Game | #5562 |
Season | 2019-20 |
Matchday | #20 |
League Game | #17 |
Manager Game | #58 |
Saturday, 14 December 2019
Premier League | Away | Sheffield United | Bramall Lane | 30,396 |
Game Summary |
Manager | Dean Smith |
KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Peter Bankes |
HT Score | 0-0 |
FT Score | 0-2 |
FT Result | Lost |
Last 5 Games | WDLLL |
League Position | 17th | - |
Team News |
Björn Engels was recalled in place of the injured Tyrone Mings with Kortney Hause and Frédéric Guilbert coming in to a reshaped defence replacing Ezri Konsa and Ahmed Elmohamady who were demoted to the bench along with Douglas Luiz who was replaced by Henri Lansbury for his first league start of the season.
Line Up |
GK Tom Heaton |
LB Matt Targett | BOOKED | 63' |
CB Björn Engels |
CB Kortney Hause | BOOKED | 63' |
RB Frédéric Guilbert |
M Marvelous Nakamba |
M John McGinn |
M Henri Lansbury | SUB OFF | 67' |
M Jack Grealish | MISSED PENALTY | 79' |
W Anwar El Ghazi | SUB OFF | 80' |
CF Wesley | SUB OFF | 69' |
M Douglas Luiz | for M Henri Lansbury | 67' |
CF Jonathan Kodjia | for CF Wesley | 69' |
W Trézéguet | for W Anwar El Ghazi | 80' |
Unused Substitutes |
GK Ørjan Nyland |
CB Ezri Konsa |
RB Ahmed Elmohamady |
LB Neil Taylor |
Yellow | Kortney Hause | 63' |
Yellow | Matt Targett | 63' |
Team Stats |
Starting XI Average Age | 25.90 |
Substitute Average Age | 25.67 |
Oldest Player | GK Tom Heaton | 33.69 |
Oldest Outfield Player | M Henri Lansbury | 29.19 |
Youngest Player (Starters) | CF Wesley | 23.06 |
Youngest Player (Substitute) | M Douglas Luiz | 21.61 |
Not selected |
CB James Chester |
M Conor Hourihane |
W Jota |
GK Lovre Kalinić |
M Jacob Ramsey |
CF Cameron Archer |
Injury | 3 |
CB Tyrone Mings | 8 Dec - Late Dec |
GK Jed Steer | 25 Nov - 2020-21 |
CF Keinan Davis | 2 Nov - Late Jan |
Loaned Out | 6 |
GK Matija Šarkić | Livingston | 1 July 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
CM Jake Doyle-Hayes | Cheltenham Town | 1 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
CF Rushian Hepburn-Murphy | Tranmere Rovers | 2 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
CF Scott Hogan | Stoke City | 7 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
RB James Bree | Luton Town | 8 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
CF Callum O’Hare | Coventry City | 22 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 |
Match Stats |
Possession F | 43
Possession A | 57
Shots F | 8
Shots A | 7
Shots on Target F | 0
Shots on Target A | 3
Corners F | 2
Corners A | 3
Fouls F | 9
Fouls A | 10
*Saturday, 14 December 2019*
John Fleck scored twice against Aston Villa as Sheffield United’s remarkable season continued with a win that lifts them to fifth in the Premier League table.
After an uneventful first half, Fleck finished off a sumptuous move - started by Chris Basham’s back-heel before John Lundstram’s quality delivery - to give the hosts the lead.
The Scotland midfielder doubled the lead with a composed finish following David McGoldrick’s clever hook before Villa missed a penalty awarded following a VAR check for a John Egan handball.
However, Jack Grealish’s effort cannoned off the bar as Villa sank to a 10th Premier League defeat of the season.
Blades manager Chris Wilder joined his players on the pitch at the end of his side’s final home match before Christmas.
Having won back-to-back games in the top flight for the first time since 2006, Sheffield United are looking down on Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal in the table.
