a thoughtless flick of his arm to the bouncing ball which aided his clearance.
Jack Robinson: 8
Given Ahmedhodzic’s absence, the captaincy for the day fell to Robinson who made a return to the Blades’ line-up. Despite the team not securing a win, the stand-in captain delivered a solid defensive performance, adding to his impressive season individually.
Auston Trusty: 7
Similar to Baldock in terms of his reading of the game. He anticipated when Villa were going to play the pass into central areas in front of his defensive line, and he was able to cut it out and start counter-attacks.
Yasser Larouci: 6
A mixed performance, but certainly much better than his previous outings, and I think the bad parts of his performance are simply down to lacking in match sharpness. There were times where he defended the space in behind him, and defending one-vs-one. But then times where his reactions weren’t up to scratch.
Vinicius Souza: 8
Exceptional in the midfield role, he effectively utilised his physical attributes to shield the defenders and displayed adept ball retention when regaining possession. He won nine of 15 duels, made six successful tackles and two interceptions.
Oli Norwood: 6
Shielded his defence well, and applied decent pressure when the team squeezed up the pitch in situations. However, his distribution particularly in the first half was poor, particularly when you consider the areas he picked the ball up, and the huge target in behind the Villa defence.
Anis Slimane: 7
For a player that’s seen as a flair player, Slimane’s defensive understanding was outstanding at Villa Park. Knowing when to press, when to hold position, and his communication of passing on a runner was spot on. It’s a shame the Blades couldn’t use the ball better in transition because he could’ve caused Digne some huge problems.
Andre Brooks: 7
Really just echoing what Slimane did. Such a quality youngster we have on our hands.
Cameron Archer: 8
Some may completely disagree with this mark. Yes he had a quiet game, but you bring in £18 million strikers to give you clinical moments like this in tight games. His work ethic and the intelligence to find the near post area deserved to be the winning goal against his former team.
Max Lowe 7, (Larouci 58)
Gustavo Hamer 7, (Brooks 58)
James McAtee 7, (Slimane 76)
Oli McBurnie N/A, (Archer 90)