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

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

Aston Villa will be looking to keep their unlikely top-four challenge alive when they travel to a Sheffield United side destined for relegation from the Premier League.

The Villans returned to winning ways at Leeds United last time out and are six points off the Champions League spots with two games in hand.

Sheff United were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool, meanwhile, and are now 15 points adrift of safety with just 12 more games left to play.


Match preview

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder pictured on February 7, 2021© Reuters

A run of three wins in five games gave United a glimmer of hope of survival, but four defeats in a row since then has left even boss Chris Wilder accepting his side's fate.

Indeed, the Blades have failed to even score in the last three of those losses to West Ham United, Fulham and Liverpool.

Curtis Jones's strike and Kean Bryan's own goal proved enough to condemn United to their latest loss at the hands of Liverpool on Sunday, all but killing off their survival hopes.

That was the Blades' 10th home league loss of the campaign, which is just one short of their all-time record of 11 set in the Championship a decade ago.

Wilder admitted that his side "lacked quality and strength in depth" against the Reds, which he will attempt to address over the summer - assuming the Yorkshireman is still in charge.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith pictured in February 2021© Reuters

While United are the worst side in the division in terms of home form - and indeed overall - opponents Villa have taken 23 points from 13 away matches this campaign.

That is a figure bettered only by Everton, Manchester United, Leicester City and Manchester City, the most recent of their away wins coming at Elland Road on Saturday.

Anwar El Ghazi settled the match with an early strike to earn Villa a first win in three, having lost to Leicester and drawn against Brighton and Hove Albion in their previous two.

However, since winning their first four Premier League games this season, Dean Smith's men have won back-to-back matches just once since then.

If they are to keep pace with the big hitters in the battle for Champions League football, they will have to put that right at Bramall Lane on Wednesday evening.

Sheffield United Premier League form: WLWLLL

Aston Villa Premier League form: WLWDLW


Team News

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp celebrates scoring their second goal on January 23, 2021© Reuters

It is little wonder Wilder rued his side's lack of depth given that he is without his entire first-choice back three, with John Egan, Jack O'Connell and Chris Basham all sidelined for this match.

Jack Robinson and Jayden Bogle are also out, so it will be a makeshift defensive setup on Wednesday.

Oli McBurnie and David McGoldrick started the loss to Liverpool, but Wilder may be tempted to turn to the likes of Oliver Burke, Billy Sharp, Lys Mousset or Rhian Brewster here.

As for Villa, Jack Grealish remains a major fitness doubt after missing their last two matches - though his absence was not felt as much as some predicted in the win against Leeds.

Matty Cash is definitely out of this game, as is long-term absentee Wesley Moraes.

Smith has plenty of options in midfield, where Douglas Luiz and Ross Barkley are vying for a starting spot after being benched at Elland Road.

Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Ampadu, Jagielka, Bryan; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; Mousset, Sharp

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; Traore, Barkley, El Ghazi; Watkins


SM words green background

We say: Sheffield United 0-2 Aston Villa

Villa have enjoyed an impressive campaign and still have plenty to play for, whereas Sheffield United now seem to have accepted the inevitable.

The Blades have won just three times all season and we cannot see that figure improving on Wednesday against a Villa side back to winning ways.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw 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.Draw/Away:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder pictured on February 7, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City32235467234474
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd31189461342763
3Leicester CityLeicester31175955371856
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham31167851391255
5Chelsea31159750311954
6Liverpool31157953371652
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs321481054371750
8Everton31147104340349
9Arsenal31136124335845
10Leeds UnitedLeeds31143144949045
11Aston Villa301351243331044
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves31108133141-1038
13Crystal Palace31108133352-1938
14Southampton31106153956-1736
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton31712123338-533
16Burnley3189142542-1733
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3188153251-1932
18Fulham32511162442-1826
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom3159172859-3124
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd3142251755-3814

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