Relentless Blades showing no let-up
Wilder said before this game that his team still faced a battle to retain their Premier League status despite their impressive form, which has included them beating Arsenal and holding Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea.
This hard-earned win leaves them on 25 points, two games before the halfway point of the season, and just four points off a Champions League spot.
They turned on the style after a drab opening 45 minutes in which neither side managed a shot on target.
Fleck doubled his tally for the season with two well-taken goals. His sweeping finish broke the deadlock after Basham’s delightful back-heel caught out Villa’s defence, while Fleck showed confidence to beat Tom Heaton and make it 2-0.
The Blades remain unbeaten on the road since 19 January, yet their home form - which includes defeats by Southampton and Newcastle - has been unpredictable.
This performance, however, left home fans happy as the team recorded a first clean sheet win since 2 November.
Crunch time for Villa
While Sheffield United are flying high at the top end of the table, Villa are flirting with danger at the other end.
Now without a win in four Premier League games, their next three top-flight matches are against fellow strugglers Southampton (home), Norwich (home) and Watford (away).
Despite missing key defender Tyrone Mings through injury, Dean Smith’s side stifled the Blades for long periods but their inability to keep a clean sheet after the interval once again cost them.
Villa have conceded 22 of their 30 goals after half-time.
It is not only in defence where they need to improve. At the other end of the pitch, Brazilian striker Wesley rippled the side-netting yet is now without a goal in his last nine games.
Trailing 1-0, Grealish headed a good chance wide before the captain’s miss from the penalty spot extinguished any hope of a comeback.
In the end, Villa left Bramall Lane without managing a single attempt on target - not good enough for a team that continues to leak goals.
*Saturday, 14 December 2019*
John Fleck scored two fine goals to fire Sheffield United to fifth place in the Premier League and leave Villa in a perilous position at the wrong end of the Premier League. Jack Grealish missing a penalty compounded a painful day for Dean Smith’s team, who have lost six of their last eight league matches.
While United fly high, Villa have a fight on their hands to avoid returning to the Championship. That was where these sides met 10 months ago and there is no doubt that Chris Wilder’s team have coped better with the step up, partly because they had to make fewer changes.
Villa began here with only two of the players who featured in the sides’ meeting in February, whereas United started with eight survivors from that game. Mind you, one could have been forgiven for thinking during a ghastly first half that both teams were intent on recreating some skirmish from football’s netherworld, where quality was forbidden. Neither goalkeeper had a shot to save in the first half.
John Lundstram did poke one effort in the general direction of the goal before the break but it was blocked by Kortney Hause. That may not have been necessary because it was questionable as to whether the shot from 16 yards had enough power to make it as far as the goal, but at least the defender’s intervention highlighted Hause’s astute positioning. And that was worth noting as was the 24-year-old’s Premier League debut, his opportunity coming as a result of Tyrone Mings’ absence through injury.
Hause’s inclusion was one of four alterations that Smith made to the Villa side torn apart by Leicester last weekend. In the light of that Villa could take satisfaction from the solidity they showed in the first 45 minutes here.
Their attacking, by contrast, was lamentable. Wesley, a £22m summer arrival who has not scored in his last nine games, looked forlorn as the central striker. Henri Lansbury made little impression in midfield on his first league start of the season. Unusually Grealish was barely more involved.
Villa complained as half-time approached that they were regularly fouled when they tried to launch counter-attacks – Ollie Norwood was booked for stopping a break by John McGinn as early as the 12th minute – but, really, one felt that the main cause of the crabbiness that sidled into the game was both sides’ frustration with their own inadequacies.
Wilder must have given vent to some grievances of his own at half-time because his players emerged on a mission of atonement. David McGoldrick should have put them in front when he ran on to a cross from the right by Norwood but the striker miskicked from close range. Fleck made no such mistake in the 50th minute, when he ran unnoticed into the Villa box to sweep the ball into the net from 12 yards. The buildup to that goal was lovely, with Lundstram teeing up his fellow midfielder after collecting a foxy backheeled pass by Chris Basham, an overlapping centre-back with a wider repertoire than most defenders.
