The Villa Appetiser: Sheffield United v Aston Villa 2018
With spirits high amongst Villa fans the signing of Axel Tuanzebe looks to be another useful addition to our increasingly strong team.
The Manchester United defender could be set to feature tomorrow, with his arrival offering more depth for Villa, possibly joined by the returning Andre Green.
Recent form has dared Villa fans to dream of automatic promotion, but Sheffield United will make things difficult, as they demonstrated in the reverse fixture just last month. Certainly if Villa win at the home of their promotion rivals they will be like high rollers at Topmobilecasino.co.uk with the odds increasingly stacking in their favour.
Thankfully, the complacency that saw us throw away a two goal lead has been pleasingly absent from recent performances. But it won’t be easy, and it’s another televised away game.
Can we get another vital win?
7th in the league table with the 6th best home record.
Last five matches at home: W 1, D 2, L 2
5th in league table with 7th best away record.
Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2
Steve Bruce on Tuanzebe
“I’ve seen him over the weekend and I’ve got an idea, of course. He’ll fit in somewhere.
“He creates more competition for places, that’s for sure. There’s a few players like that now.
“And I was really pleased with our last few performances, which makes it harder for players to break in.
“He’ll definitely be involved [on Tuesday], it’s whether he starts or not is the question.
“But make no mistake, he’s come here to play. He will do, but he’s only been here a few days. Let’s wait and see.”
and on Sheffield United
“We had a great start (in the reverse fixture). But we know they’re a good team and have been there or thereabouts all season.
“They’ll be difficult to play on their patch, that’s for sure. I was there watching them on Saturday and they’re a good side.
“We’re going to have to be at our best to get something from them.”
22nd January 2011 – Sheffield United 1 Villa 3 (FA Cup)
This FA Cup 3rd round encounter was the last time we played at Bramall Lane, and saw the debut of new signing Kyle Walker.
Just nine minutes into the game Walker gave Villa the lead, with further goals from Albrighton and Petrov sealing the victory. A 48th minute penalty for Jamie Ward, once of Aston Villa, proved little more than a consolation.
One to Watch
Ryan Leonard – Newly signed from Southend, the midfielder impressed on his debut against Norwich. Also, keep one eye open for James Wilson, the on-loan Manchester United striker that Villa were reported to be looking at. He scored on his full debut for the Blades.
SHEFFIELD UNITED are winless in eight league games against Villa since a 2-0 win in the top flight in 1991
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
With Villa sitting out the weekend’s action due to the Peterborough debacle, it’s given the team time to rest and prepare for what could be another pivotal clash.
Unfortunately, it’s also seen us slip down to 5th place, but we do of course have a game in hand.
Still, it serves as an important reminder of how competitive it is near the top of the table, and the victories must keep coming as we continue to aim for an automatic place.
Sheffield United haven’t quite been able to maintain the form they enjoyed at the start of the season, but it’s been an excellent return to the Championship for them.
While they have also moved down the table of late, new signings Wilson and Leonard impressed for the Blades in their last league game, an impressive away win over Norwich.
Including recent FA Cup triumphs, Tuesday’s opponents are unbeaten in five games, defeating Preston on Saturday to continue their cup run.
That weekend home win will have served as good preparation for this mid-week clash in front of the Sky cameras.
“He’ll definitely be involved [on tuesday], it’s whether he starts or not is the question” – BRUCE ON tuanzebe
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Recent overall form has been good for Sheffield United, but when you look at their home record, it offers encouragement for Villa.
Since a tremendous run of 13 home wins in 14 league matches, Sheffield United have won just one of their last six, drawing two, and losing three.
The history books also paint an optimistic picture; Tuesday’s opponents are winless in eight league games against Villa since a 2-0 win in the top flight in 1991.
You have to go back to 1969 for the last time Villa lost at Bramall Lane (in the second division), which was a heavy 5-0 defeat.
Bruce, once Sheffield United manager, has good memories of Tuesday’s match location. He has won all three of his matches at Bramall Lane (as a visiting manager), although this is his first since 2006.
Joint top Championship goalscorer Leon Clarke has not been able to continue the form he enjoyed earlier in the season. After seeing nine consecutive shots on target turn to league goals at Bramall Lane, he’s failed to score with any of his last four efforts, and is now goalless in three home league games.
Meanwhile, Scott Hogan continues to find the net. After the Barnsley brace, he’s scored four in his last three league games. Before that, he had just one goal in 31 appearances.
As well as this, Villa have had an extended rest which could prove the difference in a tight clash.
The in-form Hogan recently said that any January signings of strikers are unnecessary due to his established place in the team, and indeed it looks as if Axel Tuanzebe will be the only incoming player this month.
If the highly rated United man can make an instant impact, be it in defence or midfield, there’s certainly cause for optimism ahead of Tuesday’s game.
Hopefully we can record our third away win in a row.
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