Aston Villa Match Preview: Sheffield United (A)

Isn’t it amazing how much can change in a week at Aston Villa Football Club? Against Brentford, the team looked fluid, quick and a danger. Against Burton? Anything but.

On Wednesday, Villa crashed out of the League Cup with a 1-0 loss at the Pirelli Stadium as the players produced one of the most soul-crushing performances in quite some time. It truly was a dire night as Villa produced just two shots on target all game – one of which was a missed penalty from Albert Adomah.

Steve Bruce certainly was not pleased with his players. In a post-match interview, he said: “We were very, very poor.”

“The people who’ve been knocking on my door and wanting to get their chance really haven’t done themselves any favours at all. It’s turned into one of those awful nights. We have to now accept it and apologise for it.”

“We haven’t played with any zip or energy about us. It had the look and feel of a testimonial rather than a Cup tie. That’s the way we’ve let it go. We were too slow, didn’t move the ball quick enough and got our backsides kicked. Unfortunately, rightly so, too.”

Luckily for Villa fans, the beauty of a Championship season means Villa do not have to sulk about their loss for long. On Saturday, the players have a chance to put it right with a trip to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United. At the scene of one of last season’s greatest victories, Steve Bruce’s men need to prove their worth and send a message to any promotion challengers.

They also need to buck their struggling trend. Villa are now four games without a win and that certainly isn’t promotion-winning form.

Villa’s biggest worry is in regards to injuries suffered by both Jack Grealish and John McGinn. The two men have been the brightest sparks at Villa Park so far this season but Grealish came off at half-time last week against Reading. McGinn also picked up a knock in that game and both men missed the Burton defeat. Bruce hopes that they will be back for the trip to Yorkshire, but Conor Hourihane, Birkir Bjarnason and Henri Lansbury will be waiting in the wings.

It’s expected that Bruce will hand a debut on Saturday to loan signing Yannick Bolasie. The winger has left the fans purring with excitement and they will be eager to see what he does if he lines up this weekend.

Expected Aston Villa starting line-up vs. Sheffield United: Nyland; Elmohamady, Chester, Jedinak, Hutton; Bolasie, McGinn, Whelan, Grealish, El Ghazi; Kodjia


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