Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)
After a ten day lapse in games, Aston Villa travel to Bramall Lane to square off against Sheffield United in a game that has all of the makings of an important one for both clubs.
United are currently sitting in 7th place on the table with 46 points, only two points shy of finding themselves in a play-off position. The Blades aren’t in bad form at the moment, securing three wins from their last five outings.
32 year old English attacker Leon Clarke has been the leading scorer for Sheffield United this season with 15 goals and 2 assists. Although Clarke has been in dangerous form this season, he has failed to score a goal in his last four matches and goalless in his last three home league matches. While Clarke seems to be slowing down, Aston Villa must be very aware that the Sheffield United talisman desperately wants and needs to break his duck.
Bramall Lane used to be somewhat of a fortress for The Blades. Previously United went unbeaten at home in 13 of 14 matches. Since that run came to an end, The Blades have had a torrid record at Bramall Lane having only won one game in the last six home matches. Aston Villa must pounce on the chance to gain maximum points in this match, although their away run of form hasn’t exactly been very inspired. The Claret and Blue have picked up two wins, two losses and a draw in the last five away games in the league.
Of the 14 away games that Aston Villa has played this season, the Villans have scored 17 goals and conceded 14. Seven of the goals scored for Villa on the road have been placed into the bottom left side of the net. That accounts for 41% of total away goals scored. With a ten day break now behind them, Aston Villa would like nothing more than to continue to bridge the gap between themselves and an automatic promotion place.
Scott Hogan is the name on all of the Aston Villa supporters lips during his fantastic scoring run he is currently enjoying. Netting four goals in his last three games, Hogan seems to be turning the corner on his time at Villa at exactly the right time. With results going their way on the day, Villa could see themselves clutching on to a 3rd place spot on the Championship table.
There has been quite a bit of news to talk about this week in regards to the Villans. U21 English starlet Axel Tuanzebe has finalized his loan move to Aston Villa from Manchester United after much speculation if Steve Bruce was going to bring anyone in during the January transfer window. Tommy Elphick has secured a loan move away to Reading for the remainder of the season, as well. Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa was heavily linked with a loan move Aston Villa, but has gone to his former club Cardiff City instead. Wayward midfielder Aaron Tshibola has also seen a loan move away from Villa to Kilmarnock of the Scottish Premiership.