Sheffield United vs Aston Villa – Pre-game Assessment

Saturday, February 3rd, 17:30 – Bramall Lane

Referee: Paul Tierney

One would expect that the most favorable fixture for a team in fifth place in the Premier League running into a dry spell would be against the lowest team in the division, and that would be Sheffield United.  Of course, we know what happened just before Christmas when the Blades came to Villa Park and ended our almost yearlong Premier League winning streak.  In fact, they would have beaten our Villans 1-0 if not for an injury-time header by Zaniolo that tied the game.

Now, we are looking to visit Bramall Lane and get a measure of revenge.  Something along the lines of what Newcastle did when they visited their Yorkshire neighbor last September and came away with an 8-0 result with eight different scorers for the visitors.

With the Blades still sporting the worst goals for record (only 19 in 22 games), and worst goals against record (54 in 22 games), logic suggests that our Villans will come away with a win as long as they turn up.  While our Villans were soundly beaten at home by the Magpies on Tuesday, there were enough signs to suggest that we can still score (Watkins for certain)!

Sure enough, the Blades of late have shown they can score, averaging two per game.  What has not improved, their game at Villa Park being a notable exception, is keeping the ball out of their own net.  In fact, at home to Luton, a fellow cellar dweller, they contrived to score the two goals into their own net that turned a win into a loss at home (3-2).

Our Villans have one other advantage going for them.  In the last few days, they added two quality players to their roster (Morgan Rogers and Lino Sousa).  Rogers, as a young, talented, and versatile forward offers good backup, and an option to players who have lost their spark (notably Diaby and Zaniolo).  A product of the Manchester City organization, he has shone at Middlesborough, particularly against Chelsea and our own Villans in the FA Cup fixtures.  I expect Morgan to be given a spot on the bench to remind others that they better produce, or else.

Result Prediction:

Prediction:  Sheffield United 1, Aston Villa 3

Predicted Villa Line-Up:

With respect to the line-up, I anticipate that Emery will start Bailey and Ramsey over Diaby and Tielemans, based on their Tuesday performances. 

Aston Villa: (4, 3, 3) Martínez, Cash, Konsa, Lenglet, Moreno, Kamara, McGinn, Luiz, Bailey, Ramsey, Watkins.

Subs: Marschall, Diaby, Carlos, Tielemans, Chambers, Iroegbunam, Rogers, Kellyman

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