Sheffield United romped to a comfortable 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Bramwell Lane, climbing to up to fifth place in the Premier League table.
Neither keeper had much to do in the first half, with chances few and far for both sides in the first 45 minutes. Although Sheffield United were easily the better team, they were unable to find the back of the net despite looking dangerous on the counter attack.
As always, the Blades were expansive going forward, playing out from the back with the likes of Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham making their way up the field at every opportunity. Defensively, Chris Wilder’s men looked confident and calm with Villa often playing deep and struggling to get many men forward, with Wesley failing to make an impact once again.
Sheffield United came into the second half with a new set of energy, netting just five minutes after the half-time whistle. A clever backheel by Basham found the feet of John Lundstram, who was able to cross it to John Fleck to open the scoring. The midfielder was then able to net a second time, following great build up play from George Baldock.
However, Aston Villa were given a lifeline after they were awarded a penalty kick from a handball off of John Egan. Yet their hopes soon evaporated as Jack Grealish hit the crossbar from the penalty spot. Smith’s men were unable to come back into the game after that massive blow – and the Blades secured a much-deserved three points.
SHEFFIE L D UNITED
Key Talking Point
Although Chris Wilder’s men are great defensively, they also put in a great attacking display with the majority of their full backs racing forward. However, this match it was important to note their ability to keep a clean sheet – something they haven’t managed in their latest matches.
Starting XI: Henderson (7); Basham (8), Egan 7(), O’Connell (7); Baldock (8), Lundstram (8), Norwood (8), Fleck (9*), Stevens (8); McGoldrick (7), Mousset (7).
Substitutes: McBurnie (7),Besic (6), Osborn (6).
Sheffield United’s star man was of course, John Fleck. The 28-year-old, who managed to net in two for the Blades this weekend, as well as coming close to a third, put on a superb performance against Aston Villa.
Both goals came from great build up play, highlighting Sheffield United’s unity as a team and their ability to rely a myriad of players to find the back of the net in any given game.
Don’t ever wanna hear John McGinn is better than John Fleck again— ⚔️ (@S_M_R___) December 14, 2019
Key Talking Point
After Aston Villa’s 4-1 defeat to Leicester City, Dean Smith made four changes to his starting XI, bringing in the likes of Henri Lansbury and Kortney Hause.
The Aston Villa boss took a bold risk which unfortunately didn’t pay off, despite some of his new starters performing well, including Hause.
Starting XI: Heaton (6); Guilbert (5), Engels (5), Hause (7*), Targett (6); McGinn (7), Nakamba (6), Lansbury (); El Ghazi (5), Wesley (5), Grealish (7)
Substitutes: Luiz (5), Kodjia (5), Trezeguet (6)
Hause was required to fill the shoes of Tyrone Mings, after the 26-year-old picked up an injury in the meeting with the Foxes – and the defender didn’t disappoint.
Despite Aston Villa conceding two goals against their opponents, the Englishman was hugely impressive. He may be one that Smith could consider for his side’s upcoming fixtures.
The Blades will be hoping to continue their unbeaten away run on Saturday as they travel to Brighton for their next league fixture. Meanwhile, Aston Villa will have a Carabao Cup quarter-final to attend to as they take on high-flying Liverpool midweek, before hosting Southampton at the weekend.