Blades come up against a generous Villa, and hope for an early Xmas gift

Sheffield United vs Aston Villa, 14 Dec 2019

(Blades 8th WDDDLW; Villa 17th LLWDLL)

This clash looks set to include some contrast in fortunes so far, and in styles. Villa have been a little more free-scoring than United, with 23 goals for (SUFC = 19).

Meanwhile though, Villa have given up the most shots in the division — 305, against Sheffield United’s 183.

Those numbers are reflected in the expected goals (xG) and expected goals against (xGA) stats, as seen here. That spanking off Leicester last week didn’t help Villa’s xGA line.


We may also see some clash in styles, with Villa tending to sit deeper and look for opportunities to counter while the Blades push on, at least until there is a lead to protect.

That’s most apparent in this chart, which shows how ‘sticky’ teams are up top by measuring their average line against numbers of passes in the last 20m (deep completions).


That Villa tend to build rapidly and not hang around in the opponent’s final third is also shown by the fact their touches in the box outweigh their deep completions (as a per-game average). For Sheffield United those numbers are the other way round, although the recent trend has been for that to reverse with more direct play evident.



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