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Preview: Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday night's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Sheffield United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aston Villa get their 2020-21 Premier League campaign underway on Monday night when they welcome Sheffield United to Villa Park.

Both sides were promoted together in 2018-19 but endured contrasting campaigns last season, with Villa only narrowly avoiding relegation and Sheffield United surpassing all expectations.


Match preview

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish celebrates scoring against Burton Albion in the EFL Cup on September 15, 2020© Reuters

Aston Villa have been forced to wait longer than most to get their Premier League season underway, but they appear to have used their extra time off very productively.

Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Martinez and Bertrand Traore have all arrived at the club in the past two weeks to take their overall summer spending to more than £74m, including the club-record £27.7m deal for Watkins.

Perhaps the best piece of business they have done is tying talismanic captain Jack Grealish down to a new five-year contract, though, finally ending speculation over his future once and for all.

Dean Smith's options suddenly look a lot stronger than they did for much of last season, then, although big spending is by no means a guarantee for success - as they discovered themselves last term when only a great escape saved them at the end of a campaign in which they had splashed over £143m.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith pictured on July 21, 2020© Reuters

Villa fans have had the chance to see Watkins in action already, with the record signing wasting no time in getting off the mark with a goal in Villa's midweek EFL Cup win over Burton Albion.

Indeed, it has been a positive summer on the pitch as well as off it for the Villans, who beat Wycombe Wanderers and Manchester United in pre-season to raise hopes of faring better than a relegation scrap this time around.

The number one priority will still be survival first and foremost, though, and the same will be true for Sheffield United despite such a good 2019-20 campaign.

The Blades were in Champions League contention for much of the season before a post-lockdown slump saw them end up ninth, which was still their joint-best league finish since 1974-75.

Sheffield United's David McGoldrick celebrates scoring with Max Lowe against Burnley in the EFL Cup on September 17, 2020© Reuters

Chris Wilder will be well aware of the dreaded 'second-season syndrome', though, and they got off to the worst possible start on the opening weekend when they fell 2-0 down within six minutes at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

There was no further damage done after that, but nor could Sheffield United claw their way back into the match and they now face the prospect of beginning a top-flight campaign with back-to-back defeats for the first time since 1973-74.

The Blades have already been beaten in successive matches across all competitions, having crashed out of the EFL Cup in the second round with a penalty shootout defeat at Burnley on Thursday night.

That result extended United's winless away run to seven games, while in the Premier League alone they have not won on the road since February 1 - a streak which began with a goalless draw at Villa Park which was most memorable for a goalline technology failure when Villa keeper Orland Nyland appeared to carry the ball over his own line.

Aston Villa form (all competitions): W

Sheffield United Premier League form: L
Sheffield United form (all competitions): LL


Team News

Ollie Watkins is unveiled by Aston Villa on Wednesday, September 9, 2020© Aston Villa FC

Record signing Watkins is set to make his Premier League debut for Villa after getting off the mark in midweek.

The former Brentford man could be joined in the XI by a couple of other fellow new arrivals too, with Matty Cash, who was also linked to Sheffield United this summer, and Martinez both in line for their debuts.

Traore may not be ready for this match having only joined on Saturday, while Wesley, Tom Heaton and Bjorn Engels remain sidelined.

A host of other first-team players are expected to return to the fold after sitting out in midweek.

Wilder used his midweek clash to hand debuts to Ethan Ampadu, Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe, although all three summer signings could drop back out of the starting XI for this match.

Sander Berge is pushing for a start for the visitors, but other than that changes could be kept to a minimum with Lys Mousset and Simon Moore their only injury absentees.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Hourihane; Trezeguet, Watkins, Grealish

Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Basham, Egan, O'Connell; Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Lundstram, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick


SM words green background

We say: Aston Villa 1-1 Sheffield United

Aston Villa will be full of optimism heading into this match after their recent transfer business, and they will fancy their chances of kicking things off with a positive result against Sheffield United.

The Blades are difficult to beat, though, and despite having not won any of their last 13 league visits to Villa Park, we can see them coming away with a point this time.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

ID:415007:

Who will win Monday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Sheffield United?

Aston Villa
Draw
Sheffield United
Aston Villa
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Sheffield United
0.0%
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Chris Wilder pictured on June 17, 2020
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Sheffield United season preview - predictions, fixtures, summer signings, starting XI
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Everton5410147713
2Aston Villa44001221012
3Liverpool53111313010
4Leicester CityLeicester530212849
5Arsenal53028629
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves530257-29
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs522115878
8Chelsea522113948
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham521211747
10Leeds UnitedLeeds52129907
11Manchester CityMan City42117707
12Southampton521289-17
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle521279-27
14Crystal Palace521268-27
15Manchester UnitedMan Utd4202912-36
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton5113911-24
17West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom5023513-82
18Burnley401338-51
19Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd501427-51
20Fulham5014412-81

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