Aston Villa travel to Sheffield United in desperate need of a response following their heavy defeat to Leicester City. Dean Smith’s side suffered their heaviest loss of the season against a slick, vibrant Leicester team. His team must respond and find a win following five defeats in seven league games.
Aston Villa Desperately Need a Win at Sheffield United
Tyrone Mings Out Injured
Aston Villa head to Sheffield United looking for just a second away win of the season. Their away form is poor, with the Villains notching just four points on their travels this season. It’s been a difficult six weeks of games for Aston Villa and certainly, Dean Smith will be learning plenty about his team and where they are at.
Another tricky game is on the horizon with Chris Wilder’s team having a terrific season and seemingly getting better with each passing game. However, their home form has been patchy, and Villa must exploit that this weekend. Aston Villa are in desperate need of a win having lost five of their last seven league games. Albeit, they have played all the current top six in that time. Smith has called for calm and he does believe in his players. Villa have shown they can compete with anyone in this league but their defensive display against Leicester was a major concern.
It wasn’t helped with Tyrone Mings going off injured, but Villa gave Leicester four very cheap goals. That must be eradicated if Villa are going to stay in the league. Mings is ruled out of Villa’s trip to Sheffield so Bjorn Engels will most likely return to partner Ezri Konsa. Although, Smith could go for a balanced partnership by sticking the left-footed Kortney Hause into defence. Losing Mings is a blow but Smith will be confident in the defenders at his disposal.
Villa’s Midfield Three Will Be Vital at Bramall Lane
Aston Villa head to Bramall Lane searching for a second win in their last three trips. The midfield battle between the two promoted clubs could be where the game is decided. Chris Wilder will stick with the tried and trusted trio of Oliver Norwood, John Fleck and John Lundstram. All three have excelled at Premier League level.
However, Smith has a conundrum to sort out. He needs to decide whether to put Grealish back into midfield or keep him out on the left. He also must decide who plays in midfield. Smith has struggled to settle on a trusted three-man central midfield. Douglas Luiz, Marvelous Nakamba and Conor Hourihane have all drifted in and out. Luiz could be a key man with his clever through balls. The Brazilian has excellent ability on the ball and he could exploit the space Sheffield United leave behind. Hourihane’s tenacity and good set pieces could see him join John McGinn in the middle. Grealish will continue to drift in between the middle and wide areas.
A crucial game for Aston Villa which begins a massive set of games which could define their season. A win at Bramall Lane would be a tremendous start to their Christmas fixtures.