Villa attempted to answer back quickly. When Anwar El Ghazi at last gave Wesley a useful pass, the striker did well to hold off John Egan but then fired into the side-netting from the corner of the six-yard box. El Ghazi provided further good service moments later but Grealish was unable to turn his cross into the net, nodding wide at the back post.
It was telling that, with Villa in urgent need of a goal, Smith replaced Wesley in the 70th minute. The Brazilian had not looked likely to end his goal drought. Three minutes later Villa’s predicament deteriorated, as Fleck scored his second after a canny reverse pass by McGoldrick. And then, just as their luck appeared to be changing, things got even worse for the visitors. They were awarded a spot-kick after VAR ruled that Egan had handled the ball, but Grealish blasted against the bar from 12 yards.
*Saturday, 14 December 2019*
John Fleck struck twice in the second half to seal a 2-0 victory for Sheffield United against Aston Villa who missed a late penalty through Jack Grealish at Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United failed to register a single shot on target during an uneventful first half but they opened the scoring five minutes after the restart as Fleck put the finishing touches on a fine team move involving Chris Basham and John Lundstram.
With 17 minutes remaining Fleck added his second of the game and fourth of the season with a well-taken strike from close range after being put through on goal by David McGoldrick’s clever flick on the edge of the box.
Aston Villa had a great chance to drag themselves back into the game after John Egan was adjudged to have committed a handball inside the area following a VAR review but Grealish was unable to convert his spot-kick, lashing his effort off the crossbar.
That costly miss all but ended Villa’s hopes of salvaging something from the game and Sheffield United ran out comfortable winners with the result lifting them into the lofty heights of fifth place in the Premier League table.
There were 11 goals scored across two entertaining Championship games between these clubs last season but there was little to suggest that either had the requisite craft to break down the other in the first Premier League meeting between them in 12 years during a low-key first half.
With the attacking players on the periphery of the action in the opening period, there was only a VAR review for a possible red card for John Egan to raise the excitement levels, although the Irishman escaped such punishment following a clash with Frederic Guilbert.
Sheffield United looked revitalised and reinvigorated straight after the restart, though, and with their first effort on target they went in front. Basham’s intelligent backheel on the right wing set Lundstram free and the midfielder teased a low ball across the box for Fleck to side-foot confidently beyond Tom Heaton.
Aston Villa responded well to going behind as they carved out a couple of presentable opportunities to score shortly after Fleck’s strike. A striker in more confident mood than Wesley might well have flashed a shot into the back of the net rather than the side-netting after escaping the attentions of Egan, while Grealish nodded narrowly wide at the far post after being picked out by Anwar El Ghazi’s cross.
After failing to grab an equaliser, Villa succumbed to a second goal conceded and again Sheffield United carved open their defence with intricate passing play on the edge of the box. Fleck started and finished the move, feeding a pass into George Baldock before latching onto a brilliantly improvised flick from McGoldrick to roll the ball beyond Heaton.
Moments later, Villa were handed a huge opportunity to reduce the deficit after Peter Bankes awarded them a penalty following consultation with the VAR official after Egan had handled inside the area. Grealish sent Dean Henderson the wrong way, but saw his penalty cannon off the middle of the crossbar and float to safety.
Grealish’s miss appeared to knock the confidence out of Villa and it was Sheffield United who looked the more likely to score the game’s third goal with McGoldrick failing to convert two presentable opportunities in the final 10 minutes, stretching his goal drought in the Premier League to 16 matches in the process.
Ultimately, it was Fleck’s decisive display of finishing that separated the teams as the Scotsman doubled his Premier League tally to four with two accomplished finishes off either foot following free-flowing moves that emphasised the quality of Chris Wilder’s upwardly mobile team.