Sheffield United may punish toothless Villa
Blades still have cutting edge
Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football, 5.30pm Saturday
On the face of it, Aston Villa would seem handily placed to mount a serious promotion bid in the second half of the Sky Bet Championship season.
Steve Bruce's Villans lie fifth after playing all but one of their second-tier adversaries but recent results hint at a potential fly in the ointment as we approach 2018.
Villa have picked up just two points in five games against other sides in the top seven this term and they came in draws at Bristol City and Leeds in which they were arguably second-best for large periods.
Sheffield United are the final side of that top-seven group for Bruce's men to face and while the Blades have themselves struggled under the spotlight recently, this could be their chance to turn the corner.
It hasn't been an easy period for Chris Wilder's men since they topped the table in mid-November and the Blades have lost four of their last five games. However, their cutting edge in attack is one thing that hasn't deserted them as they have scored eight goals during that lean spell.
That spells danger for Villa who are hardly a clinical attacking force - they have scored the fewest goals in the top eight and will be without John Terry and defensive shield Henri Lansbury for the visit of the Blades.
The hosts were indebted to goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in their last home outing as he kept Millwall at bay to earn a draw, but against a better attacking outfit, Villa could find their limitations exposed as they were in their defeat at Derby last week.
Sheffield United or draw double chance
1pt 13-17 188Bet
John Terry, Andre Green and Henri Lansbury are all sidelined and could be joined by loanee Josh Onomah who is a major doubt.
George Baldock has been passed fit to play. Mark Duffy and David Brooks could also feature for the Blades.
Aston Villa have yet to beat any other side in the top seven.
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