Aston Villa Vs Sheffield United lineups
Aston Villa hopes to end their winless run in the Championship with a victory against Sheffield United. Both teams struggle for form, but Villa’s superior squad should be able to grind out a result.
Aston Villa XI vs Sheffield United
Aston Villa host Sheffield United at Villa Park in a high-pressure game that could see the hosts climb to the top of the Premier League table, albeit temporarily. The West Midlands club are unbeaten in their last 15 home league games at Villa Park and will look to build on their recent good form with a victory against a team that has struggled in recent weeks under Chris Wilder.
A win for the Blades would give them a much-needed boost, and the visitors also aim to move away from the bottom of the table with a win. Their form has dipped slightly in recent weeks, but they remain a dangerous side at home, and The Hard Tackle predicts that a close game is in store.
Emiliano Martinez will start in goal for the hosts as he looks to continue his impressive run of clean sheets for Aston Villa. Ezri Konsa will resume his partnership with Diego Carlos at centre-back, with Matty Cash and Alex Moreno providing support on the flanks.
Lucas Digne and Douglas Luiz will return from one-match bans for Aston Villa, allowing them to replace Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendia in the middle of the park. Youri Tielemans is still ruled out with a knee injury, and Jhon Duran is doubtful, although he could be fit for the visit of Manchester United on Boxing Day.
In the attacking ranks, Villa have lacked creativity in recent weeks, so they hope to get at the home defence with Bailey and Diaby working well together down the right-hand side. The former Arsenal striker tries to find the latter’s run with a lofted pass into his path, but the Belgian international fails to capitalise on it. The defenders in front of him easily dispossess it.
A brisk break from the visitors sees them get the ball into a dangerous area, where Cameron Archer can get a cross in, but it is blocked and cleared for a corner. A few minutes later, Luiz and Digne link up to play in Bailey, who tries to cut inside to shoot, but his effort is straight at Foderingham.
Aston Villa’s Starting XI
Aston Villa will hope to make it back-to-back wins at home in the Premier League when they take on Unai Emery’s high-flying Chelsea side. The Villans are currently two points in fourth place in the table, and a win for the hosts would help maintain their top-four hopes. The visitors are in seventh spot in the table but have won just two of their eight away league games so far this season.
The last time the teams met at Villa Park, Chelsea won a thrilling 4-2 victory to move within two points of the top four. Mauricio Pochettino will be looking for a better performance against his former club to keep his title ambitions on track, and the Blues will go into this match as the favourites.
Despite losing defenders Joel Matip and Konstantinos Tsimikas to injury, Aston Villa still have a relatively healthy squad ahead of this game. Tyrone Mings remains a long-term absentee, but the remaining Villans’ defence should remain unchanged for this fixture. Ezri Konsa will likely retain his place at right-back while the duo of Diego Carlos and Pau Torres will continue to occupy the centre of the defence.
In midfield, Villa are set to start with the same players that earned a 1-1 draw against HSK Zrinjski Mostar in their Europa League Group E tie on Thursday night. Aston Villa will be hoping for a repeat of their dominant performance in the final third against the Bosnian champions.
At the back, the Villans can deploy a three-man defensive line and a more advanced back four. In the absence of Tsimikas, either Gary Gardner or Jordan Lyden will play as a full-back, with Aston Villa’s most reliable defender, Ciaran Clark, moving inside to centre-back. Aston Villa will then choose between Ibrahima Konate and Albert Adomah playing alongside each other in central defence or with Lenglet and Michael Gordon in front of them. The latter could provide a more direct threat on the left flank and start this match at right-back in the absence of Scott Hogan.
Aston Villa Subs
The top four is the main goal for both sides as they prepare to meet at Villa Park in this Premier League clash. Unai Emery’s side has dropped points in recent weeks, but a win here will keep their hopes alive, and they can leapfrog Newcastle into fifth place with victory.
Both teams have changed from those that drew 3-3 with Tottenham before the international break. Rodri and Jack Grealish miss out as they serve suspensions and are replaced by John Stones and Rico Lewis. Jeremy Doku is also out injured, and Mohammed Kudus replaced him.
The big news for Villa is that defender Pau Torres has returned to the squad but won’t be starting. Matty Cash will be the club’s centre-back instead, as Ezri Konsa hasn’t travelled to Birmingham due to a minor injury. Fellow defender Andreas Weimann has also been left out of the squad, and Alex Moreno replaces him. The rest of the Villa XI remains unchanged. They are Martinez (GK), Cash, Konsa, Carlos, Pau, Digne, Kamara, McGinn, Ramsey, Bailey, Tielemans, and Watkins. Subs: Olsen, Marschall, Proctor, Chambers, Lenglet, Diaby, Zaniolo, Duran, Iroegbunam, Kellyman.
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United Prediction
Unai Emery’s Aston Villa side are hoping to return to winning ways after two defeats in a row, and a win against Sheffield United would go a long way to helping them secure a place in the top four. The Blades are struggling near the bottom of the table and must turn things around quickly to avoid the relegation zone.
The visitors aim to break their winless run of league games when they host their local rivals this afternoon and will be buoyed by the fact that they have never lost at home against Villa. The two sides met at the City Ground in December, and both teams went home with a point each after a 1-1 draw.
Aston Villa have the better squad on paper and should be able to see off an out-of-sorts Blades team. But the hosts have struggled on the road this season and must step up their game to avoid a second successive away loss.
Sheffield United have lost four of their last five league matches and are firmly anchored to the bottom. Chris Wilder’s side have just one win away from home this term, and they will need to improve their performances on the road if they are to keep themselves above water in the Championship.
Wilder will likely make several changes from the team that beat Brentford last weekend. Boubacar Kamara is out of contention as he serves a three-match ban, while Emiliano Buendia (knee), Pau Torres (muscle) and Robin Olsen (unspecified) are all doubtful. Douglas Luiz and Lucas Digne are both available to return after one-match bans but will have competition for places from the likes of Matty Cash and Alex Moreno. The Blades have conceded ten goals in their last three away matches and must improve their defensive record.