It. Is. Back. The Premier League returns from its three-month hiatus this week, with Aston Villa and Sheffield United getting us underway on Wednesday evening. The hosts are resuming their battle against relegation, while the away team have much loftier targets with aspirations to bring European football to Bramall Lane.
Where and when: Villa Park – 17 June, kick-off 18:00
Where you can see Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United: Sky Sports
Last time: John Fleck hit a second-half double as Sheffield United beat Villa 2-0 on home soil back in mid-December.
Aston Villa v Sheffield United Predictions and Preview
These have been three very long months for Aston Villa following their heavy 4-0 defeat to Midlands rivals Leicester City in their last game before the Premier League’s enforced break. The halt to the action has also been tough on Sheffield United, who were in a rich vein of form before the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a standstill.
The wheels are very much in motion for completing the 2019/20 season though, with these clubs two of four teams who have a game in hand over the rest of the division. This match will bring parity across the league, and a win could be crucial for either team in the event another spike in Covid-19 infections bring the action grinding to a halt once more.
Villa have spent the break second from bottom but will leap three places to 16th and out of the relegation zone with a win on Wednesday. Dean Smith has had plenty of time to analyse why his team were on a run of five straight defeats before the break, but the improvement will need to be marked and immediate if the Villans are to claim a precious three points here.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
Sheffield United to win to nil
Sheffield United to win 2-0
Billy Sharp to score last
Sheffield were on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions before the break, winning five. Their only defeat in their last 10 fixtures was a narrow 1-0 loss to defending champions Manchester City, while champions-elect Liverpool are the only other team to beat the Blades in their last 16 games.
In case you’d forgotten, Chris Wilder’s side were only promoted at the start of the season, yet a win here would lift them up into fifth place ahead of Manchester United and two points behind Chelsea in the fourth Champions League spot.
It’s the stuff of dreams for the visitors, which extends to their clean bill of health coming into this game. Villa meanwhile are without Brazilian striker Wesley and goalkeeper Tom Heaton, two key players whose absence doesn’t help the home team’s cause.
A lack of home support doesn’t help them either, with Germany’s Bundesliga seeing more away wins than home ones since their restart. With that in mind, United are the 7/5 favourites for the win here. Villa are 47/20, with the draw priced at 12/5.
One to watch for Aston Villa: If Villa are going to stay up then they’ll need captain Jack Grealish to be on top form right from the off. The midfielder is his team’s top scorer with seven Premier League goals so far this season, and 9/1 to score the first goal of the division’s post-coronavirus era.
One to watch for Sheffield United: John Fleck bagged a brace when these teams met earlier in the campaign, while his last goal was a big one as he rescued a point for the Blades in their 1-1 draw against Arsenal at the Emirates in mid-January. He is 11/1 to score first here.
Long shot: Villa were looking awful before the break in action, while the exact opposite was true of Sheffield. An empty Villa Park plays into the Blades’ hands, and they are 12/1 to beat Villa 2-0 for the second time this season. With Fleck grabbing the first goal, those odds rise to a massive 143/1.