Blades To Resume European Chase With Victory at Villa

Aston Villa will host Sheffield United at Villa Park on Wednesday, in what will be the first Premier League game in 100 days due to COVID-19.

All the remaining 92 games will be played behind closed doors as the league sets out on their journey to complete the season.

The two sides met back in December when The Blades ran out 2-0 victors thanks to two goals from the impressive John Fleck.

Despite both teams gaining promotion from the Championship last season, they have had contrasting seasons with Villa sitting second bottom and United placed in seventh and in contention for a Europa League spot.

Dean Smith’s side are two points away from safety and will be looking to find some much- needed form to keep them in the English top-flight.

Meanwhile, Chris Wilder’s men have been the shock of the season and a win against Villa would see them leapfrog Wolves and Manchester United into fifth.

The Blades have a fully fit squad going into Wednesday meaning they could benefit from the new rule allowing up to five substitutions instead of the previously allowed three.

Wilder will be hoping for another masterclass from their joint top goalscorer Fleck to guide his side to victory. But if this doesn’t happen, one of his players will surely step up to the plate - like they’ve done throughout their campaign.

United have the second-best defence in the league, having only conceded 25 goals, and with Smith being unable to call upon their record signing Wesley Moraes, who is out with a cruciate ligament injury, it may be a tough 90 minutes for the home side.

However, the return of John McGinn may give them the attacking edge that Villa has been crying out for ever since he fractured his ankle against Southampton in December.

With both McGinn and their ever-impressive captain Jack Grealish, their chances of survival have been given a massive boost.

I think Wilder’s team will just have enough to edge out their opponents who will be unable to tap into the usual electric atmosphere at Villa Park, and as we’ve seen in Germany, playing at home behind closed doors has no advantage.

Match preview written by Jon Bazley.