Aston Villa welcome Sheffield United to Birmingham as the Premier League finally resumes action behind closed doors. Villa have to gird themselves for a return to the relegation battle, while the Blades must re-gather momentum for their push for European qualification. While the South Yorkshire side do not have the best of away records this season, the lack of a crowd may negate any home advantage that Villa might have enjoyed. Read on to see where the best betting value can be found in this Premier League clash.
Dean Smith’s Aston Villa team need points quickly if they want to climb out of the relegation zone. The Villans are currently in 19th place in the table, two points behind the teams in the next three places above them. They do have a game in hand in all of those teams, however. A win over the Blades would lift them out of the relegation zone. They need a win too, as they have lost their five games in all competitions, with one of those games being the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City. That game now seems a very long time ago.
Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United have certainly been the Premier League’s surprise package this season. The Blades have lost just two of their 13 away games this season, and they were at Liverpool and Manchester City. They have won four and drawn seven of those matches, highlighting just how hard to beat the Blades are under Wilder. They are the sixth-lowest scorers in the Premier League, but have conceded just 25 goals all season. Only champions-elect Liverpool have conceded fewer this season. Under 2.5 goals have been scored in 22 of their 28 league games \in the current campaign.
When it comes to the Premier League history between these teams, it is Villa who have the upper hand. In the seven Premier League clashes, the Birmingham outfit have won five of them. There has been one draw and the Blades have won once. Until the match at Bramall Lane earlier this season, however, the two teams had not met in the Premier League since 2007. Last season in the Championship, it was the Blades who had the best of things. They won 4-1 at Bramall Lane. The game at Villa Park was a 3-3 draw.
If you think that there will be goals in this game, then William Hill have odds of evens on the game featuring more than 2.5 goals. We do not think that such an outcome is likely, however, given how few goals the Blades have conceded this season. They also do not score many goals. Their goalkeeper, Dean Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, has been a big part of their success. The 23-year-old, now in his second spell with the Blades, has kept 10 clean sheets in the Premier League in 2019/20. That is the joint-second highest tally in the division.
In the last 30 Premier League meetings between newly promoted sides, the away side has been victorious just twice. Those two victories came this season, with both the Blades and Villa winning at Norwich City. United won the reverse of this fixture at Bramall Lane in December, and the Blades are now hunting for their first league double over Villa since the 1965/66 season. In this fixture last season, when both clubs were in the Championship, Billy Sharp’s hat trick for the Blades put them into a commanding lead, only for Villa to score three times in the last 10 minutes to secure an unlikely point. If you think Sharp can find the net again this week, the United striker is priced at 6/1 by William Hill to score first.
Our tip for this game comes courtesy of William Hill. They are offering a price of 13/5 on Sheffield United winning to nil. We think that this is a really good bet, given that United have the second-best defensive record in the Premier League. Although they don’t score very often, the Blades have a potent threat in the form of local hero Billy Sharp. We suspect that he might be the man to step and score the game’s only goal in a 1-0 victory for the visitors. If that prediction turns out to be accurate, the Blades must be considered as candidates for a top-four finish.