Finally, after way too long of a lay-off, Europe’s top soccer league resumes on Wednesday with a couple of tantalizing showdowns. While you can debate for days about which domestic league is ‘best’, in North America the EPL continues to be the most widely accessible and delivers excitement on a weekly basis. It continues to be a fast and physical league, and though scoring isn’t as high as Germany’s Bundesliga – it produces some thrilling gameplay.
The first match back on Wednesday afternoon sees Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United. Sheffield Utd. have firmly emerged as the surprise package this season. After getting promoted from the Championship following the 2019-20 season, they continued their run of hot form and are one of the best coached and organized squads in all of Europe. They’ll be pushing hard for a Champions League position to close out their year – a remarkable achievement to even be in the hunt for that!
But their opponents on Wednesday will not roll over, especially with the predicament Aston Villa find themselves in. Villa were promoted alongside Sheffield United, though the two clubs have gone in very different directions since. After spending a ton of money in last summer’s transfer window, the dollars have not produced results. It’s been a miserable campaign for Villa, and as a result they’ll need to claw out of a tight relegation battle down the stretch.
While this might not be the most marquee ‘name’ matchup to kick things back off for the Premier League, it will even up matches among Premier League teams, but also shows just how much is still to be decided this campaign. With Villa fighting to avoid the drop, and Sheffield United fighting for Europe – both squads need the points, and that should make for a fascinating affair to resume the English Premier League. As always, read on beneath the odds for a detailed game breakdown, tactical preview, and betting prediction for Villa vs. Sheffield United.
Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United Betting Odds:
Sheffield United (+144)
Aston Villa (+220)
Over 2.5 (+105)
Under 2.5 (-125)
Sheffield United PK (-150)
Aston Villa PK (+130)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United Pick:
While it is true that Aston Villa struggled during the first two-thirds of this EPL campaign, everything coming out of their camp at the moment has been overwhelmingly positive.
Star player Jack Grealish has said in the lead-up to Wednesday’s match that his group desperately needed a rest, and the enthusiasm and energy within the squad right now is at its highest-ever point. With Villa needing points badly to avoid relegation, Grealish has emphatically stated that he and his team members are ready for the challenge.
That’s great news for a Villa side that seemed content to go down in early March. They’ll also get the ability to return to full health, as key Scottish midfielder John McGinn will return to action to play alongside Grealish in the midfield. When healthy, that midfield duo remains one of the top tandems in the Premier League, and should be able to dictate a lot of control against Sheffield United.
Sheffield United meanwhile enter this clash unbeaten in their last four contests, and though they’ve feasted on lesser competition this season – a healthy Villa will represent a stiff challenge. They’ve avoided injuries however, and their pesky play away from the ball makes them difficult to really break down.
With that said, don’t expect too much offense or goal-scoring chances in this contest. After such a long layoff, there remains a ton of uncertainty within both sides and don’t be surprised to see both squads ease back into the game. Numbers from earlier in the season indicate Sheffield Utd. slightly overperformed, while Villa is likely better than their record suggests. Expect a slight regression to the norm on Wednesday afternoon, and I think a draw is the most likely outcome here – as Villa knows they cannot afford a home loss out of the gate. If you like the value, take the outright draw – but the safer option could be Villa PK or ‘Draw No Bet’ for some added security, if the home side wins it.
Pick: Aston Villa 1-1 Sheffield United