1/09/2018 3:00 pm
Referee: James Linington
|Sheffield United||Aston Villa|
|O'Connell 6, Duffy 23, Norwood 41, Sharp 49||El-Ghazi 61|
Sheffield United netted three first half goals to sweep Aston Villa aside as Chris Wilder’s Blades beat their Championship rivals by four goals to one.
United were ahead early on in the game through Jack O’Connell’s first goal of the season. Mark Duffy added a second and Ollie Norwood’s curling free-kick bamboozled Villa. Skipper Billy Sharp added a fourth after the break, and Anwar El Ghazi netted a consolation goal.
United fans will have been disappointed that more goals didn’t come their way after hitting the post in the first half and seeing a goal ruled out for offside in the second.
Chris Wilder was forced to make a change ahead of the game against Villa, with Leon Clarke injured, David McGoldrick started and new signing Conor Washington was on the bench. Midfielder Paul Coutts was also on the bench, making his return to the side since last November.
The Blades had won 3-0 at Bolton the previous week and had put out an outstanding performance. It was no surprise that they carried on where they left off and in a scorch hot Bramall Lane got off to the better side in the early exchanges. Within six minutes the hosts were ahead. El Ghazi fouled Freeman and whilst referee James Linington prevented the early kick to Basham, it mattered not! Norwood’s delivery was lofted onto the far post and O’CONNELL beat two defenders to head home past Nyland.
Minutes later united almost doubled their lead and as the ball fell kindly to Norwood on the edge of the area his powerful drive flew past Nyland but cannoned off the post with the visitors scrambling to safety by Chester with Duffy not far behind, ready for the rebound.
Norwood was on form and created another opportunity as he combined with O’Connell before finding Freeman and the right-wing-back’s cross found Sharp who saw his shot saved. It wouldn’t be too long until United got their second. Dean Henderson’s kick into midfield was skilfully brought down by DUFFY in the centre-circle. He beat off a challenge from McGinn before advancing and firing low from distance and past a scrambling Nyland.
With five minutes of the first half remaining United were rewarded with a third goal of the afternoon. Basham was fouled on the right hand side of the area, and with the keeper allowing space, NORWOOD whipped in an effort around the wall, catching Nyland out and could only help guide the ball home.
Half-Time: Sheffield United 3-0 Aston Villa
United attacked the second half much like the first and benefitted from an early goal. El Ghazi was tackled by Norwood after Nyland attempted to throw the ball out, the sparkling midfielder set Freeman free and his low cross from the right was finished by SHARP.
From the restart the Blades almost added to their tally, but after the ball was put across the box Nyland did well to get down and prevent McGoldrick from scoring a certain goal.
Villa pulled one back on the hour mark after EL GHAZI beat the offside trap after Grealish played the ball through to slip the ball past Henderson in front of their own supporters.
John Lundstram replaced John Fleck, with the Scot looking like he had picked up an injury, and the substitute laid off McGoldrick but his save from distance was kept out by Nyland.
On 69 minutes United did have the ball in the back of the net. McGoldrick had slipped Sharp through to round the keeper and score but the assistant-referee waved his flag for offside. Moments later the skipper was replaced for debutant Washington.
Three minutes of injury time was added on at the 90 minute mark with United running the time down without any hassle from the opposition in what was a well earned victory and takes the Blades to third in the league.
Full-Time: Sheffield United 4-1 Aston Villa
Sheffield United: Henderson, Stevens, Fleck (Lundstram 63), O’Connell, Basham, Sharp (Washington 81), Egan, Norwood, McGoldrick, Freeman, Duffy (Lafferty 72). Unused: Woodburn, Coutts, Stearman, Moore.
Aston Villa: Nyland, Tuanzebe (Hourihane 63), Chester, Whelan, McGinn (Hepburn-Murphy 76), Grealish, Jedinak, Hutton (Taylor 76), El Ghazi, Kodjia, Elmohamady. Subs: Lansbury, Bree, Bjarnason, Moreira.