The Premier League returns with a game-in-hand between two newly-promoted sides Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
This match was originally scheduled back in February but was postponed due to Aston Villa making the League Cup final, a spirited 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.
In spite of their good cup run, it’s been a difficult first season back in the Premier League for Aston Villa - in sharp contrast to visitors Sheffield United, arguably the league’s biggest surprise package this season.
Villa lost their last four league matches before the break, the latest a dismal 4-0 defeat to Leicester, and are down in 19th fighting against the drop - although winning this game in hand would see them move into safety by leapfrogging Bournemouth, West Ham and Watford.
Sheffield United, meanwhile, have some hope of qualifying for the Champions League (if Man City’s ban is upheld); they’ll move up to fifth, ahead of Wolves and Manchester United, with a win here.
Chris Wilder’s Blades have only lost two away matches in the Premier League all season - at Manchester City and Liverpool. They’re the strong favourites to win here at 13/10.
A John Fleck double gave Sheffield United a professional 2-0 win over Villa in the reverse fixture back in December, while the two meetings in the Championship were memorable and high-scoring affairs - a 3-3 draw here at Villa Park, with a three-goal comeback in the last 10 minutes from Villa, something they couldn’t manage in a 4-1 thrashing at Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United’s superiority over Aston Villa is evidenced by being 12 places and 18 points better off this season, and their recent record. This will be an early indication of how well the two clubs have coped with the disruption of training in lockdown, but if it’s normal service resumed then Sheffield United deserve to be favourites.
We recommend backing Sheffield United to get an away win at 13/10.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change