Sheffield United 2-0 Aston Villa
John Fleck scored twice as Sheffield United won for the sixth time this season and moved up to fifth in the table after beating Aston Villa 2-0.
However, Dean Smith’s Villans have now lost 10 of their 17 top-flight encounters and are in grave danger of making an immediate return to the Championship following last term’s promotion via the play-offs.
The Blades made the brighter start to the match although, for all their early possession, they could not test Tom Heaton in the Villa goal.
The visitors, who were without Tyrone Mings because of a hamstring injury, offered very little in attack in the first half, which was dreary as a consequence.
The first shot of the match came in the 28th minute when Enda Stevens lashed an effort over the bar, while the only other chance of note before the interval came in the 41st minute when John Lundstram’s shot was blocked by Kortney Hause, who was making his Premier League debut for Villa.
The game livened up at the start of the second half and Chris Wilder’s outfit took the lead five minutes after the restart when Fleck got on the end of Lundstram’s cross and turned the ball past Heaton.
The goal opened the game up and, when Villa responded, Wesley lashed a shot into the side-netting before Jack Grealish sent a header narrowly wide.
Grealish had another effort charged down as the solid Blades defence held firm before Fleck made it 2-0 to the home team in the 73rd minute when he beat Heaton after being sent clear by David McGoldrick.
Grealish hit the crossbar with a late penalty after John Egan was adjudged to have handled the ball but United had little trouble seeing out the final minutes and picking up three more points.