Sheffield United beat Nakamba’s Aston Villa 1 – 0. David McGoldrick fired his side ahead inside the six-yard area after being picked out by George Baldock following a lovely move that started inside the Blades’ half. Bottom club Sheffield United survived for more than 30 minutes with 10 men to claim only the fourth Premier League win of their disappointing season and dent Aston Villa’s European ambitions.
Then United defender Phil Jagielka was sent off for a foul on Anwar El Ghazi after referee Robert Jones viewed the incident on a pitchside monitor and changed the yellow card he had initially given him to a red.
Villa’s Ollie Watkins headed against the post shortly before Jagielka’s red card but the visitors were unable to take advantage of the 38-year-old former Everton player’s dismissal. The result ended a four-match losing run for Chris Wilder’s spirited side who, despite victory, remain 12 points from safety in the Premier League with 11 matches to play.
Villa could have moved three points from a Champions League place with a win but were bitterly disappointing.
Blades show an appetite for a fight
Despite his side’s seemingly hopeless position at the foot of the table, Wilder said before the game his players would not be waving the white flag between now and the end of a wretched season that has produced 21 defeats.
They responded to their manager’s words with a gutsy performance that was even more impressive given they lost their most experienced player in the 57th minute. Jagielka sent El Ghazi crashing as he was about to race clear, though it required a check on the monitor before the yellow card was upgraded to red.
Former England centre-back Jagielka had earlier made a superb block to deny Bertrand Traore an equaliser as the Blades dug deep to win for only the fourth time in the Premier League this season.
They remained resolute in the closing stages when Villa were desperately searching for an equaliser, Oliver Norwood throwing himself at Ezri Konsa’s shot during a frantic finish.
Eight months after finishing ninth in the table with 19 more points than Villa, despite this result it will require an extraordinary set of circumstances for Sheffield United to stay up.
At least they showed an appetite for a fight in spite of their position as Villa joined Manchester United, Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion as the sides to lose to the Blades this season.
Both teams are at home on Saturday with Southampton visiting Sheffield United (15:00 GMT) before Aston Villa host a West Midlands derby with Wolves (17:30).
Source – BBC News